Shakespeare Hotel

61 Albert Street And Wyndham Street, Auckland

  • Shakespeare Hotel.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • Shakespeare Hotel.
    Copyright: Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Ingolfson. Date: 1/12/2007.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 654 Date Entered 26th November 1981


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Allot 1 Sec 18 City of Auckland (CT NA93D/490), North Auckland Land District and the building known as the Shakespeare Hotel thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the upgrade report for further information).

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Pt Allot 1 Sec 18 City of Auckland (CT NA93D/490), North Auckland Land District


The Shakespeare Hotel is a notable example of late-Victorian urban corner pub architecture. Located on the Hobson Street ridge, it has close connections with Auckland's Haymarket, where rural produce was brought in to trade from the surrounding countryside.

Some time before the founding of Auckland in 1840, a settlement known as Nga Wharau a Tako was situated towards the northern end of the ridge, one of several nearby locations associated with Maori activity. Following colonial arrival, the site occupied by the Shakespeare Hotel was part of a Crown Grant made to settler David White in 1842. The corner lot changed hands several times before being purchased by Mary Foley in 1897. Foley's purchase occurred in the same year that Buckland's Haymarket constructed new premises on an opposing corner of Albert and Wyndham Streets. Consisting of auction rooms and sales yards, the Haymarket brought in substantial custom from the surrounding countryside and was an important place where town and country met.

Erected in 1898, the Shakespeare Hotel was built following the demolition of earlier timber buildings on the site. Mary Foley's husband Thomas was well-connected, being a nephew to Sir John O'Shanassy (1818-1883), the second Premier of Victoria and a papal knight recognised for his services to Catholic education. The new premises, an imposing brick structure of three and a half storeys, were erected towards the end of a hotel construction boom that followed more stringent requirements introduced under the Liquor Licensing Act 1881. Like most hotels built in central Auckland during this period, the building presented ornately-detailed facades to two streets and was more akin to a retail premises than older public houses.

The building's Italianate design was by Edward Mahoney and Sons, an architectural practice well known for many of Auckland hotels, churches and business houses. The building contractor was J.J. Holland (1893-6), although the interior woodwork was by W. Fairweather who had unsuccessfully tendered for the construction contract. Of impressive visual appearance, the hotel's pale brick facades incorporated bandings of red brick imported from Melbourne. Dormer pediments lighting attic bedrooms formed an unusual feature of the design.

In addition to a corner entrance to the public bar, there was an entrance on Wyndham Street and one on Albert Street, the latter enabling guests to reach their accommodation without contact with bar patrons. Internally, the basement contained a kitchen, cellar, laundry and storerooms. On the ground floor were an office, commercial room, and a single circular bar serving the general assembly-room, front bar and private bar. A dining room and drawing-rooms were located on the second floor. Bedroom accommodation occupied the two upper floors.

The hotel formally opened on 2 July 1898 and was leased to major Auckland brewers Campbell and Ehrenfried who were keen to ensure security of beer supply in a competitive market. Foley retired from the Shakespeare Hotel in 1900, although Mary retained ownership until 1912. Eleven years later the public bar was enlarged and the hallway modified. In 1926 John Hook bought the property which remained in his family's ownership for five decades. The Hooks ran the hotel in conjunction with Dominion Breweries (1930), New Zealand's second largest brewery.

The hotel's traditional mainstay, the Haymarket, relocated in 1927. However, the premises were situated opposite the New Zealand Herald offices and presses on Albert Street, and thrived as one of central Auckland's printers' pubs. Following the repeal of six o'clock closing in 1967, the hotel was granted a tavern licence. The circular public bar was removed to reduce the number of counters and allow more seating. Lavatory facilities were provided for women and a bottle sales outlet was provided.

In 1986 the Shakespeare Hotel became New Zealand's first brewpub. The former cellar was converted into a restaurant and the first floor became a lounge bar. Patrons included staff from the new District Court erected on the former Haymarket site. Maintaining a long association with journalists, the hotel became the home of the Auckland Media Club. In 2005 surviving bedrooms were renovated as boutique-style accommodation. The Shakespeare Hotel continues in operation as New Zealand's oldest contemporary brewpub.

The Shakespeare Hotel has aesthetic significance as an ornately-detailed Victorian urban corner pub and is a familiar feature of Auckland's Hobson Street ridge. It has architectural significance for its Italianate design and as a work by the prominent Auckland architectural practice Edward Mahoney and Sons. The building has architectural significance as an increasingly rare example of a late-Victorian corner hotel. It has historical value for its associations with the Haymarket and for reflecting a century of change in liquor licensing and the hospitality industry. As one of the city's well-known printers' pubs, the Shakespeare Hotel has social significance for its strong association with Auckland's news media and as a longstanding place of drinking and social interaction.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Mahoney, Edward

Edward Mahoney (1824-1895)

Edward Mahoney emigrated from Cork, Ireland with his wife Margaret and three children. The Mahoneys arrived in Auckland in 1856 where Edward set up as a building and timber merchant. In 1876 he established the architectural practice that later became Edward Mahoney & Sons, which for over thirty years designed and supervised construction of many Catholic buildings as well as churches for other denominations.

The Church of St John the Baptist, Parnell (1861) and St Mary's Convent Chapel (1866) are two of the earliest surviving ecclesiastical buildings designed by Edward Mahoney and reflect the gradual evolution from simple Gothic Revival structures to more ambitious and creative use of the Gothic form such as may be seen in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Khyber Pass (1881); and St Patrick's Cathedral, the latter completed in 1901.

Edward Mahoney was a founding member of the Auckland Institute of Architects, attending the first meeting in December 1880 where he was appointed honorary treasurer. He became president of the Institute in 1883. His sons Thomas (1855?-1923) and Robert (1862-1895) joined him in practice in 1876 and the early 1880s respectively.

Upon Edward's retirement in 1885, Thomas and Robert carried on the practice. After Robert's death in 1895, Thomas changed the firm's name to E. Mahoney & Son. The Mahoneys designed a wide variety of buildings including the Auckland Customhouse, hotels, commercial buildings and houses, their best-known surviving domestic buildings being the Pah, at Hillsborough (1877) and the Dilworth Terrace Houses, Parnell (1899). Their ecclesiastical buildings included St Mary's Church of the Assumption, Onehunga (1888) and St Benedict's Church, Newton (1888).

The firm of Edward Mahoney & Son continued to practice for a short period after Thomas Mahoney’s death in 1923, but was eventually dissolved in 1926.

Source: NZHPT Registration Report for Bank of New Zealand (Former), Devonport (Register no. 4511).

Holland, James (J. J.)

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Pre-construction: Single storey timber buildings

Demolished - additional building on site
1897 -
Demolished - Redevelopment: Single-storey timber buildings removed from site

Original Construction
1898 -
Construction: Four-storey brick hotel with basement

1914 -
Damage by fire

1923 -
Internal alterations to enlarge public bar, partition walls removed, part of hall incorporated into bar (ground floor)

Polychromatic brickwork painted (exterior)

1941 -
Additional toilet installed

1952 -
Toilets upgraded (ground floor); kitchen installed (first floor); wash hand basins installed in guest rooms (second floor); bathroom facilities upgraded (second floor and attic); smoke stop doors and fire escapes installed

1968 -
Public bar counter replaced, additional seating, women's toilet, bottle store installed

1985 - 1986
Microbrewery installed; restaurant installed (basement); first floor converted to lounge bar and toilets

1999 -
Cantilevered terrace (first floor)

2004 -
Second floor and attic redeveloped for boutique guest accommodation

Completion Date

25th June 2009

Report Written By

Joan McKenzie

Information Sources

Auckland Public Libraries

Auckland Public Libraries

Auckland Scrapbook, August 1967- p.90; December 1967- p.67

Auckland Star

Auckland Star

18 April 1936, p.17

Auckland Weekly News

Auckland Weekly News

15 January 1898, p.7

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

DI 1A.186, R59.319; CT NA 93D/490; CT NA87/164; DP 1870

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald, 12 July 1932, p. 6; 28 September 1933, p. 6.

17 March 1914, p.6; 27 November 1987, Sec. 6; 15 September 1993, Sec. 2 p.11; 21 November 2005,



2 July 1898, p.16

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Environments, property file 61 Albert Street (General)

New Zealand Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic Review & Licensed Victuallers'

New Zealand Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic Review & Licensed Victuallers' Gazette

26 August 1897, p.12; 21 April 1898, p.16; 9 August 1900, p.8; 13 December 1900, p.19

Other Information

A fully reference report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.