When it comes to finding somewhere decent to drink, us Aucklanders have it pretty damn good. From sunny rooftop terraces to moody basement lounges and everything in between, there's something to suit absolutely every taste—and we haven't even started on the actual drinks yet!
Bear in mind that we've used the term 'bar' kinda loosely when compiling this list, so you may find that we've mentioned pubs, beer gardens and even the odd restaurant. But no matter what the specifics, all of these places have one thing in common: they're a damn fine spot to sink a drink. So cue the good libations, because here are Auckland's 50 best bars. N.B: These are in no particular order, other than alphabetical.
1. 1947 Eatery | For cocktails with a side of smoke and mirrors (and by that, we mean actual smoke).
2. Annabel's | We can't decide what we like more—their on point selection of vino, or their fancypants snacks.
3. Apéro | Fine wine in a cosy, French-style setting? Oui, merci.
4. Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq | The only time drinking and driving is acceptable (we're talking about their bumper cars, silly). P.S. The cocktails are legit ridiculous.
5. Azabu Mission Bay | If you haven't sipped on a gin cocktail in their outdoor courtyard yet, what are you even doing with your life?
6. Bar Céleste | A place to dine, drink AND dance, Bar Céleste is the life of the K' Rd party.
7. Beau | With an epic drinks list and sharing plates to boot, we wish all neighbourhood wine bars were as good as this.
8. Bedford Soda & Liquor | Who knew cocktails and meatballs could be such a killer combo? Special shoutout to the hard shakes.
9. Bellini | The Hilton ain't a bad spot to sink a drink... especially when there's a cocktail list as long as this. For those laying off the booze, they also do a mean mocktail.
10. Boxer | A bar run by chefs was always going to be something pretty spesh...
11. Brewport | This new kid on the block is making a name for itself as Ponsonby's only micro-brewery and beer garden, and we're huge fans.
12. Captain's Bar | Warm the cockles with a glass of rum beside their roaring fireplace (or a cocktail on the terrace, if the weather's behaving).
13. Caretaker | Some of the best bevvies of your life await at this top-secret spot (if you can find it, that is).
14. Clay | If you're into natural wine, there's nowhere better (they have the biggest selection in the country). Soak it all up with a slice of their unbelievable pizza.
15. Clipper | Forget flat whites, these guys do flat white MARTINIS. The novelty factor reaches an all-time high at Christmas (mince pie old fashioned, anyone?).
16. Coops Corner Pub | Where margaritas come in many delicious forms, including frozen and topped with candy. Also the home of tequila ice cream.
17. Deadshot | From the same team that bought us Caretaker, this one's pretty much our dream bar (heck, they even have table service).
18. ELMO'S | Their wine selection is great and all, but how about that cocktail served in a president's head?
19. Everybody's | We'll take an espresso martini on the mezzanine, thanks.
20. Fukoko | Cute, cosy and home to some kick-ass cocktails.
21. Good George North Wharf | GG's most epic outpost yet, this one has all the booze and ALL the views (plus some pretty flash food).
22. Ghost Donkey | For all the mezcal and tequila you can handle. Plus, that twinkling roof really is rather magical.
23. Hallertau Brewery & Restaurant | A day out in the countryside should end in only one place—their gorgeous biergarten.
24. Hallertau Tap Haus K'Rd | Beer by the pint, jug or flagon, soaked up with greasy goodness from their neighbours, Electric Chicken? Hall yeah.
25. Holey Moley | Part bar, part mini golf course—what more do you need to know?
26. Housebar | Hotel bars are always a vibe and this one comes with some serious art deco style.
27. La Zeppa | We can think of worse places to spend the evening than on the rooftop at Victoria Park, particularly when there's dark chocolate negronis involved.
28. Little Creatures | 100% worth the road-trip (because where else can you drink beer in a reclaimed air force hangar?).
29. Liquorette | Turning your drink quite literally on its head with their infamous Cha-Chunker.
30. Little Culprit | An elegant inner-city escape with impeccable food and booze—and a super cool downstairs drinking den.
31. Madame George | We have just two words for you: banana llama.
32. Mexico | More 'bars' than 'bar', you'd be hard pressed to find a better margarita.
33. Ostro | Favoured by us (and the rich and famous), drinking here will make you feel like a million bucks.
34. Our Land Is Alive | For Kiwi-themed food and booze in exactly the kind of setting you'd expect from Auckland's most luxurious hotel (gorgeous!). P.S. The Tamaki Sour is a knockout.
35. Pineapple on Parnell | With its prohibition vibe and piano tunes, this one's a fine find. And just FYI, your sober driver is going to LOVE their mocktails.
36. Reign & Pour | Who knew a 'seaside pouring house' could be so stylish? P.S. These guys do a mean bottomless wine/cheeseboard combo.
37. Rooftop at QT | We love us a rooftop bar, and this is one of the best because there's cocktails on tap AND bites to eat from the incredible Esther.
38. Rosanna's Garden Bar | The closest thing to a night out drinking in Bali (just look for the pink flamingo).
39. Saint Alice | A beer on the terrace is hard to beat (especially when accompanied by their game-changing oyster mcmuffins).
40. Sawmill Brewery | Wash away the long drive with a cold craftie and some excellent pub grub.
41. Saxon + Parole | Bringing us all the best bits of a NYC bar (go the Manhattan). See if you can't find their secret room, complete with a working record player.
42. Scarlett Slimms & Lucky | Creators of show-stopping cocktails. We only wish they'd bring back their Magnumtini.
43. Sly | Hard to find, yes, but that's part of what makes a speakeasy so fun, right? The beer served in brown paper bags is a nice touch.
44. Talulah | A tropical rooftop escape, favoured for its larger-than-life cocktails (the biggest serves up to FOUR people).
45. The Fed | Sink a few popcorn old fashioneds, then soak up all that booze with a plate of the city's best poutine.
46. The Glass Goose | The home of epic themed pop-ups (who else jumped down the rabbit hole at their Spring Blossom Wonderland?).
47. The Jefferson | Auckland's only dedicated whisky bar is a real class act (and pssst, it's actually in a basement).
48. The Parasol & Swing Company | A front-runner for the best cocktail bar in Auckland (their Banana-Miso Sour is nothing short of magical). Plus, the food is on par with any top restaurant.
49. VT Station | If you've ever wondered what it's like to drink a cocktail out of a bong, you're in luck. And if you're off the drinks, their mocktails are legit amazing.
50. Wynyard Pavillion | Dreamy drinks at the water's edge (we recommend the sparkling sangria).
Fancy a spot of dessert? Seek out the sweet stuff at one of Auckland's best places for dessert.
Image credit: Archie Bros by Zennieshia Butts, Park Hyatt, Good George, Little Culprit, Our Land Is Alive and Sly by Wono Kim, Parasol & Swing.