4 hidden Auckland gems for good vibes, eats & brews

We love Central Auckland as much as the next person, but arguably some of Auckland’s most beloved gems sit outside the familiar city bubble. This winter, explore outside your backyard and get acquainted with these unassuming suburban bars and eateries for good vibes, brews and fare.


Located so close to Takapuna Beach that you’re practically on the sand, Franc’s is a firm favourite for weekday lunches, weekend brunches and late-night celebrations. With a Kiwi bach vibe underpinned by a touch of Americana, Franc’s is a firm favourite with groups, who love effortless, feel-good dining. Catering to a variety of dietaries (vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free) it’s perfect for families, friends and working lunches. Go healthy with the delicious and nutritious Green Bowl, or dive into the unabashedly indulgent Louisiana Fried Chicken and Waffles, a local secret that’s too good not to share.


Known locally as the perfect spot for bringing people together in a relaxing and friendly atmosphere, Moretons is located just a stone’s throw from St Heliers Bay Beach and offers panoramic views of Auckland’s iconic Rangitoto Island. Its bistro quality fare doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re in for brunch, a long lunch or just some shared plates with friends, a list of premium beers and inspired wine choices guarantees a fun time. If you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want an excuse to dress up with friends, Moretons also has a selection of High Tea packages available to suit any occasion. Oh and did we mention they have an epic cocktail menu? Their espresso martinis are to die for. 


An East Auckland favourite for 10 years, Basalt has become the locals’ home away from home – but with far better food and drinks. Located on a sunny corner and boasting a sun-soaked rooftop bar with water views, Basalt is also famous for offering the original bottomless brunch. On the last Saturday of every month they serve up bottomless Mimosas, Bellinis and Bloody Marys, accompanied by your choice of mouth-watering brunch and a pumping soundtrack courtesy of the resident DJ. Also, of note are the legendary pizzas and Local’s Night, when Joylab Rewards Members enjoy complimentary canapes, drink specials and Basalt voucher draws.

The Flying Moa

The inspiration behind this Mount Wellington local was “a New Zealand kind of pub that feels like home”, and they nailed it. With a menu that covers everything from pasta to curry, burgers to a classic steak and chips, they offer pub fare made with love, designed to keep the whole crew happy. The now-legendary Flying Moa Quiz Night is rumoured to be the best in town, with teams flocking to Mount Wellington to compete from all over Auckland.

The above venues are part of the Joylab network - a collective group of 20+ bars, pubs and restaurants.