Like it or loathe it, the hospitality scene must always reserve a place for large groups of rowdy souls who embrace excess and enjoy wholeheartedly the carnival of chaos on a big night out. Our most lively venues are akin to stepping into a mosh pit of gastronomic rebellion, where meals become feasts, and inhibition is left at the door. The clinking of glasses and raucous laughter drown out the polite clatter of cutlery, as every bite is a declaration of hedonism. It’s for those of us who like to turn a simple meal into an epic night to remember, where indulgence knows no bounds, and rules are meant to be broken. And a reminder that sometimes, in a world of pretentiousness and restraint, the most profound culinary experiences emerge from unapologetic revelry and the joy of shared excess. On these nights the wine flows so freely, that the sommelier struggles to keep up with the ceaseless demand for liquid courage, resulting in conversations becoming more risqué as the night progresses.
While often, dining with a rowdy crew who treat indulgence like a competitive sport can be frowned upon by fellow diners, to those at the table, restraint is an alien concept, and fun is the only agenda. Choosing venues that wholeheartedly encourage this behaviour such as Bivacco, MoVida or Síso is advised. Or head to Bar Non Solo, or NSP where the Italian spirit of abundant indulgence is alive and well. It’s a fantastic reminder that amidst the judgemental cancel culture, we have long been enduring, there must still be a place for unbridled revelry and the sheer joy of excess. These are some of the most lively venues around Auckland that I love.