Ah, aperitivo hour, a magical space in time dedicated to sipping, snacking and chatting with your mates. You can thank the Italians for this genius invention, and get in on the action by ordering up a bright and bittersweet Aperol Spritz. Yes, we’re talking about the authentic, refreshing orange aperitivo best enjoyed on a lazy late afternoon with friends—cheeseboard mandatory of course.
To help you get into the spirit, we’re rounding up the best New Zealand has to offer. From your classic vibrant tipple to Aperol Spritz Bowls (yes, they exist), here’s all the bars and deals you should be hitting up around the country. Rally the crew and check out your local spot below.
When you’re gazing at stunning waterfront views, there’s no food more appropriate than fresh, sensational seafood and an Aperol Spritz to match. Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill offer delicate fish, grilled crayfish, juicy prawns and moreish mussels, making it the perfect summer sundowner spot. And until January 13, you can score two Aperol Spritz Bowls plus a tasting plate for just $40—winning.
Transport yourself to Italy with a sip and bite from one of Auckland’s favourite Italian eateries, Cotto. Situated in bustling K' Road, this top-quality handmade pasta pop-up delivers some of the best Italian dishes in town. The menu boasts the likes of fresh ravioli, gnocchi, tortellini, fluffy focaccia and more. What’s more, you can score a $10 Aperol Spritz every day until 6 pm. Buon appetito!
Stop by K’ Road newcomer, Bar Céleste, for good vibes and afternoon drinks all around. Brought to you by the dynamic duo behind La Pêche pop-ups, Céleste’s French-inspired cuisine is sure to stir your tastebuds with memorable, elegant flavours and fresh, seasonal produce.
Located in Quay Street's historic Ferry Building, Botswana Butchery opens right out onto Auckland’s harbour, making it the ideal watering hole for an afternoon Aperol Spritz. Until January 13, you can score two Aperol Spritz Bowls plus a tasting plate for $40, or opt for a selection of fresh veggies, succulent meats or their signature gooey mac ‘n’ cheese on offer.
46 & York
Also bringing a taste of Italy to Parnell is 46 & York. This beautiful spot is known for its extensive wine list, exceptional shared plates, fabulous cocktails and refreshing Aperol Spritz. Get around their deals with a glass of aperitivo for just $14, or two glasses plus a pimped out cheeseboard for $44.
Non Solo Pizza
It seems only fitting that Non Solo Pizza, one of Auckland’s best Italian restaurants, is also bringing the thirst-quenching orange goodness to diners. Their tipples are best enjoyed with one of the restaurant’s signature wood-fired pizza in the sun-drenched courtyard. Be sure to save room for dessert because the tiramisu is not to be missed.
Dirty Laundry is an eclectic bar and eatery serving up nothing but good times on Quay Street. Situated in downtown Auckland, get among the hustle and bustle with a succulent selection of American-inspired bites like lobster rolls or BBQ pork ribs—drool. They’re also serving up the Aperol Spritz Bowl deal until January, so rally the crew and get on it stat.
Nestled away in Riverbank Lane, you’ll stumble upon bar-slash-eatery Mr. Pickles. The Hamilton fave perfects the tricky balance of sophisticated yet easy-going vibes—it’s fancy but not too fancy. With $12 Aperol Spritz on offer and a drool-worthy charcuterie and share-plate menu to choose from, it’s a winner all around.
Sapper Moore-Jones Place
Asian-fusion and cocktails, it’s a perfect pairing really. Bright, refreshing sips of Aperol Spritz (just only $13 during Happy Hour) balance the bold, exotic flavours you’ll find the team cooking up at Madam Woo. The Malaysian-inspired menu boasts foodie favourites like nasi lemak and laksa or their infamous hawker rolls with sticky pork and pickled cucumber. It’s a resounding yes from us.
Sun-soaked days in the windy city are best spent lounging in the vibrant courtyard at POP, a Wellington favourite serving you smashing drinks all year long. Pair your glass with a selection of small plates from their American-inspired menu by Wilson Barbecue—think melted mac ‘n’ cheese bites, smoked brisket and slow-cooked ribs.
New kid on the block 1154 has quickly become a go-to spot for Wellington locals and visitors alike. Overlooking bustling Cuba street, it’s a choice place to sip away on an Italian drink and big ol’ bowl of handmade dough. From pappardelle to fettuccini to tortellini, you really can’t go wrong.
Scopa is a Cuba Street institution—cosy and classic, it’s the perfect place for comfort food and a classy aperitivo while you’re at it. Sink your drink alongside freshly made pasta, flavourful pizza and tasty tiramisu.
Located in Queenstown’s historic Archer’s Cottage, Botswana Butchery offers stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountain ranges beyond. Unwind in the adventure capital with two Aperol Spritz Bowls and a delicious cheeseboard for $40—get in fast, it’s only going until January 13.
Nest Bar & Kitchen
If you're after chilled vibes and stunning views, our pick for a cosy aperitivo hour goes to Nest Bar & Kitchen. Pull up a chair on their expansive outdoor deck Lake Wakatipu and the stunning mountain ranges beyond, order up your favourite sip alongside a selection of share-plates and consider your evening sorted.
Cute, cosy and serving pizza, Miss Lucy’s is everything you could want (and more) in a bar. Offering outdoor seating adorned with fairy lights, authentic woodfired pizza, calzones and $12 Aperol Spritz for days, this is the ideal place to kick-start a night out in the adventure capital.
The best afternoons are spent smashing juicy burgers with your crew. Level up your regular hangout thanks to our mates over at Burger Burger—they are slinging your favourite orange tipple alongside their epic menu including the McFly burger featuring fried chicken, bacon, swiss cheese, mayo, cos lettuce and BBQ sauce.
Get cultured at Universo, an elegant and contemporary bar housed in the Christchurch Art Gallery. Pull up a chair on their light-filled atrium or sun-soaked terrace and while the evening away with sips and snacks. Better yet, they’re popping-up with a dedicated Aperol Spritz bar this summer, so make your way there quick-smart.
O.G.B. & Parlour
O.G.B. is a classy establishment is housed inside one of Christchurch’s few heritage buildings, Old Government House (hence the name). The speakeasy-style bar overlooks Cathedral Square with a charming outdoor courtyard, perfect for sun-soaked afternoons catching up with friends.
Image Credit: Urban List x Aperol Spritz at Harbourside, Botswana Butchery and Dirty Laundry.