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. Rally the crew and check out your local spot below.
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. 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. Settle in and opt for a selection of fresh veggies, succulent meats or their signature gooey mac ‘n’ cheese on offer.
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.
Fantail & Turtle
There's no better place on the Shore to pull up a chair and spend an afternoon with the crew. Whether it's a stunning summers day or a cosy winters evening—Fantail & Turtle have got you covered. Their expansive outdoor area is decked out in fairy lights and a roaring fireplace, an atmosphere that is only enhanced by their mouth-watering pizza selection—book it in.
What's better than hitting up your favourite burger joint in town? Pairing that juicy patty and bun with an Aperol Spritz. With digs in Commercial Bay, Newmarket, Ponsonby and Takapuna, Burger Burger is bringing you the good times all across Auckland. Consider your Friday night sorted.
If you’re after an escape to Europe, while travelling through an intriguing, mesmerising galaxy, all while munching on some top-notch pizza, then stop what you’re doing and take a step down the rabbit hole, to find yourself in the wonderland that is ELMOS Pizza Bar. Boasting a dedicated burrata menu, there's no better place to spend aperitivo hour—which by the way goes down at Elmo's 4:30 pm to 6 pm on the daily.
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 $15 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 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 Vegan menu slinging plant-powered perfection with the likes of faux chicken burgers and vegan poutine up for grabs.
Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant
Pull up a chair in Southern Cross' colourful and enchanting courtyard and we promise you'll be instantly transported to another world where Aperol Spritz's and cheese boards are free-flowing. Expect a plethora of hidden spaces to explore accompanied by a menu of mouth-watering eats for all around the globe—think crispy Korean chicken bites and insane Porterhouse steaks.
Cicio Cacio Osteria
Tucked away in Newtown is a secret little restaurant boasting cosy vibes and Italian speakeasy moments. Meet Cicio Cacio Osteria, the Italian eatery for Wellington locals in the know. A labour of love by chef-owner Giulio Ricatti, expect nothing but the freshest, most flavoursome eats, paired with classic tipples like the Aperol Spritz.
The Arborist Rooftop Bar
Did someone say rooftop bar? Perched seven stories high above the hustle and bustle of our coolest little capital, The Arborist offers an oasis of greenery and scenic views, complemented by a slew of sensational eats on offer. Think big burgers and delicious bar bites, you'll leave wanting more.
Let's be real, nothing beats an Aperol Spritz overlooking the bright orange sun setting across the beautiful shores of Lake Wakatipu. Reds at QT Queenstown serves all of this in spades, a cosy, tastefully decorated place where your Alpine aperitif is complimented with drool-worthy bar snacks and to-die-for vistas.
The brainchild of legendary celebrity chef, Josh Emett, Rātā is one we recommend everyone tries at least once, foodie or not you’ll leave wanting more. The deliciously inventive menu celebrates New Zealand in all its glory, and is the ideal spot to settle in after a day on the slopes.
The restaurant takes inspiration from Chinese and Malaysian street food. No visit to Madam Woo is complete without trying a hawker roll—a crisp and buttery roti topped with one of four fillings. There’s always room for a drink or two, and you can't go past their moreish desserts like crispy fried banana served with ginger ice cream. Yes, please.
Eichardt’s Bar has been a Queenstown institution since it opened in 1867. With a warm, inviting atmosphere, it’s an excellent spot to begin your evening. The space is decidedly elegant with its comfortable sofas and a roaring fireplace, making it the ultimate winter destination.
No5 Church Lane
Make your way to No5 Church Lane for an evening of après-ski you'll never forget. Boasting top-notch service, locally-sourced ingredients and delicious New Zealand cuisine, the moody restaurant provides the perfect setting to unwind after a long day tackling the adventures of the South.
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.
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.
Kaiser Brew Garden
For a Bavarian-inspired evening, consider Kaiser Brew Garden your go-to in the garden city. They're slinging relaxing digs and a moreish menu made up of bar bites like pork belly and fried cauliflower, as well as a dedicated German-inspired pizza menu. We're eyeing up the 'Flammkuchen' featuring crème fraiche, caramelised onion jam, NZ free farmed pork belly and fresh thyme—drool.
Image Credit: Urban List x Aperol Spritz at Harbourside, Botswana Butchery and Dirty Laundry.