Welcome to Tauranga's bar and pub scene. If it's nightlife you are after, then Tauranga has certainly grown up in the past few years. There are many nightclubs and bars catering to both the "mature" and younger crowds. During the week many do close on the early side if patronage is low. But the weekends can see an influx of locals and visitors from the wider Bay of Plenty. Get amongst it!
The Western Bay of Plenty’s nightlife scene has arrived! More pubs and bars are opening, some really quite swish —putting the pressure on the old-timers to up their game. So now, happily, you’ve got a choice: there are funky late-night cocktail lounges, cheery English ale-houses as well as a good old-fashioned Kiwi pub or two for a game of pool & a pint of Lion. One or two establishments defy description, but that’s a compliment.
As with any city, use your commonsense: stick to well-lit areas premises and their courtyards —and remember the liquor ban that applies beyond the licensed premises and their courtyards. You risk a fine if you wander the streets with a bottle of beer in hand.
Our Top Tips for Gigs & Venues There’s plenty of live music in the Western Bay, with Tauranga regularly attracting top NZ bands and not-infrequent international acts. Expect a whole range of styles, from rock and dance music, with plenty of jazz and blues —in fact Tauranga is best known for the world’s longest-running jazz festival, drawing crowds of up to 20,000.
Colosseum In Harington Street, a short walk from the centre of Tauranga. Set up to showcase original, live music – both up and coming Kiwis and international acts. Even jazz…
Brewer’s Bar at the Mount: ‘a good honest rock venue’ with fine acoustics and music most nights, where you can catch top Kiwi bands on tour as well as many local acts.
Bureta Park —every Wednesday The Bureta Park All-Stars (formerly the Dr Jazz Band) play almost anything from the jazz world and invite musicians to jam.
Mills Reef Winery (Bethlehem) has impressive sessions on Sunday afternoons, including Marion Arts, Oscar, The Self-Righteous Brothers, Derek Jacombs and Nigel Masters. Wine and music.
For more or less middle-of-the-road rock, pop and covers, various pubs & bars downtown have bands playing on Friday and Saturday nights Try Home, Cornerstone, Naked Grape, Crown and Badger and Imbibe).
Local Bands & Artists to Catch… Winston Watusi recommends: Tauranga Big Band, a ‘top-class regional big band’ that’s gone from strength to strength and hold monthly dances; veteran bluesman Peri Kohu and his trio, the ‘most authentic gut-bucket blues you’ll come across’; Torch Songs, a sophisticated jazz band; Marion Arts, contemporary jazz singer, who often performs with Trevor Braunias, virtuoso jazz guitarist; Kokomo, well-known nationally for original blues and roots music; Tracie De Jong, silky smooth folk/jazz singer; Brilleaux, hi-energy R & B band; Abstract Thought, Stardrunk and Storm fish —original rock at its best.
To find out what’s on, check out ... The Weekend Sun (www.thesun.co.nz) Out free on Friday, widely distributed to accommodation providers and restaurants. The Sun’s big entertainment guide includes a comprehensive ‘What’s On,’ a DVD movies review, and a gig guide. Catch excellent Music Plus column, with the ‘opinionated ravings’ of Winston Watusi, in reality an accomplished local muso, Derek Jacombs of Kokomo.
Bay News A free community newspaper (out on Wednesday) with a ‘What’s On’ as well as movie and gig listings.
The Bay of Plenty Times Thursday edition’s big Bay Beat section has arts and music columns and an arts diary, movie reviews, a gig guide and what’s on.