Farewelling Rosie O’Gradys

Winston Watusi
Music Plus

Everything has its time and eventually that time passes.  For better or for worse, things change.

Ever since I arrived in Tauranga in the mid-eighties there has been a Chinese restaurant at 88 Devonport Road.

Now there isn't.

But in a strange quirk of fate, just as that Chinese restaurant disappeared, causing many a howl of horror from yum cha lovers and devotees of their spicy wontons, another Chinese restaurant opened exactly opposite across Devonport Road.

And before we get on to music let me share what I know: the restaurant from 88 Devonport Road is planning to reopen in premises near the hospital, sometime in February or March; the new Sichuan Style is a dead authentic Sichuan - or sometimes Szechuan - restaurant with outlets in Hamilton and Rotorua.

By ‘authentic’ I mean that lucky food lovers with a hankering for tripe, mung bean jelly salad, crunchy pig's ear, chicken gizzards, sliced pig's snout and other delicacies will rejoice.

(As someone who used to drive over to Hamilton just to eat at Sichuan Style I couldn't be chuffeder.)

Okay, on to music. I assume it's pretty obvious from the headline where we're heading this week.


Rosie O'Gradys, the Mount Maunganui bar on the same roundabout as Breakers, The Mount Social Club, Pizza Library and Vaudeville, is closing. There will be a final farewell bash.

The roots of Rosie O'Gradys stretch back into the mists of time.

Or at least the 1990s. It was other places first. It has been respectable at times, disreputable at other times, a hangout for sailors, a venue for bands, a dare for stag parties and a drinking spot that stirs memories in most Tauranga pub-goers of a certain age.

If memory serves - and it increasingly doesn't these days - it started life as the brainchild of Ross Shilling (now to be found at Totara Street) and it was called Crocs. Sort of a pub/nightclub.

It even had a garden bar. Or was that Framptons? In my mind they were one and the same place, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I've strayed into an imaginary past.

Lots of top acts appeared there: Shihad were there; Supergroove were there; every local band played there in the nineties on “Five Bands for Five Bucks” days.

But enough nostalgia.

Saturday, December 7, is your last chance to have a Guinness and experience a live gig at Rosie O'Gradys. And it's free. There will be three bands on that night, two locals and some visitors.

Start time is 7.30pm.

The bands...

Locals The Carradines are a three-piece rock outfit playing originals in the tradition of Motorhead: rocking guitars, solid bass, and high energy punk drumming. Also local are funk/rap/alternative group Tryptofunk who release music prolifically on line (so far four albums and an EP).


Think Chilli Peppers with gangsta rap lyrics and Nate Dogg melodies.

And from Taranaki come Trip Change, delivering tasty organic sounds from soul to funk, rock to reggae. Fun fact: their drummer is the drum tech for Kora and Shihad, Ben Payne.

All the bands have Facebook pages with videos so check them out for yourself. And have fun. Farewell Rosie O'Gradys from me and all the other people who've been carried out of there through the years. It's been emotional.

And, just before I go, let me mention something happening the night before.

Down at The Jam Factory in the Historic Village, acclaimed Australian folk duo The Maes are hitting town. They used to be a trio but downsized in 2018 to include only sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby, who have been touring Australia and the world, playing prestigious events including the Vancouver and Cambridge folk festivals.

The Maes' latest album, self-titled to mark a return to their folk roots, was released earlier this year and was recorded while touring, some songs in Australia, some in Ireland, some in Nova Scotia. You can hear it on their website.

Tickets are $25 from Events Pronto and there will be a support band in the shape of Hamilton duo Looking For Alaska.


      The Carradines.


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