Takapuna has traditionally been a beachy suburb, known for its line up of lofty, ocean-front homes, but not especially for its dining and shopping offerings. With the admission of a few new upmarket establishments in recent times, Takapuna seems to be emerging as a retail and hospitality hot spot on Auckland’s North Shore.
One of the most welcome new additions to Takapuna’s dining scene is The Commons, a multi-space bar and eatery area designed by hospitality mavens Pack and Company - the team behind Auckland’s uber-stylish Imperial Lane and Wellington’s Matterhorn.
The first introduction to The Commons from Hurstmere Road is a European-inspired bakery and patisserie, Elske. Here, the designers have embraced the recent re-emergence of ‘industrial-chic’ choosing polished concrete floors, raw timber roof beams and a selection of heavy tables and chairs. A large, undulating timber structure extending along the back wall of the bakery becomes the focal point of the space.
A wander down the thoroughfare to the side of Elske leads to a spacious courtyard area flanked on two sides by a selection of bars and eateries. This outdoor area at the heart of the precinct is designed as a shared space (hence ‘The Commons’) for each of the five venues including Little Empire bar on the ground floor. Within the courtyard area is a seven metre long bar with ‘living wall’ installations and retractable tulip parasols overhead to provide shelter. Couches, high tables and bar stools reinforce the cool, casual ambience that the designers have intended for this space.
On the seaward side of The Commons is a bistro space, and upstairs, a mezzanine level with more seating and views overlooking the common area. A more formal degustation room with views of Rangitoto Island is also housed within this space.