What a great game it was last Saturday at Eden Park! In fact, it was a great weekend.
The city was buzzing with visitors from around the country and across the ditch and they were spending up large.
I went into Britomart with a group of friends before the game. All the Kiwi designer stores – Kathryn Wilson, World, Kate Sylvester, Zambesi – were packed with women on a mission. Already laden with bags, they weren't ready to stop trying and buying until kick off – and judging from the accents, most of them were Aussies.
I hope they got some joy from their purchases because they didn't get much from the game.
I do wonder where the well-heeled, glamorous visitors went after the game, though. Kingsland was pumping – as indeed were all the inner-city suburbs as I made my way home – but the venues were catering to a certain clientele.
People in their twenties and thirties, who didn't mind standing, who didn't mind loud music, who didn't want supper and who did want to meet other people just like them.
For those of us of a certain age, there aren't a great deal of options. As far as I'm aware. There are my old faithfuls, SPQR and Depot, but I so seldom go out after midnight, I really don't know what else might be out there.
I lunch now, rather than go out clubbing, and I'd rather talk around a table with people I know these days than grind pelvises on a dance floor with people I don't.
There's been talk that New Zealand is missing out on billions of tourist dollars by failing to offer a thriving sophisticated nightlife, the likes of which we see in international cities. The New Zealand Initiative, a local think tank, says this country is stuck in the seventies when it comes to night-time trading and claims that local council regulations around alcohol and 4am closings have made going out tedious.
While the number of restaurants and cafes has risen around the country, the number of late-night bars and nightclubs has fallen.
The fabulous Emerald Gilmour, who ruled Club Mirage back in the eighties, says she's forever getting people telling her she should open a night club for older people with all the sophistication and elegance that her club used to have.
And she rolls her eyes and says: "No, YOU should do it."
The New Zealand Initiative says rather than having blanket restrictions on when and where people can drink, problem drinkers should be supported and local authorities should have autonomy over their licensing decisions. And in one of the best ideas I've heard in a long time, the think tank says New Zealand should adopt the "we were here first" principle adopted by many other major cities around the world.
You want to build a bar or a nightclub in a residential area? There are strict rules around sound proofing and crowd control. But if you want to build apartments where the action is, and then bitch about the noise, you'll be sent packing by the council. SUCH a good idea.
In the meantime, I'm all for a late-night restaurant, live music and dance club that will cater to those of us who remember car-less days. There are hundreds of thousands of grey-haired groovers who'll be in town for concerts performed by other grey-haired groovers and who don't have to go home to pay babysitters and who don't have to get up early to the kids and who don't need much sleep.
With U2, Fleetwood Mac and the like coming to Auckland soon, where are we all going to go once the final encore has played and the curtain has come down? If you can show me a place where I can sit with my friends, re-living the songs (and probably our misspent youth) over a light supper and champagne, where we can hear one another speak, and where we can party like it's 1999, my friends and I will definitely make it worth your while.