WHERE WE STARTED
Ding Dong Lounge was founded in New York City in 2001 by Bill Nolan, opening on the upper west side of Manhattan and slowly growing a following of talented artists, writers, actors and musicians.
In 2003, Bill Walsh (friend) opened Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne, branding itself with a live gig atmosphere that easily upheld Ding Dong’s rock reputation.
Fast forward to 2013, Auckland was gifted New York’s most celebrated punk rock establishments Ding Dong Lounge, as New Zealand’s home for rock music.
Sadly, both the original New York and Melbourne bars have had their last call and are no longer open, and Auckland is now the last remaining bar left to continue the rich history and legacy of music and friendship.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Through hard work, determination, blood, sweat and tears, the owners and regulars of Ding Dong Lounge have built up the Auckland dive bar to the diverse live music venue it is today. While the bar’s opening saw it functioning without live music, the demand soon increased.
In December 2019, Ding Dong Lounge celebrated the opening of Dead Witch, officially naming the upstairs bar, that has hosted many bands, comedians, jam nights and private functions.
Bands, regulars and the team at Ding Dong had worked furiously to invest in live sound equipment and lighting, providing a space for live original bands from NZ and worldwide to play and a space for punters to experience live music in one of the most intimate little venues.
In 2020 as Covid-19 spread throughout the world, Ding Dong Lounge closed for 19 weeks over the 2 lockdowns. In May and June, Ding Dong was part of the Save Our Venues NZ campaign that saw venues all over New Zealand receive donations from their fans with support from Boosted NZ, NZ Arts Foundation, Music Helps and of course the team involved in Save Our Venues NZ. Ding Dong Lounge raised $20,420.
Personal sacrifices from owner Mat Jorgensen and his family were also a critical factor of keeping the bar open.
In August 2020, the New Zealand Music Commission contributed towards replacing the Live Music PA and upgrading the stage lighting as part of the NZ Music Venue Infrastructure Fund.
In 2021, as New Zealand somehow manages to stay ahead of the rest of the world with the global pandemic, the punters and staff are forever grateful for all the hard work and dedication the community puts in to keeping Auckland’s Rock Dive bar open.