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New music lounge and wine bar launched in Auckland

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The new music lounge and premium wine bar in town is the Anthology Lounge.

This unique venue is the creation of expat Maryanne Bilham and her American husband Robert Knight. Both world-renowned music and travel photographers, they share a passion for music performance and fine wine. They have created a space where they would love to hang out and enjoy fine wines and cocktails with friends, go to after a concert or dinner and enjoy good company and to see live music.

The idea for Anthology Lounge arose from a conversation with old friend Slash, the night before Guns N’ Roses played Auckland, February 2017. The guitarist wanted to find a cool, late night place to hang out after the show and they were at a loss to name a suitable haunt. Slash remembered enjoying an Auckland bar called Squid, but that was in the 1990s.

The Anthology Lounge is a gem. It is hidden down a vintage flight of wooden stairs and the room is blessed with a high ceiling and large windows with a view of Auckland’s cityscape. The space has the ambience of a high-end speakeasy - as depicted in prohibition era gangster movies - minus the cigarette smoke and the machine guns.

The location for Anthology Lounge is 375 Karangahape Road, overlooking "spaghetti junction" and directly below award winning Italian restaurant Cotto. The building once had an alternative music venue on the first floor - when it was the Rising Sun Hotel - but the classy downstairs room is new to the Auckland music scene.

In a gentile manner, the talented duo has seen a few bars in their time. When Knight was a teen, he photographed a 1968 Jimi Hendrix concert. Bilham’s world tour lasted 30 years - living for one decade in three different nightlife cities: Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Knight and Bilham want Anthology Lounge to be a vital part of the local music scene. "We hope it will be a launching platform," says Knight. The vision is a venue that sits between "Ronnie Scott’s jazz club (London) and The Viper Room (Los Angeles)," adds Bilham.

Bilham conceptualized the design and branding of the Lounge working with her design partner Albert OH who is based in Madrid. "There’s a gothic rock ‘n’ roll vibe," says Knight. In a spooky nod to the building’s prior identity, Albert OH’s company name is Rising Sun Media. The interior design includes some of their photographic images such as Lorde in Las Vegas (2014) by Bilham and Led Zeppelin arriving in Hawaii (1966) by Knight.

The multi-purpose venue is a suitable size for showcases, gigs, parties or events, album launches, jazz nights and big names in an intimate setting. The legal capacity is 128 people.

Manager, Aaron Gorst (a well-known face on the hospitality circuit) has, with the team, carefully curated an impressive wine and cocktail list - with many wines not usually available by the glass, available at the lounge. Lady Butcher charcuterie platters are available for purchase to complement the extensive drinks list.

Knight and Bilham are not jaded by decades encumbered by cameras or music biz bollocks, they still have a passion for new music. They have followed Cairo Knife Fight for years and they have already checked out local bands The Daffodils, Shed and The Rubics.

The venue is a partnership between Bilham, Knight and local businessman and entrepreneur Craig Anderson.

The Anthology Lounge officially opens at 5pm on Thursday July 5 and local four-piece alt / indie band The Daffodils will be the first act to perform, on stage at 8.00pm. For more information see www.anthologylounge.com.

Anthology Lounge

375 Karangahape Road, Auckland Central (entrance beside Cotto)

Lounge hours: open Wednesday - Saturday 5:00pm - 3:00am

Phone: 09 972 9042

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