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Saturday 10 October 2009

Your night-by-night guide to gay Auckland

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 22nd July 2009

We get asked a lot, by visitors and LGBT Aucklanders alike: "Where's good to go out to?!?" Here are the answers, in our handy print-out-and-keep guide to the Queen City's gay goings-on!

There are always special events around, from big dance parties to drag fundraisers to one-off concerts, but Auckland also has several busy weekly highlights which can be relied upon for a warm welcome and good times.

Whether they're on a mid-week stress-buster or big weekend bender, here's all the details.

Let's dive right in and start with the busiest night…




Early on Saturday evening is a good chance to sample the cocktails at Dorothy's Sister on Ponsonby Road. There's a lovely garden area with seats out back (walk into the kitchen and turn right), or climb the stairs behind the bar to the relaxed rooms on the first floor - you're sure to find a romantic spot with a nice view. Later at 10pm, Dot's hostesses Vera and Doreen start their off-Broadway styled drag shows in the front of the bar.

Karaoke starts at K' Road's Kamo Café at 9pm, it's always a nice little crowd who all seem to know each other but welcome newbies. Belt out a great song and the staff have been known to award bar tabs.

Elsewhere on K' Road, Auckland's two best-known gay hotspots, Urge and Family bars, come alive after 10pm…

Urge normally has a resident or visiting DJ in the house, playing to a mostly over-30's crowd sometimes known as 'bears'! It's often packed at midnight and beyond.

And the famous Family bar reaches its peak of popularity around 1am, just as the more subdued bars and clubs around town start closing for the night. Hundreds of people visit Family on Saturday night - not just 'twinks' - although there are plenty of those and their fag-hags - but you'll also find lots of lesbians, drag queens galore, and many straight folks on hen or stag nights or just out for an outrageous time. Catch the shows after 1am - they're some of the best in the business - and if it all gets too much for you, chillout downstairs in the classy basement bar area (which recently swapped back to being properly gay again after a few sad months in the closet!).

OK, so it's not on every week… but women's night Flirt happens on the first and third Saturdays of each month upstairs in K' Road's Purple bar, and since it's an unmissable event for the young and young-at-heart lesbian and bi gals, we couldn't leave it off this list! It's a sexy but unpretentious night where ladies can flirt or just catch up on the gay gal goss.




After a busy week and wild night out on Saturday night, Sunday is a chance to relax, meet new people, or simply indulge!

There's a friendly gay/lesbian bowling meet at Takapuna Tenpin from 4:45pm - newcomers are always welcome.

Rainbow Youth's 'Identity' social group for LGBT people under 27 meets from 5pm on Sundays. Email for the latest details - they are always around K' Road, but their venue varies each week.

Auckland Community Church meets at 7.30pm for worship at St Matthew-in-the-City, which has been a welcoming host of the LGBT-inclusive congregation for over 23 years, located on the corner of Wellesley and Hobson Streets.

Let's not sugarcoat the situation though - Sunday afternoon is when many gay Auckland men head out with just one thing on their minds. There's the 'Jacks and Jocks' nude (or nearly nude!) safe sex gathering at Lateshift cruise club - admission from 2-2:30pm only. Sunday evenings are also busy at Centurian sauna, open from 11am until 2am.

Meanwhile, if you just fancy a nice hot meal, Auntie Em does a classic roast dinner from 6pm at Dorothy's Sister.




Hmmm… Monday is often quiet wherever you go, but we should remind you that there's a free and confidential sexual health check-up service for gay and bi men each Monday from 5pm until 8pm. The clinic is at Level 2, 35 Hargreaves Street, Ponsonby - phone 09 309 5560 to book an appointment.

Apart from that, enjoy Desperate Housewives! Family and Dorothy's Sister are open for a quiet drink if you're out and about.




Steven Oates hosts K' Road's new weekly Quiz Night at the Naval & Family pub, which started this month and was instantly popular. From 7pm, your knowledge will be tested on a variety of topics, from geography to anatomy, history to Kylie Minogue. Prizes and bar tabs will be won, and each monththe quiz nights support a different charity. There's a small fee to enter a team of no more than five players, and the kitchen and bar are open for food and drinks.




Caluzzi bar's Random Club is now a K' Road institution. It's simply a popular after-work casual gay catch-up, with drink specials and meals available from the new kitchen. Join your host Campbell and his drag-o-licious friend Ling Ling starting with happy hours from 5:30 until 7:30pm. You might even catch a fun show from Ling Ling wearing her 'Bling Bling'!

Wednesday nights are when the Gay Men's Health Team invite volunteers to help them by packing condoms and lube packs into the safe sex packs you see around gay bars and clubs. There's always lots of community-minded people to meet and snacked and drinks provided. Join them from 5:30pm at Level 2, 35 Hargreaves Street, Collage Hill.

From 9pm it's Kamp Karaoke at Family bar, with your hostesses Cindy of Samoa and Miss Ribena. It's busy until well after midnight, with a wide variety of talented - and uninhibited - singers. All are welcome to come and join the fun. The larger-than-life and colourful Miss Ribena can introduce newbies to regulars - just ask!




It's Girl Thursday at Dorothy's Sister café from 7pm, where the ladies are in charge and music is mixed with women in mind. There's drink specials and friendly bar staff too.

It's Karaoke night again at Kamo Café from 9pm. They always get a good turnout of singers and friendly folks from all walks of life.

Malebox at Family is a fast, flirty and fun way to meet a new guy! Slip your message into the big red postbox behind the bar and see what happens. The box is open from 9pm till 1am, and the night features $5 bottle of beer, and Family's resident DJ's rockin' the dancefloor.




The must-do on Fridays is checking out Single Lady-Boys at the Naval & Family pub. Showgirls Tess Tickle, Mimi Boiz and Tatiana Petites - three of's personal favourites - perform outrageous shows at 10:30pm and Midnight. DJ James Leuii is the resident DJ, bringing you all the camp and cool hits. The perfect way to finish your week of adventures… roll on the rest of the weekend!



The addresses for the venues mentioned above are listed below. is committed to bringing you New Zealand's most comprehensive guide to LGBT events. Our daily updated listings are at, and please email your event suggestions, photos and updates to

Dorothy's Sister: 265 Ponsonby Road

Kamo Café/bar: 382 Karangahape Road

Urge bar: 490 Karangahape Road

Family bar: 270 Karangahape Road

Purple bar: Upstairs, corner Karangahape Road and Pitt Street

Lateshift cruise club: 25 Dundonald Street, Newton

Centurian sauna: 18 Beresford Square

Takapuna Tenpin: Fred Thomas Drive, Takapuna

Naval & Family pub: Ground floor, corner Karangahape Road and Pitt Street

Caluzzi restaurant/bar: 461 Karangahape Road

Matt Akersten - 22nd July 2009

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