Where to kick back for the kick off in Takapuna

The first match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will kick off in Japan this month and run till early November. On our shores, the games will be screened between late afternoon and late evening. We’ve rounded up the best spots in Takapuna to soak it all up – places with a great atmosphere and game day snacks to keep you sated well in to the night.

With a spacious courtyard and consistently lively vibe The Elephant Wrestler promises to be a fun place to watch all the big matches. A full schedule of activity will be available on their website, and with two projectors and five TV screens spread across the venue you won’t miss any of the action. There’s plenty of finger food to munch through the match, such as pizzas, spicy wings, karaage chicken and popcorn prawns with curry leaf and spicy mayo. They also make a great espresso martini if you need an eye-opener later in the night.

Our pick for the most cosy and convivial place to watch the games is Florrie McGreal’s – even better if you are a supporter of the Irish team. Grab a Guiness from the tap, settle in to the charming wooden surroundings and snack on something hearty from the menu that is teeming with comfort classics. We love the sound of the Irish nachos: thickly sliced potato skins topped with cheddar, mozzarella, bacon and grilled onions.

If you’re in to craft beer Master and Apprentice is where you will want to park up with your pals, with a wide selection of boutique brews on tap that are all available by the jug. For the late screening games, they plan to offer a “stadium menu” of snackable food that can be eaten with your hands, like buffalo wings with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing; American hot dogs; and their delicious green lipped mussel fritter burger, which is served with bacon, field greens and lemon-caper aioli.  

With an open layout, lofty ceilings and plush booths for a group, The Commons is an ideal spot for an early-evening game. They will be extending their happy hour to coincide with the matches, and putting up a screen in their lush, undercover garden area for the duration of the tournament. If you’re hungry, try one of their burgers, and there’s plenty of finger food too – we like the polenta chips, arancini and spicy lamb skewers with red onion and mint sauce.

Showing every single game during the Rugby World Cup, Takapuna Bar has six screens spread across three different zones – including their fairy light-clad courtyard. They will be fully immersed in the tournament, with the chance to win prizes and bar tabs for picking the score of the bigger games. With a buzzing atmosphere every day of the week, there is no doubt this will be a lively place for viewing – its sunny corner location make it a great pick for matches held in the afternoon.  

If you prefer the comfort of your couch to watch the games, Takapuna has plenty of takeaway options that are ideal for feeding a crowd. For pizza of epic proportions try Sal’s New York style pizzas, their buffalo wings and pepperoni swirls make great sides, too. If you prefer a more authentic Italian pizza Dante’s sourdough bases are made the old school way and topped with the finest ingredients, we love the Diavola with salami, chorizo and fresh red chilli. Bird on a Wire offers plenty of crowd pleasing meals, try the family feed which comes with two whole chickens, four large salads and two baguettes. If crispy chicken is more your style The Coop offers eight different flavours of fried chicken, add some fries, street style corn on the cob and hushpuppies and you’ve got yourself a party.

For all the match information including fixtures and NZ screening time, visit the Rugby World Cup website.