592 Great North Rd
(09) 376 4309
Tuesday - Thursday
4pm - late
Friday - Sunday
12pm - late
Pocket has a vaulted glass roof with huge suspended planters and it looks like a hothouse, what I imagine the Domain Wintergardens would look like if they were turned into a bar. Basically, the space is dreamy. It’s been brought to life by friends Alex MacFarlane and Rod and Alice Ballenden, who wanted to create a friendly, welcoming local for themselves in Grey Lynn for a long time before the closure of the ASB on the corner provided the perfect opportunity.
In addition to the glasshouse, there is a dainty courtyard out the back with a wall mural by Margarita Vovna, whose work also graces the walls of Mexico restaurants across the country. The third space at Pocket is located down a short flight of stairs and in contrast to the luminous entrance, it’s cosy, with a low-ceiling and a bar made with reclaimed wood. A place I can imagine would offer a golden shelter from winter weather and winter blues.
Pocket’s beer and wine lists are succinct and affordable, but it’s the cocktails that are the real specialty. Homemade fruit reductions paired with spirits make for a snapshot of the season in a glass. The grazing menu is a great accompaniment – great for sharing, textural and a little bit naughty. The green hummus tahini served with broad beans and crisp, golden flatbread was my favourite, it’s light and fresh and generous. The seaweed chips are a must if you want something small to nibble on. If you’re looking for more, go for the crispy skin master stock chicken wings with ginger water, or the North African lamb chops coated with cumin seeds and black olive powder, they both make for a tasty, messy and fun experience, you may find yourself licking your fingers afterward. I did.
Pocket is approachable and friendly and just so nice to be in, regardless of what the weather’s doing, or what day it is. It hasn’t been open long, but it already has the feeling of a beloved local, which is a very good sign.