Thursday, February 22, 2007

Crow Bar - review 

The Ed called on Monday morning with a desperate plea. “My other reviewer hasn’t come through with her Crow Bar review – you couldn’t whip us up one, could you?”

As several witnesses had seen me propping up the bar at Crow at 4am on Sunday, I had no excuse really. And the embarrassing flurry of bar receipts that fluttered out of my wallet like confetti when I went to pay for my morning coffee sealed the deal. I had the skills to pay the (bar) bills - now I just had to remember enough of my evening to write it up... Damn Crow and its strange memory-sapping qualities.

We’d been out for another Special General Meeting of the Central City Cocktail Sluts, a 30th birthday celebration which ended rather prematurely when the host bar decided to shut its doors at 1am. There was only one thing for it - “dirty old Crow” it might be, but it’s always there for you, a dependable friend in times of need.

The DJ was spinning some dodgy 80s Madonna downstairs which sent me heading for the upstairs bar, but too late – one of our party had been lured onto the dancefloor, getting into the groove in true Material Girl style. It was a shameful performance too good to miss, so we ordered a beer and grabbed a ringside seat. One beer turned into many Jagermeisters, and we finally emerged blinking into the light as the birds started to sing, nursing the early stages of what would become a killer hangover.

Some regulars complain Crow isn’t what it used to be – but then, wasn’t everything better back in the day? The clientele may have become more ‘bridge and tunnel’ of recent times (tacky lingerie contests and Playboy Mansion parties don’t help), but Crow still can’t be beaten on a good night.

The bouncers are friendly, the lighting deliciously dim, the music (bar the Madonna) great – check rock’n’roll Thursdays and Dunc Tha Funk on Fridays – and the award-winning bar staff know how to mix a good drink. Sure, the men’s loos may become a health hazard later in the evening and the staff may be surly on occasion, but that’s only if you’re being an idiot. (The problem is that the anything-goes atmosphere at Crow makes you feel that, well, anything goes, so acts of idiocy are quite common, especially from this reviewer.)

Crow is more than a bar – it’s an institution. Auckland’s bar scene occasionally throws up a venue that transcends its role as a mere drinking den and becomes part of the city’s cultural fabric. The legendary Crow has been witnessing Aucklanders’ decadence and debauchery for longer than we care to remember - from VIPs to DICs, failed rehabbers to rock stars, everyone who has been through its doors emerges with a tale to tell. If only those walls could talk. (Someone should write a book on the place, if only they could afford the defamation lawyers.)

I respect my ailing liver and my bank balance too much to do the Crow experience too often these days – but when I do, a brilliant time is guaranteed. As bFM boy and myspace Crow Bar chronicler Simon Pound has written, “That place long ago did away with my dignity, sense, self-respect etc. But I love it like a sick, three-legged puppy.” I’ll drink to that.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Good times 

Party was fabulous, cheers. So, so very good. Thanks to all who graced us with your presence, and huge thanks to those who played tunes, including my own personal highlights Ange Saunders and Sandy Mill rocking the mic. (FYI you can catch Sandy's styles in the latest gloriousness from SJD.)

For those who care but couldn't be there, in no particular order a selection of the tracks I can remember dropping in the two sets I snatched for myself (well, if you can't hog the decks at your own party, where can you hog them?):
Surprisingly for a vaguely boozy set, I can recommend every single one of them, especially the Claudja Barry and Lee McDonald tunes for end-of-night scrumptiousness - hunt them down and melt, yum.

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