Long-standing Auckland venue Rakinos confirmed reports yesterday that it was shutting down. The High St venue has been in operation since 1991, opening with distinctive tables cut out of iron to mimic the shapes of all the islands in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.
The cafe/venue has been thru several incarnations, boasting live music and DJs across the musical spectrum. I remember seeing a very early version of The Brunettes play live there, and also host numerous jazz acts. In recent years it has mutated into a hiphop venue, with noted DJs such as Dylan C establishing the long-running Loop Sessions, among many others.
It is the last venue in High St, dating back to the 1990s when that area had a range of spots with soul - from The Box/Cause Celebre nightclubs, to Rosinis restaurant, to Escape bar, to De Bretts... it's hard to believe High St ever had soul, looking at it these days.
Rakinos' Andy JV says on Facebook that "We have slowly and gradually found the going harder and harder to sustain, especially in the last two years - a non-renewable lease on a building that requires earthquake strengthening, the increasingly growing number of bars in our city.. the fight just got away from us and at the end of the day, our pockets simply aren't deep enough compared to some of the bigger groups to keep growing the brand and maintain a competitive edge. That, and we have done 13 years maintaining the business in the Auckland scene as shareholders - sometimes, you simply just get tired..." He also pointed to increased competition from Britomart bars.
Meanwhile, in Wellington, popular live venue San Francisco Bathhouse celebrates for the final time this year on New Years Eve, as they close down. ADDED: The venue will close for about two months, for repairs. Earlier this year the venue’s capacity was halved from 500 to 250 after receiving a complaint regarding fire safety requirements via the Wellington City Council.
"It's the first step towards getting the capacity back up to what it used to be. There are strong indications [getting it back to 500] is going to be possible, but there are few more things to achieve there. The building also require s earthquake strengthening." Source.
ADDED April 12 2014: Former co-owner Andy JV posted the photo below on Facebook, of the current state of the former Rakinos space - now converted to generic office space....