HeadQuarters bar owner Leo Molloy says he plans to go ahead with a dinner party at his Auckland Viaduct venue tonight and will make sure guests stick to their bubbles.

And he has revealed he had a "dummy run" dinner party last night for 20 guests without glitches.

"We had small bubbles of two, three and six," Molloy said.

One hundred people had been invited for his party tonight but Molloy told the Herald there had been a dozen cancellations following his rant on social media on Wednesday against Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and a comment which led to him being "perceived as a homophobe", which he vehemently denies.

HeadQuarters bar owner Leo Molloy. Photo / Michael Craig
HeadQuarters bar owner Leo Molloy. Photo / Michael Craig

Among those on the original guest list were National's deputy leader Paula Bennett, former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry and Destiny Church's Brian and Hannah Tamaki, Auckland MP Nikki Kaye, Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere, band members from True Bliss and former MP Hone Harawira.

Under alert level 2, cafes, schools, gyms, hairdressers, retail stores, restaurants, and other public spaces reopened yesterday but bars had to wait a further 10 days to reopen.

Gatherings have been capped at 10 people and no more than 100 people are allowed in venues at one time. People must be seated and all require physical distancing.

Molloy said his event would be a dinner party and there would be separate bubbles of between two and nine people. But there will be an area cordoned off if guests want to form a new bubble temporarily.

Headquarters Bar on the Auckland Viaduct. Photo / Dean Purcell
Headquarters Bar on the Auckland Viaduct. Photo / Dean Purcell

Molloy said he will address guests to ensure they stick to the rules and his staff has been cautioned to adhere to the three golden rules: seated, single, social distancing.

There will be strict monitoring of guests who are required to register their names and phone numbers at the door and have their wrists stamped before they are seated at their tables.

Security guards will patrol physical distancing and monitor the bathrooms, the smoking area, and guests' movements.

Dancing is off the menu but guests can look forward to a menu of shared platters and desserts. Molloy has banned media.


"Despite the media all wanting to be invited they are absolutely unwelcome."

Molloy said he had received support from police for the party to go ahead.

When asked about the party today, Senior Sergeant Morgan de la Rue, head of Auckland's Alcohol and Harm Unit told the Herald: "In the lead up to alert level 2 Leo Molloy from Headquarters has worked with police to make us aware of his plans and police are satisfied with his plans and compliance under level 2."

The Herald revealed on May 2, Molloy was planning the party and was working with police and the liquor licensing agency to ensure the private bash could go ahead on May 15, also the date of the restaurant's third birthday.

Molloy said on social media on Wednesday the Prime Minister was telling "lies and half-truths" regarding the spread of Covid-19 at bars and hospitality venues.

Shops have opened their doors - but many are not as busy as they might have hoped on the first morning of alert level 2. Video / Supplied

Ardern had pointed out South Korea was suffering a second wave of infection which had been spread at bars, and warned that could also happen in New Zealand without strict protocols in place.


Among Molloy's most prominent claims in the expletive-riddled, all-caps post was the assertion that a man who spread the virus in South Korea attended a number of "gay dungeon bars".

Molloy told the Herald today: "Ardern cited the South Korean situation and all I did was to draw attention to the distinctions between what happened in South Korea with that rebound and the likely situation here. I apologise for saying 'gay dungeon bars'.

"We have complied with the level 2 guidelines. We've had a dozen decide not to attend after extreme and intrusive media bullying... and the deliberate distortion of what's happening tonight."

Some social media users reacted to his post saying they would boycott the establishment.

Viaduct Harbour Holdings also posted on social media apologising for the comments.

Most restaurants on the Viaduct were open last night and while the precinct was quiet it was orderly and compliant, Molloy said.


"We expect the same tonight and in the future."