Soul and jazz music legend Nathan Haines knows his way around a nightspot with ambience.
The New Zealand vocalist and saxophonist has performed around the world: Touring with the New Zealand symphony orchestra, headlining at London's famous Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club, and playing at many of the world's jazz festivals and clubs.
He's now back in Auckland and enjoying what the 09 has to offer - and it turns out it's not such a bad offering.
Ahead of his collaboration with East Imperial, Newshub asked Haines to put together some of his best 'date night' spots around Auckland.
"It might be obvious but music is at the centre of how I pick where to dine and places I like to go for a good time. I don't think you can really have a social occasion without music! It's so important," says Haines. "That and quality beverages - whether or not they're alcoholic - make for a perfect pairing.
"Below is my list of best spots to go for good food, music and quality beverages."
Daphne's on Ponsonby Rd
Inspired by their travels to Greece, husband and wife duo Joost and Claire van den Berg have opened up a new place on Ponsonby Road – it's so cool, with its modern Mediterranean vibe, great Greek cuisine and great music. Go here if you want a loud, fun spot that feels like your own private family dinner party.
East St Hall, East St (CBD)
The once community hall turned Tel Aviv inspired mid-century modern bar and eatery is a must for an evening of fun. Go for court-yard vibes, organic wines, cold beer, citrus-y, herbaceous cocktails and delicious food… and if you're in need of a drink, their East Imperial Kima Kola cocktail, 'Kima Kooler' is a winner. And of course the music is great.
My wife Jaimie has curated the playlists for Zoot Music here! Such a great place that has a relaxed ambience, an acute sense of style and is super cosy seating just 10 people at a time.
Jamie and I went here for our 10 year wedding anniversary last month. This place offers degustation dining that changes frequently with seasonality and market availability. As it's tucked away next to Saint Patrick's Cathedral, it feels intimate and warm. Highly recommended.
A Ponsonby stable for quick, easy and quality Japanese. Also, they often play jazz when I visit which is right up my alley.
Jaimie and I played here last month for our first ever "Sunday Jive" party and we thought it was great. Owners Peter and Alastair have created a unique space that supports local producers, teaches people to cook and of course have their own dining room for world class, sustainable kai.