The Underpass concept was developed by branding specialist String Theory, in collaboration with Jason Dempsey from Flathead design (we covered one of their previous collaborations here), who lead the design and construction.
They stripped the space back to its shell, raising the roof and adding steel and concrete, referencing the space’s former lives as a mechanics workshop and a Council car park. Four 3.5 tonne concrete culverts double as private booths to one side of the bar which feature American Oak top steel tables and an American Oak top bar.
The outdoor deck area features a range of steel tables and macrocarpa blocks with a concrete canopy, creating an urban feel.
Music is crucial to the Underpass. A Martin Audio system drowns out Downtown’s gridlock traffic when live acts and DJs entertain the late night crowd. The space is acoustically dynamic with perforated pegboard and perforated steel sheets which allow absorption of sound into acoustic baffling.
“We wanted to do something different, something no-one else has done in Auckland,” says Richard McCabe, director of Showcase, the hospitality group that owns Underpass. “After their award-winning work on 16Tun, it was a no-brainer to turn to String Theory and Jason Dempsey.”