Story: Nightclubs

A drink or two, 1959

A drink or two, 1959

The liquor laws of the 1950s so annoyed club and restaurant owners that they became the subject of satire. A spoof on New Zealand dining habits, first put on at the Sapphire Room (shown here), a cabaret on the top floor of Otto Groen's Auckland restaurant The Gourmet, was successful enough to tour nationally. A number of authors, among them playwright Bruce Mason, wrote the show, which included a police raid on a restaurant. The Gourmet was raided many times and Groen convicted four times for breaking licensing laws.

Chris Bourke from AudioCulture tells us that the two performers in the image are George Campbell, double bass, and musical comedian Barry Lineham. With Lew Campbell's Sapphire Trio - George's brother - Lineham released an EP called Knights at the Gourmet, on Pye in the early 1960s. The tracks were 'Come to New Zealand', 'Wellington Express', 'Autumn Leaves' and 'The Lady is a Tramp'.

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Courtesy of the Otto Groen estate

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How to cite this page:

Redmer Yska, 'Nightclubs - Loosening up, 1950s and 1960s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 August 2022)

Story by Redmer Yska, published 5 Sep 2013