things to do in takapuna - dine at The Elephant Wrestler

Lots to do at Takapuna Beach!

Despite the colder months being upon us there is a great deal happening on the North Shore in July, with the Takapuna area – bordered by Devonport and Milford – being at the centre of things. Takapuna Beach Business Association CEO Terence Harpur reckons there are not too many places better to dine and take in a show. He may well be right.

The area is home to many theatres, performing arts centres and commercial entities providing live shows, entertainment and great hospitality. Near central Takapuna you will find the Bruce Mason Centre, The Pumphouse, Monterey Lounge Cinema as well as special event venues EscapeHQ and ThrillZone. The Lake House Arts Centre is close-by as well.

Takapuna is also home to some of Auckland’s best bars and eateries, many offering regular events and entertainment for their customers.

“It is no secret that Covid-19 has proven to be a real challenge for our event venues and hospitality operators so we are encouraging locals to get out and support these entities over our winter months,” says Terence Harpur. “Take in a show or experience one of our event venues and treat yourself at one of our fantastic bars and eateries. We have a real variety here on the Shore, with some of the best right here at Takapuna Beach.”

Bruce Mason Centre in July and August
The Bruce Mason Centre is a popular and unique venue for all performing arts, conferences, exhibitions, product launches, gala dinners and weddings. Located in the heart of Takapuna Beach, the impressive venue is just a few minutes walk from the vibrant shopping area, numerous restaurants and cafes, and the beautiful Takapuna beachfront.
Events on at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna in July and August include The Resilience Project (July 2nd), Morning Melodies featuring the Society Jazzmen (July 12th) Heath Franklin’s Chopper – The Silencer (July 14th), Ant Middleton’s Mind over Muscle Tour (July 15th) and Ballet Noir – What becomes of the Broken Hearted (July 23rd and 24th). Te Pō, on July 30th and 31st, will be of great interest to locals as it draws on the characters of Bruce Mason’s legacy of plays and reimagines them in this contemporary work, all set in Takapuna – where Bruce Mason spent his childhood years. On August 6th the Bruce Mason Centre will host Wonderland Glow Show, a ‘Kiwi-fied’ interpretation of the classic Alice in Wonderland tale for tamariki, educators, and whanau. Morning Melodies features Auckland Principal Brass Quintet on August 9th. Visit for full information and combine your event with a treat from one of the local cafes, eateries or bars.

The PumpHouse Theatre in July and August
The PumpHouse is a not-for-profit performing arts theatre located in a lovely historic building on the edge of Lake Pupuke in Takapuna. The PumpHouse represents a range of arts, including plays, musicals, Skakespeare, dance, stand-up comedy, music, seminars, workshops, poetry, play readings and variety performances.
For the school holidays Tim Bray Theatre Company presents Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons at The PumpHouse Theatre between July 3rd and 17th. Fusing the classical and contemporary, this show celebrates the power of sight and sound. Inspired by Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, one of the world’s most popular pieces of classical music, Tim Bray Theatre Company invites you into a visually enticing world, full of humour and childlike curiosity. Taking centre stage is a live string quartet, who will musically guide our actors across the seasons of Aotearoa. The performance showcases up-and-coming talent by featuring APO Aspiring Musicians and Unitec third year acting students. Tim Bray also presents Hit the Stage! (July 19th-23rd) at The PumpHouse and The Greatest Showman Sing-a-Long! on July 24th. Come dressed as your favourite character – there will be spot prizes for the best dressed and most enthusiastic singer! The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie – presented by Shoreside Theatre –  is on at The PumpHouse from July 29th (till August 8th) and The Crucible – presented by Foolish Wit Theatre – is on from August 11th till 15th. This faithful, contemporary production brings Arthur Miller’s classic play to life.
Visit for full information and combine your event with a treat from one of the local cafes, eateries or bars.

Escape HQ at 495 Lake Road, Takapuna, offers people of all ages the opportunity for an exhilarating hour of fun and entertainment. You choose your game and then expect to be challenged, as you find clues and solve puzzles using logic and problem solving skills. It’s great for team building, birthday parties, friends and family, stag or hen dos. Escape HQ is now a licensed venue, so you can book the bar for your next celebration or team building event. The venue includes a meeting room, projector, complimentary tea, coffee and board games with catering available as well. For the July school holidays they’re offering 15% off escape games from July 10th to 25th. Use code SCHOOLHOLS15 when you book online for three or more people. It’s Escape HQ’s fourth birthday celebration from Friday August 13th to Sunday 15th.
Visit: follow them on Insta of Facebook or phone 09 489 4999.

Takapuna Winter Lights, July 30th and 31st
Takapuna Winter Lights is being held at Takapuna’s Hurstmere Green on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st of July. This free community event is presented by the Takapuna Beach Business Association, SILO, AMD, Go Media, Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and Auckland Unlimited. The lights will be on from 5pm till 10pm on the two nights. This is happening as part of the Elemental AKL festival a captivating programme of more than 30 events celebrating the culture, cuisine and creativity of Auckland. These events will transform eateries and bars, theatres and public spaces across Auckland into hubs of exciting experiences.
You will experience Takapuna like never before with illuminated art, music and performances from some of New Zealand’s best renowned creative talents as they band together to launch a cornerstone arts and culture event right in the heart of Takapuna.
One of the country’s leading light artists Angus Muir (AMD) is headlining this year’s festival. He says the plans are to completely transform Hurstmere Green across the two days and showcase a selection of our world-leading light installations. Also part of the festival is Vospertron, a globally-acclaimed performance artist; SILO, the creative team behind the award-winning LUMA sensory journey in Queenstown, and some amazing local talent including DJ Karn Hall.
Dress up warm, pop in for a bite and drink at your favourite restaurants and bars and let your senses guide you through Takapuna Winter Lights 2021.
“We want people to come in and check out Takapuna at night, get awed by some fantastic pieces of art and see something really special,” says Takapuna Beach Business Association CEO Terence Harpur. “Putting on this free event is a fantastic way to thank the  community for their support over the past year as well as support local bars and eateries.”
Takapuna Winter Lights – Friday and Saturday 30th-31st July 2021, 5pm-10pm, Hurstmere Green, Takapuna.
Monterey Lounge Cinema is Takapuna’s centrally located boutique movie theatre complex. It’s undergone a recent refresh to create a new cinema experience, with a focus on food and beverage that locals love. Gone are all the old cinema seats. They have been replaced by comfortable plush lounge seating with slim tables in front. At Monterey Lounge Cinema you can enjoy an experience similar to gold class where people can order food and drinks and take them into the cinema. A must do in Takapuna!

Most of Takapuna Beach’s eateries have special things happening July and August. Popular Lake Road eatery Madam Woo (delicious Malaysian-inspired hawker fare!) has a July special dish: Soy Braised Beef Cheeks with coconut rice, steamed bok choy and pickled onion. Their August special dish is Duck Rendang with coconut rice. If you book your mid-winter Christmas celebration with Madam Woo they’ll also say cheers with a glass of Prosecco on them! This offer applies for groups of 20 or more dining on their Feast Menu. Make sure you book in advance, it’s a popular spot!
Visit or Phone 09 489 4601.

Eat Street is at Fortieth & Hurstmere is more than just a laneway – it’s a neighbourhood, and any good neighbourhood comes with different types of locals. When Fortieth & Hurstmere was created, just opposite Hurstmere Green in the heart of Takapuna, they handpicked a selection of the best establishments to join the community. Locals love it! Whether you’re after a spot of coffee in the morning, a bite to eat for lunch or somewhere to settle in for after work (or event) drinks and dinner, you’ll find something that takes your fancy at Eat Street, Fortieth & Hurstmere. The eateries include Bird on a Wire, Burger Burger, Dante’s Pizza and Casa Pasta, Glass Sushi Boutique, El Humero, Otto’s Mediterranean Kitchen and Poke Poke. Visit or pop on in!

Wow, popular local bar and eatery The Elephant Wrestler is being extremely active in the entertainment “reason to leave the couch” zone. Events they have on include; Tuesday Trivia – an event that’s been running every Tuesday for over eight years and is full every single week. Hosted by the very talented Kat Glass and prepared by ‘Believe it or Not’. Bookings essential for 6.30pm start.
Drag Queen Bingo is a fortnightly event hosted by Drag Royalty Miss Trinity Ice and assisted by new drag sensation and hot talent Elektra Shock. This is a night that is so very entertaining, but not for the delicate or super sensitive. It is Bingo, but not like your nana tells you about! On July 8th and 22nd with bookings essential.
Every Friday (9am till midnight) at The Elephant Wrestler there is live music from some of Auckland’s favourite duos. These bands are selected for their energy and talent. They all know how to bring the party and what you to join them on the journey. Sing along, dance the night away or just grab the tambourine and join in for the party.
After the sport is finished and the nerves are settled The Elephant Wrestler steps up the party with Saturday Jams and has a DJ from 9pm every Saturday. A party play list that just keeps on giving. From disco to Pop and everything in between.
The Elephant Wrestler’s ‘Bottomless Beer, Bubbles and Fried Chicken – this event, on every Saturday, is an absolute hoot and combines these favourite things. Then they add on top a DJ who plays all those guilty pleasures. You get a two hour package for $45 per person and you can book at any time between 2pm and 4pm. Use it as a launching pad for your night out or just a great way to catch up with friends and not blowing the bank.
Everyone loves a TRIBUTE band and on Sunday July 18th The Elephant Wrestler has ‘Dreams – The Fleetwood Mac Experience’. These are always a fun Sunday afternoon session (2pm to approx.. 6.30pm) that ensure we are all fine for work on Monday. Tickets for Dreams are available at Eventfinda. Lookout for the Bee Gees Tribute show coming in September!
The Elephant Wrestler team also does a free Family Quiz every school holidays. Tailored for kids 6-13 it’s a great night for the family and loads of cool spot prizes for the really little ones. Short format and starts at 6pm and is over by 7.15pm.

House of Chocolates Dessert Cafe and Cakery is a favourite in Takapuna that people often visit after a show or the movies – or even just for dessert! They will have you sorted for those late night sweet cravings! Their team is serving up piping hot Belgium Hot Chocolate and steaming fresh Liege Waffles till 10pm daily! They have both a Savoury Toast Menu and Dessert Menu, along with Supreme Coffee. Never miss a craving! …except on a Monday when they aren’t open. Shop 5, 62-78 Hurstmere Road – quite near to the movie theatres.

Regatta Bar & Eatery on The Strand at Main Beach is celebrating Bastille Day with a special charity dinner. This will be a French-inspired degustation dinner on Wednesday 14 July, from 6pm-10pm. Guests will enjoy a seven-course degustation menu paired with EuroVintage wines, prepared by Regatta Head Chef, Paul Cooper. This is a charity event to raise money for the North Harbour Club and the AIMES Awards. Thanks to our mates at Lansdowne Farms, EuroVintage, Duncan New Zealand, Leigh Fisheries and Intersea. Tickets are $207 per head.
Every Friday night at Regatta Bar & Eatery, from 6pm till late, Karn Hall and Friends Flashback to the good old days with all the top hits from the 80s and 90s. This is an opportunity to share a shaker cocktail with your friends of Midori Illusion, Grasshopper or maybe even a Singapore Sling for only $15. Book a table or a booth to settle in, or get your boogie on under the biggest mirror ball in New Zealand for some old-fashioned moves while jamming through the decades.
For more information and bookings visit or Phone 09 488 0040.

The Catnappers Arms on Hurstmere Road is operated by well-known North Shore identity Kevin Schwass. He’s had a milestone birthday in June and we reckon he’s one of the longest existing business owners in Hurstmere Road, introducing locals to quite a few different establishment over the years, after his long stint before that as proprietor of the infamous Poenamo Hotel. Schwassy’s still got plenty happening at his two popular establishments in Takapuna.
They have great food at The Catnappers Arms and have a new menu launching in July. It features old favourites, new specialities and 10 amazing burgers to choose from. Try their Chicken Waffle Burger – yum!
Saturday July 17th sees the return of the ever popular Friends quiz. Based around the long running TV show, the Wellington-based promoters of GeeQuiz theme nights come up with wide ranging questions that avid fans and casual watchers will have fun answering. There’s also a weekly Quiz Night every Wednesday at The Catnappers Arms from 7pm.
Monday August 16th is a must attend event for all ukulele players. The Catnapper Arms brims to overflowing with the melodic sounds of ukulele players singing and strumming to old and new songs. From beginners to the experts.
The Catnappers Arms has live music every Friday night from 8pm. North Shore favourites Dean TePaa and Pete Dixon or Kevin Millar will be rocking it out Fridays right through July.
Florrie McGreals Irish Pub is a superb neighbourhood bar that is also operated by Kevin Schwass. It’s close to all events at the Bruce Mason Centre so you can pop in for a burger pre-show or an Irish Coffee after. There’s always something happening until the wee small hours. It is one of Auckland’s much-loved destination Irish pubs with a great selection of local and imported beers including Guinness, Kilkenny and Murphys, Heineken, Tiger and many more.

Yes folks, there’s something for everyone happening in Takapuna in July and August. For more information visit: or if you are looking for somewhere listing of many) there’s apparently well over 100 of them in all!

via Channel Magazine – Issue 121 July 2021.

Click HERE to view the article in Channel Magazine online.

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