The Lula Inn

Nestled in the heart of Auckland's Viaduct, The Lula Inn offers something a little different, with their top notch pacific-inspired menu served up alongside a veritable feast of musical talent, including live bands and hot local and international DJs. OneMusic caught up with The Lula Inn's Jamie Freeman to see what all the fuss is about.

When did The Lula Inn open?

The Lula Inn opened in May 2017. We worked with an external agency to ensure we launched what was a fairly unique concept to Auckland in regards to the style of the new fit out, far and wide across Auckland. It was a fun time for all involved!

What is your favourite part of running The Lula Inn?

From day one our ambition was to launch an establishment which was talked about across Auckland and pushed ourselves to think outside the box with who we wanted to become. From our Live at Lula’s entertainment, brunch occasions or pop up events, to some just for fun promotions, entertainment or menu items, we are constantly challenging ourselves to do just that.

What are the main challenges in running such a humming business in the heart of the city?

There are always the day to day challenges of operating a hospitality business, especially in a high footfall area such as the viaduct. The key to success is being organised, knowing when the next cruise ship is coming in or major Auckland event happening, planning ahead is key to ensuring issues are minimised as much as possible.

How did you curate such a diverse and innovative menu and what inspires your style of food and drink?

Our menu is inspired by our location in the South Pacific; fresh, local and made with love. Our Head Chef pulls inspiration from both New Zealand and our island neighbours, with dishes such as our Taro Crisps, or Leigh Fish Kokoda. Showcasing fresh seafood on our menu is important to us, alongside the always favourite much-loved nostalgic kiwi classics like our Chicken Schnitzel or Lamb dishes. We also happen to have an amazing pizza oven which is hard to stay away from.

You feature live music in a number of formats with DJs and Live bands on Saturday nights, and upcoming recent Sunday Sessions through NZ Music Month. Do you think live music attracts people you wouldn’t usually reach?

Since launching The Lula Inn, a huge focus has been put on growing our live entertainment piece ‘Live at Lula’s.’ A year into this journey it is great to see people of all ages and interests joining us across multiple occasions and music genres, whether it be watching a dancefloor begin during Sunday brunch playlist, or entertaining our guests into the wee hours at night. We are constantly excited by the feedback we get on the entertainment we offer, and definitely have a loyal crowd who come for the music, be it day or night.

Who has been your favourite performer hosted by The Lula Inn so far?

We have been so lucky to work with so many amazing performers, many who have graced our stage almost weekly for the past year, alongside some amazing one-off acts. Seeing our regular customers join us for our resident bands and DJs has been a highlight as we have watched these evenings grow and these entertainers become part of our family which we are incredibly grateful for. Recent one-off ticketed events such as Set Mo allowed us to introduce a new audience to Lula’s, which we will continue to grow. It is however fair to say our recent NZ Music Month Sunday events were a real highlight; seeing the likes of Jason Kerrison or Che Fu’s loyal fans, both young and old join us for such a good time on a Sunday afternoon was amazing.

What are your three go-to artists or albums to play at The Lula Inn during service?

This is a difficult question to answer, we strive to bring things back to our roots with a love for kiwi artists and the world class music scene we have right here at home and how the easy going but upbeat vibe of the likes of Fat Freddys, Black Seeds etc fits in with our own brand so well with the vibe its brings. We’re all about fun and tunes that people recognise sometimes with a twist, from all era’s modern as well as classics.

Who are 3 kiwi artists/bands that you are excited to see more from this coming year?

We pride ourselves on supporting our own NZ talent so will continue to do so, we are also looking at some international acts so make sure you follow The Lula Inn on Instagram along with facebook to see further announcements, rest assured these will be big names and really experienced driven.

You can find The Lula in online at www.lulas.co.nz, and in the flesh at 149 Quay Street, Auckland Central.