Viva's guide to where the fashion crowd are eating, drinking and flirting this season.

27 Galway St, Britomart, (09) 551 3100

The Britomart precinct has quickly become one of the best areas in the city for nightlife, with an array of bars catering for every taste. The latest to open is 1885, a three-level bar housed in a heritage building. Think luxurious leather suites and black velvet couches. This is also where the Fashion Week wrap party is being held on Saturday night with a host of excellent DJs and burlesque dancers.

Federal St, opposite SkyCity Grand Hotel, City, (09) 363 6000

Peter Gordon's bar "de tapas y vinos" is open until late all week, making it the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before or after the last runway show of the day. These are usually held off-site so the centrally located Bellota is ideal for refuelling with its delicious array of tapas dishes and a glass or two of red wine. With it's chic woody interior and moody lighting, it's a suitably discreet place to catch up on all the day's gossip.


256 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, (09) 360 0108

A classic. Visit this cafe on a normal weekday morning and you'll spot many a fashion face eating their coconut bread with a soy flat white. Go there on a weekday morning during NZFW and you're likely to spot many a fashion face nursing a sore head over a strong coffee and scrambled eggs.

9 Vulcan Lane, (09) 366 0196

Take a job-lot of vintage leather Chesterfield sofas, top with a giant disco ball, place a stag's head above the DJ booth, throw in cocktails served in vintage china teapots and invite everyone cool you know, and you've got a handle on this hip Vulcan Lane bar. The monthly Thursday Night Tea Party gigs with Maya and Vanya are popular with the music and fashion crowd, and the


magazine parties on the last Thursday of the month are always fizzing.

352 K Rd, (09) 365 1800

Its name stands for Department of Conversation, and it has impeccable rock'n' roll credentials: the friendly owners Amber and Henry used to work for the White Stripes and were in Die! Die! Die!, respectively. This retro, rock chic bent extends to the decor: 60s furniture, vintage arcade games and a curved wooden bar. Just a short pilgrimage from the shops of Ponsonby Rd, this is where you'll find local designers, shopworkers and musicians drinking pink gins at any given time.

1 Pakenham St East, (09) 368 1930

Just a stone's throw from the NZFW venue, this "reading room and lounge bar" is a haven for literature lovers and


readers alike. Excellent tapas and killer cocktails are served in an atmosphere reminiscent of an old gentleman's club - only less Victorian and sexist, obviously. Cybele, Jimmy D and Blak are all hosting post-show parties amid the vintage books and leather sofas this year.

319B Queen St, (09) 3795353

Auckland has no shortage of excellent Japanese restaurants, but none can beat Tanuki's Cave for atmosphere. The extensive yakitori menu might be what first lures passing shoppers, label-clad shopworkers and Asian students down the stairs into this cavern-like bar and restaurant, but it's the dim lighting, kitsch decor and beers on tap that keep the place buzzing well into the night. Authentic Japanese food in surroundings that look straight out of Harajuku - you won't regret putting up with the weeknight queues.

Viaduct Harbour Ave, (09) 356 7249

It's just won a gong from


magazine, and deservedly so: on a sunny day, there's no better place to sip a rose, tuck into a seafood platter, stare at the ocean and be glad you're in Auckland. And throughout September, lunch, a glass of wine and a coffee will ring in at just $28.50.

The Department Store, 10 Northcroft St, Takapuna

Serious shoppers need serious sustenance, and the light, airy and impossibly stylish surroundings of The Tea Room is just what you need to soothe a brain frazzled from hard decisions like which Karen Walker sunglasses to go for. During NZFW, expect to see international buyers puzzling over what a "long black" could possibly be, and celebs booking in for organic spray-tans at Lucy & The Powder Room.

6 Mills Lane, (09) 366 6067

Housed in a bungalow-type building in a back alley just off Queen St, this petite bar and club exudes decadence. Velvet furnishings, plush carpets and gilt-edged mirrors are a perfect backdrop for Auckland's elegantly wasted, or those serious enough about their music to wait until 2.30am to hear Black Rebel Motorcycle Club play a secret gig, as they did last month. You never know who you might bump into on the smoker's balcony ...


As sponsors of this year's NZFW, Absolut Vodka has hooked up with some New Zealand designers - including Hailwood and Lonely Hearts - to design a personalised cocktail. Our favourite is the Absolut Federation, because we can kid ourselves that the Black Doris plums basically make it a health drink. Plus they're celebrating their 10th birthday this year. Make it yourself, or get the professionals at Racket bar, Kermadec or Bellini to do it for you. Find out about other participating bars and cocktail recipes


Absolut Federation


45ml Absolut Kurant

30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

15ml sugar syrup

2 Black Doris plums (tinned)

sugar or light brown sugar rim


Muddle plums and shake with all other ingredients and strain over fresh ice in a short glass


Soft brown sugar rim