Kura Sake Bar, Auckland CBD
Many of the big cities in Japan have a thriving maze of underground eateries that are clustered around the train stations, catering for the throngs of hungry commuters. They are small, hole-in-the-wall type venues where workers grab a quick snack to see them through the journey home.
Well, Auckland has its own hidden gems below Queen St. A few doors up from the Town Hall you’ll find a discreet slatted door. Slide this open, descend the steep stairs, duck through the traditional Japanese noren (curtain), and you’ll find yourself in Kura Sake Bar.
Don’t be put off by the name – Kura Sake Bar is much more than a bar. It occupies what was once a grain storage facility in historic Auckland and it’s a fascinating space for a restaurant. The enormous exposed stone wall that holds up Queen St, so solid and rough, is contrasted with delicate silk kimonos that are draped across the dark stone. An open fire blazes its way through the winter chill and low lighting increases the sense of cosiness and intimacy.