The bridging meal between eggs benny and steak with spuds, lunch is the absolute best—simply because everything is fair game. Never have the words ‘that’s an odd choice’ been uttered about a lunchbox. Literally, never. It is this very fact that sparked the concept of a boozy lunch, making it socially acceptable to drink a martini with a salad.
On our intrepid search for the best places to host a boozy lunch in Auckland, we’ve struck upon a few crucial criteria for potential candidates:
Must serve lunch (duh);
Must serve booze (double duh);
Must stay open until at least early evening.
And with this in mind, we’ve created a beloved roadmap of the best places to get a boozy lunch in Auckland.
It’s the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega of boozy lunch spots. Yep, we’re talking about that old classic and fave, Prego, which has been feeding and watering Aucklanders since 1986. The Italian restaurant can always be relied upon for a busy lunchtime buzz (people-watching is an absolute must) with delicious food and staff who can remember your face—and sometimes your name—as they treat you like a guest in their home. Don’t fret if that lunch turns into dinner, this team is used to people settling in for the long haul.
The Glass Goose
Relative newcomer The Glass Goose is nestled just off Federal St and up some stairs, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating and a menu made to share. Whether it’s bite-sized dishes such as crumbed pork belly in mulled wine or something larger such as pan roasted market fish with smoked kumara and fresh greens, this menu hits the spot. If you eat indoors, chances are, that as the sun begins to set, you’ll be keen to head outside where all the suits have gathered to unwind after their hectic day and embrace the pub-like feel.
Soul Bar and Bistro
Scottish-born Chris Law is now at the helm of Soul Bar and Bistro—on every Aucklanders’ top spots—and is perfect for when you’re desperate to impress that client or media maven. Ask for a seat outside to make the most of the salt air and décor and enjoy the food on offer—you won’t be disappointed. In the evening, the bar starts to get busy, and you’ll be transported from day to night with ease.
Harbourside Ocean Bar & Grill
Get the best of all worlds at Harbourside—the view, the food and the service is second to none, and a great spot to enjoy a boozy lunch. Go from table to couch, by enjoying their classical-inspired menu at a table before heading out onto the extensive deck for a relaxing way to unwind—that meal surely took it out of you. When your stomach starts to rumble towards the end of the day, keep it happy with with some snacks from the bar.
Yet another Ponsonby fave, SPQR has been keeping working lunchers alive and well in Auckland since 1992—they even have a dedicated ‘long lunch’ menu…these peeps are after our own hearts, indeed. Park that derriere on one of the long outdoor tables and soak in the sunshine as the fabulous staff look after your culinary needs as day turns to night.
Don’t be put off those stools, because with the food and wine as good as it is at Depot, it’s easy to get comfortable and settle in for some serious hours. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable about what’s on offer, and the fact that you can choose from their shared menu—ordering a stream of food rather than it all arriving at once—means that one hour can turn into the next. Night would have descended before you know it. Always busy and always with a great vibe, Depot easily makes the list of places to enjoy a long lunch in Auckland.
Revamped and better than ever, The Cav is one spot where a long lunch is almost inevitable. There’s plenty of room inside, but sitting in the warm sunlight on the deck while tucking into their gastro pub food, it’s as if time has stood still and the harsh reality of adulting has disappeared. Relax. Enjoy. The world has returned to its axis.
What is it about ocean views and long lunches? They pretty much go hand in hand. Head to the second floor of Tyler Street’s Seafarers Building to Ostro which, under Michelin-starred chef Josh Emmett’s capable hands, serves up fresh dishes as well as a large raw bar with seafood right off the boat. Need we say more? Probably not, but there is a lot more. On the other side is the more casual City Terrace Bar, with sea views and an awesome vibe come wine o’clock—even if yours was hours earlier.
Euro Bar and Restaurant
After a recent revamp and now under MKR judge Gareth Stewart, no list of where to enjoy a boozy lunch in Auckland would be complete without mentioning Euro. This modern classic dishes up local seafood with delicious flavours and its comfy chairs, lovely staff and great atmosphere means it’s only logical that you’d settle in for hours.
Last but certainly not least, a great spot for a long and boozy lunch is La Zeppa at Victoria Park. It has great indoor/outdoor flow, colourful lanterns and sweeping views of Auckland and the food is made for sharing with that all-important client. When evening falls, the vibe picks up and you’ll happily stay until the wee hours.
Want more? Here are 30 Bars You Should Have Been To If You Live In Auckland.
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