Auckland’s Karangahape Rd already does a good line in basement music venues but with the arrival of Anthology Lounge, it now has a fine new ‘music lounge and premium wine bar’ – situated at the opposite end of the K’Rd party strip, and the opposite end of the market spectrum.
Opening officially on Thursday, July 5 the new venue/wine bar is the creation of ex-pat Kiwi Maryanne Bilham and her American husband Robert Knight who have decided to make Auckland their future home. Both internationally-renowned music and travel photographers, they have created Anthology Lounge as the kind of space where they themselves would love to head to after a concert or dinner, enjoy fine wines and watch live music.
Downstairs from the award-winning Italian restaurant Cotto at 375 K’Rd, (the building formerly famous as the Rising Sun Hotel), the Anthology Lounge is a luxuriously-designed room combining the appeal of a basement venue with large windows that overlook Auckland’s spaghetti junction. Designed to have the ambiance of a high-end prohibition era speakeasy it is further embellished with a number of very rock ’n’ roll photographs of some very famous musicians – a spectrum that covers Led Zeppelin arriving in Hawaii in 1966 through to Takapuna’s own Lorde, playing Las Vegas in 2014.
Maryanne Bilham’s three-decade-long photographic career has seen her based in Hong Kong, Los Angeles and these days, Las Vegas. Still then in his teens, Robert Knight photographed Jimi Hendrix performing in 1968 and over the five decades since has photographed and developed friendships with numerous rock legends. The idea for Anthology Lounge arose from a conversation he had with friend Slash the night before Guns N’ Roses played Auckland, in February 2017. The guitarist wanted to find a cool, late night place to hang out after the show and Knight says they were at a loss to name a suitable haunt.
The pair wants their Anthology Lounge to become an integral part of the local music scene, with a vision of a venue that sits between Ronnie Scott’s famed London jazz club and The Viper Room in LA. With a legal capacity of 128 people, the multi-purpose venue is well-sized for showcases, album launches, jazz gigs, parties or events. Bilham conceptualised the design and branding, creating what Knight describes as a gothic rock ‘n’ roll vibe.
“We hope it will be a launching platform,” he adds, backing that with booking fledgling alt/indie band The Daffodils as the very first act to perform. The Anthology Lounge officially opens at 6pm, July 5.