Summer in Auckland brings not only sweltering heatwaves but the tendency to want to throw back a cocktail or two. Now that the sun is out, you’d think that us JAFA’s have nothing more to complain about…wrong! We went from willing the chill of winter to end to complaining that “it’s toooo hot!” So, this time we’ve put together a list of bars to hide away in so that there’s no more melting make-up and squinty sun-in-our-eyes expressions. These are the bars that are cool, calm and collected and just what we need to escape the heat this summer.
There’s a reason why this New York-style cocktail bar has a place on our list for dark bars to escape the heat this summer. Caretaker is hidden away in Britomart—you’ll find it down a dimly-lit staircase and through what looks like a janitor’s door. Here, you will find plenty of dark corners to hide away from the sun and the cocktail list is pretty damn impressive, too! Or, if there’s nothing on the list that quite tickles your fancy then you’re in luck, because custom-made cocktails are their specialty. Just pull up a seat at the bar and let the mixologists whip you up something special. It’s a win-win sitch, really.
Whammy And Wine Cellar
Whammy and Wine Cellar are probably the King and Queen of dark bars. K’ Rd is where you’ll find this double “whammy” duo, who are home to an eclectic mix of people and live music almost every night of the week. With a grunge-chić, dive-bar feel, Whammy and Wine Cellar are the perfect places to meet some interesting folk and rock out to some super cool music. With an ever-changing roster of Kiwi and international bands, you might just discover your new fave and cool down at the same time!
Taking it downtown to Fort Lane is where you’ll find The Jefferson—Auckland’s premium whiskey bar. This 1920’s-styled bar is visually pleasing with bright cobalt blue couches and an edgy, industrial feel. Not only is The Jefferson a fantastic retreat from the sun, it also has more than 500 types of whiskey on offer. Now how bout’ that!? Sticky ribs are another specialty of this dark bar and so with whiskey, ribs AND an escape from the sun… what more could you want?
Another dark bar to add to our list is the 1885 Basement bar, another gem amongst the Britomart district. Hidden away downstairs from the main bar of 1885 is the basement bar. Here, you will find plush leather sofas and an aesthetic reminiscent of your rich, grandmother’s house from the ‘70s. Think crystal glassware and a retro tiled bar, with the best of the best bartenders, serving up equally luxurious cocktails. 1885 basement bar is the perfect excuse to hide away from the heat and indulge in a cocktail or three.
Think exposed concrete and brick walls, wood and leather furnishings and a charming, rustic vibe and you’ve got Racket Bar, another on our list of dark bars to escape the heat. This oasis from the sun is hidden away down an alleyway in Britomart. Rum, cocktails and cigars are this bar’s specialty and, if you love live music, then this is the place to be. They’ve got live bands and DJ’s playing six nights a week. So, for an epic night of dancing and drinks, look no further than Racket, the self-proclaimed ‘most expensive fire hazard in Auckland.
Bringing the vibe of Vegas to Ponsonby, Win-Win offers a sanctuary from the bright summer days. Step inside its doors and you’ll find murals by local legend Ross Lewis and portraits of the odd and uncelebrated. Here, cocktails are where it’s at. With mixologist mastermind Bence Harangozo working his magic behind the bar, you’ll find some of the best cocktails in our fair city!
The Gin Room
For all things luxurious and gin tasting, head to The Gin Room to escape the heat this summer. Situated on the first floor of one of Auckland’s oldest buildings—The Queens Ferry Hotel, The Gin Room is where you want to be for a gin cocktail list that could put any other bar to shame. This 1920’s-style cocktail lounge is adorned with red velvet curtains, dark wooden furnishings and dimly-lit tables made for sharing an intimate drink or two. So, if you’re wanting to indulge in the finer things in life and be transported to another century, we suggest you give this little wonder a visit.
Pineapple On Parnell
Hidden away behind a single brass pineapple doorknocker, is Pineapple on Parnell— Auckland’s exclusive, ‘80s-inspired cocktail lounge. It’s the definition of sophistication! Pineapple on Parnell is another top pick of ours for bars to escape the heat this summer. Not only do they have a cocktail list fit for royalty but if you pop on down on the right night, you might just find the pianist throwing down some tunes on the ivory keys.
If you find yourself on K’ Road one day and you need to get away from the sweltering heat, then head on down to the K’ Road Food Workshop and out the back you’ll find Lovebucket, a perfect little oasis away from the sun. Lovebucket is renowned for their gin cocktails on tap and a pretty epic back bar, filled with pretty much every spirit imaginable… well, all the good one’s anyway. It’s dimly lit and has a cool 70’s vibe and did we mention it has gin cocktails on tap? Yup, that’s a thing and they’re pretty damn awesome!
Our final pick for dark bars to escape the heat is Grand Central, Ponsonby Road’s most unpretentious live music bar! Named after the iconic Grand Central Station in New York, this is the place to go for live music EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT! If you’re in the mood to bust out the chops, they’ve got an open night mic on Monday or, if you’re just down for some chill vibes and a bit of a boogie, then pop on down any other day and hide away from the sun.
Image Credit: The Jefferson