Whether you need a bevvy after making it through the working week (can we get an Amen?!) or searching for a place to catch up with mates, us Aucklanders are always looking for the best spots to get our drink on. If you’re bored of the same ol’ watering holes and back-street boozers in town, sit up straight and pay attention! We may just have what you have been looking for all along.
For a whole, new drinking experience that you will want to remember, check out our list of Auckland bars with a difference!
The Gin Room
Lovers of gin, listen up! If you haven’t visited The Gin Room on Vulcan Lane, what have you being doing?! Decked out like a 1920’s boudoir, this little piece of heaven is everything you could ever wish for. Nab yourself a spot on the plush, red, chaise couch, order in one (or two!) of the incredible gin cocktails and get ready to feel like a film star, as the chandeliers twinkle above.
Aviation is a strong theme here and just a word of warning, stepping into Flight 605 will leave you itching for a vacay. Think vintage suitcases piled to the rafters, real-life airplane seats, old -school, retro plane graphics plastered over the walls and not forgetting a trunk of dress up props for when you’ve had one craft beer too many. With a hidden courtyard out back, this may just end up being your new go-to.
Ponsonby Social Club
The hip ‘burb of Ponsonby is heaving with bars but if it’s drinks, vibes and live music you’re after, make a beeline for Ponsonby Social Club. Known as PSC to its regulars, this bar plays host to some truly epic local and international acts. Their outdoor front courtyard is the place to get amped up before heading to the dance floor for a boogie. Keep an eye on their Facebook for their events.
City Works Depot
Resembling something similar to your older brother’s, cool best mate’s pimped up garage, Brothers Beer is the ultimate hangout destination. With comfy, retro sofas, patterned rugs and vintage toys dotted about the place, the boys at Brothers have certainly created a home away from home. Add in the fact that they continue to produce some of the best tasting beer in New Zealand and your afternoon is pretty much sorted!
Nestled just off Ponsonby Road and resembling something out of a fairytale scene, you’ll find Gypsy Caravan. With it’s beaded curtains, Moroccan rugs, pink paper lanterns and the pièce de résistance; the brightly coloured, painted caravan bar, this place certainly makes for some of the prettiest Insta pics ever. Top it off with some, sweet, sip-worthy cocktails and mouth-watering Middle Eastern-inspired food and you’ve got yourself one hell of a pit stop!
For starters, with a name like XuXu Dumpling Bar, its bound to get our attention. Serving up some of Auckland’s best dumplings—yeah, we said it—XuXu have got us covered from all angles. With their to-die-for drink and dumpling combos, such as the ‘Harajuku Dreaming’ cocktail and fish, chilli and lime dumplings, what else could a person want or need?! With a drink in one hand and chopsticks in the other, you’re sure to be one happy chappy!
Auckland fave, Cassette 9, is the venue behind some of our most treacherous hangovers and frankly, some of our most memorable nights out. With leathery sofas, vintage-style bunting, tassel-laden lampshades and infamous, ‘teapot’ cocktails’, the Mad Hatter certainly wouldn’t look out of place here! Playing host to DJs, bands and live acts, dancing the night away is certainly made better with a booze-filled teapot in hand!
From first glance, you may think that you have taken a wrong turn due to the rusty old paint pots and the fact that the doorway resembles a janitor’s closet, but please do pursue. Turning the handle will lead you into one of Auckland’s newest and possibly, most-secret bars. With vintage knick-knacks, leather couches and dimly-lit space, Caretaker is a complete, one-of-a- kind bar. Specialising in all things ‘cocktail’, allow the bartender to create masterpieces catered to your tastes and preferences. Don’t mind if we do!
Not only does this Auckland bar have awesome views of the harbor, with fabulous drinks and food to boot, it also has one thing that truly sets it apart from the rest. It has a freaking bowling alley! Dr Rudi’s is still one of the new kids on the block, but it has certainly made a name for itself already. Order in the beers, put on your bowling shoes and get ready to knock down some pins as you enjoy some of the best views that the city has to offer!
You may have heard of the popular Ponsonby bars, Harry and George, but did you know that there was a third brother too? Venture to the back of either bar and see for yourself; a lone door with a secret set of stairs that will lead you to Jack. Walking through to Jack will feel like you’ve walked through the Narnia wardrobe; it’s unexpected and full of mystery. With an ever-changing cocktail menu, enough privacy for an over-due catch up and plenty of dark corners, this is one of Ponsonby’s best-kept secrets.
A lift ride, up through Xbase Backpackers, will lead you to a rooftop bar with some of the best views of Auckland and the Sky Tower. Let us introduce you to Hello Sunshine. Immerse yourself in this secret, tropical paradise as you order in the drink specials and perhaps partake in a good, old fashioned game of beer pong. With chairs made from crates, flamingo decor and comfy cushions, this is your weekend drink destination sorted!
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Image credit: Andrew Wilson at Flight 605