Familiar. Comforting. Delicious. All words that would accurately describe Franc’s Bar + Diner. This unassumingly cool and casual venue oversees Takapuna’s vibrant beach from the fun side of The Strand’s Main Beach complex. It is a beach-goer favourite for week day lunches, weekend brunches and late night eats with a full menu available until 11pm, Thursday to Saturday.
“I wanted it to feel like you’re going out but coming home at the same time,” says Steve Shute, owner of Franc’s Bar + Diner, “like a suburban Kiwi family bach, somewhere close to the beach you can escape to on your downtime.” The décor has a stripped back charm to it, functional without seeming bare but effortlessly comfortable all the same.
The outdoor picnic tables are well loved and reflect the popularity of sitting in the sun with a strawberry + lime frozé after some perfectly poached eggs benedict. Inside leaves you very much in holiday mode in front of the full length glass windows, nestled under the umbrella chandeliers busily discussing nothing much over some cold beers and hot poutine.
The food doesn’t stop there though, with the menu covering a diverse range of tastes and flavours to suit each and every beach goer. The brisket burger explodes in your mouth thanks to the swiss cheese, pickled onion and Kokako BBQ sauce turning up the volume on the 12hour slow roasted brisket, finishing clean with the cut of fresh gherkin. Or try their specialty quinoa salad, packed full of raw and cooked vege, ricotta cheese, seeds, nuts and miso dressing that’s perfect for a late night bite and punches well above its weight on both energy and nutrition.
But it’s when lazy days transition to moonlit nights that Franc’s really comes in to its own. The change in lighting shrinks the space, still keeping it beautifully lit while making it more intimate and cosy. The 90’s hip hop and R’nB drives the evening along, rewinding the clock a couple of decades to when everything just felt easier, accentuated by the very tasty adults-only milkshakes straight from a stainless steel boston shaker that leaves you feeling like a naughty teenager, enjoying a drop right under Mum and Dad’s nose.
And like any good holiday home, there’s always something on at Franc’s that gathers a crowd. Bitchin Bingo, the pub night that’s taken Auckland by storm is finally available to the Takapuna masses each month. Franc’s offer a new take on open mic nights starting one Wednesday a month in the new year, hosted by Opensouls frontman, Bjorn Peterson. But if you want to make it a weekly thing, Hipstermatics and Sorceress’ lead, Isaac Aesili, brings together a mashup of funk and soul every Saturday over summer from 3pm.
When you can’t get out of Auckland, get down to Franc’s Bar + Diner on Takapuna’s The Strand this summer, because even though you’re going out, it still feels like you’re coming home.