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Auckland Institution O'Connell Street Bistro Is Closing Its Doors After 24 Years of Service

The bistro will close its doors after a final dinner service on Friday, April 16.
By Stephen Heard
March 18, 2021
By Stephen Heard
March 18, 2021

You have until Friday, April 16, 2021 to try the famed rabbit pappardelle and steak tartare of O'Connell Street Bistro. After 24 years of service on the corner of Shortland and O'Connell Streets, the Auckland institution is closing its doors for good.

Owners and founders Chris Upton and Amanda Mason point to the insecurity of COVID-19 and being unable to successfully renegotiate their lease as the reasons behind the decision to close their doors after more than two decades in business. The couple say that like many in the hospitality industry, they have had to continue paying fixed costs that occur throughout successive COVID levels.

"With the continuing lockdowns and the challenges of operating at Level 2 in the first two months of 2021, and with no clear respite ahead, it is unsustainable to continue," said Upton.

The renowned bistro has weathered many storms in its time, including a power crisis in 1998 and a devastating fire in 2016, which resulted in extensive damage to the kitchen, dining room and wine cellar, leaving the space unusable for eight months.

The restaurant has consistently placed among the top restaurants in New Zealand and is particularly known for its outstanding modern European fare and exceptional wine list. The rabbit pappardelle has been a favourite on the menu since 2000.

The couple say they are now focused on supporting their team and delivering an exceptional experience to guests for the next four weeks of service. Upton says that while this is the end of O'Connell Street Bistro, the pair are not retiring and may look at another venture in future years.

O'Connell Street Bistro will close its doors after a final dinner service on Friday, April 16. Until then, it's open for lunch on Thursday and Friday from 11.30am and dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm.

For more information and to make a booking, visit

Image: Babiche Martens.

Published on March 18, 2021 by Stephen Heard


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