East St Hall
In a former Samoan church on Auckland’s city fringe, East St Hall bridges the gap between bar, restaurant, club, and centre for a thriving cultural scene. The joint-venture of Bar Celeste owners Emma Ogilvie and Nick Landsman, and Annabel’s’ Henry Mitchell Temple, is tucked just off Karangahape Road.
It opened in late 2020 with a rowdy launch party that seemed to set the tone for Auckland’s new party destination, and you can certainly go to East St to dance, thanks to a regular program of both ticketed events and guest DJs. You’d be just as welcome for a relaxed afternoon drink and a bite in the high-ceilinged space or the large rear courtyard. There are also sporadic events such as market days and more.
The bar’s colourful Katie Lockhart-designed interiors are saturated in contrasting shades of dark periwinkle blue, lavender and peach. There are high tables and stools for dining inside, and long communal tables, benches or short stools out the back.
Food-wise, the concise menu does one thing well – hand-stretched pizzas, riffing on Neapolitan-style dough with blistered crusts and a range of toppings. Among them, there’s a classic margherita, a pepperoni with 'nduja and mozzarella, and a creamy mushroom pizza with three different cheeses that’s finished with thyme and honey.
The cocktail menu spans a selection of signatures such as a spiced Margarita with house-made orange oleo saccharum and chilli, and the L’Opera Spritz made with a Hawke’s Bay-crafted, bittersweet orange liqueur.
Wines are mostly organic and biodynamically grown, from both New Zealand and European vineyards. There’s also a selection of magnums, should you be in the mood to share, plus boutique beers on tap and non-alcoholic drinks by soda brand Strangelove.
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