Auckland life can be thirsty work. Thankfully, when it comes to all things bar and booze-related, Auckland sure is a gift that keeps on giving. From rooftop terraces to lavish lounges and everything in between, our city is dotted with places to unwind in style or party until the sun comes up.
Sip your way through this round up of the best bars in Auckland, and let the good times roll.
Sly K Road
Hidden behind an unassuming doorway lies K Road’s coolest new joint, Sly. Prepare to take some time to find the actual door, but when you do, you’ll be ushered into a dimly-lit space just oozing with character. Pull up to the solid mahogany bar and ask the experienced mixologist for your favourite cocktail. Beers will be served shrouded in a paper bag, prohibition-style, while your cocktail will make its way to your chosen pew in an evocative Italian crystal glass. The spirits served here are all top notch too, bourbon, gin, whiskey, absinthe (depending how your night is going), and a rather tasty gin liqueur are just a few examples of what’s here for the tasting, so go on, elevate your night out in style.
Indulging in good vibes, great company and, of course, delicious drinks is made easy at 46&York. A popular watering hole among the Parnell locals and passers-by, this casual yet chic spot spoils for choice with its premium range of wine, beers and cocktails. In the sunny seasons, their outdoor area and small courtyard provide the perfect place to polish off your sangria jugs. Come cooler months, you can cosy up in style around their fireplace and indulge in a glass of mulled wine or two.
The Glass Goose
A favourite spot among inner city revellers and after-work drinkers alike, the Glass Goose is undoubtedly one of the best bars in Auckland. Perch yourself on this rooftop bar and you’ll be treated to views of the Sky Tower overhead, as well as the bustle of the city streets below. Swing by at the right time, and there’s a chance you’ll catch one of their uber-cool, themed pop ups.
This Ponsonby gem is the answer to every Vodka lover’s prayers. Here you’ll find an impressive selection of this iconic Russian drop—as well as a ‘press for vodka’ button to summon them from. Vodka Room also boasts two themed karaoke rooms, a Russian-inspired food menu and some seriously plush décor to enjoy it all in.
The Parasol & Swing Company
An absolute paradise awaits inner-city adventurers in the form of Parasol and Swing. Venturing up a flight of stairs just off the viaduct promenade will have you transported into this tropically rustic wonderland, complete with eclectic and exotic artefacts and a canopy of bright parasols overhead. The dreaminess of this Auckland bar doesn’t stop there, however. The rooftop terrace boasts unreal views across the harbour, and the impressive cocktail list features some of the best and (and most beautiful) blends in Auckland.
Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co.
There’s a lot to love about local legend Dr. Rudi’s. Two bowling alleys, an on-site brewery, and killer views across the harbour make it a no-brainer that this hotspot is one of the very best bars in Auckland. With their house-brewed beer and kombucha on tap, as well as a bunch of other yummy drops, it’s impossible to go home thirsty or bored from this buzzing bar.
Speaking of bars with fun gizmos and gadgets, we sure do owe Holey Moley a spot on this list of the best bars in Auckland. This part-mini-golf, part-bar playground of fun is a welcome addition to Auckland Viaduct’s bar scene. With 27 themed holes and cocktails named Sugar Caddy, Putta Colada, and Waiheke Island Iced Tea to help you putt through, expect your visit here to be a whole lot of fun.
Scarlett Slimms & Lucky
A crowd favourite among the locals, there’s a lot to love about this Mt Eden bar. Unwind in their sun-filled, street front courtyard as you sip your way through Scarlett Slimms & Lucky's impressive gin & tonic and beer lists. There’s also a sweet selection of mouth-watering platters and bar bites to indulge in. Of course, no visit to Scarlett is complete without treating yourself to their show-stopping–and highly Instagrammable—Bloody Mary cocktail.
Suburban gem Citizen Park is your answer to a stellar night out in Auckland’s Kingsland. Behind a barred iron fence and under a canopy of festive lights lies this courtyard of all things fun and fabulous. Here you’ll be able to sip away at everything from their boozy slushies and cocktail jugs, right through to a good ol’ pint.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland’s CBD, you’ll find a hidden whiskey wonderland known as The J. With row after row of glistening, golden bottles of whiskey lining their bar shelves (we’re talking more than 600 different kinds) as well as a full classic bar, this place is a must visit for whiskey lovers or for those wanting to acquaint themselves with the drink.
For a bar that’s got it all, look no further than Longroom. Casual-chic café by day, popping bar by night, this Ponsonby hotspot is a local favourite for good reason. With a menu packed full of delicious drinks and bar bites, Longroom is the perfect place to hit up for after-work drinks, big nights on the town and Sunday sessions. Keep an eye out for their happy hour deals too—drinks and deals too delicious to resist await you.
In the heart of the CBD you’ll find The Churchill, New Zealand’s highest rooftop bar. Found atop the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, the inner-city gem exudes elegance and superb quality rivalled only by some of the world's best. The expertly crafted fit out is home to a jaw-dropping range of 170 international gins, with a little something for everyone.
One of the best bars in Auckland, and certainly the most lavish of them all, is Bellini. Poised at the point of Princes’ Wharf at the head of the Hilton hotel, this bar’s fully windowed wall reveals magnificent views of the harbour. A visit here will treat you to live music on Friday and Saturday nights, exquisite beers and wines and the most extensive cocktail list to ever exist. What’s better? Their mixologists host onsite cocktail classes so you can recreate the magic of this bar at home.
From the owners of Ponsonby favourite Hoppers comes ELMOS. Specialising in elevated pizza and excellent drinks they are more than worthy of a spot on our list. The drinks list is rammed with a variety of NZ and European wines and killer cocktail list. Opt for the Yellow Limoncello Spritz and be transported to the Gulf of Naples or if you’re after something a little different the Who Shot The President won’t disappoint. Served in a dribbling President Tiki cup, this boozy number is a rum-filled beverage that you could sip on all night long.
New kid on the block Saint Alice is another jewel in Auckland’s bar and nightlife crown. Perched three floors up above the waterfront, this chic yet casual bar will treat you to a drinks list full of local beer, wine, bubbles as well as some snazzy signature cocktails. Pair these lovely tipples with their fresh seafood dishes and their dazzling harbour views and both you (and your belly) are in for a heavenly time.
From the team behind Caretaker, Deadshot is one of Auckland's best-kept secrets. Tucked away on Ponsonby Road, it boasts a dark and moody atmosphere with Edwardian furnishings. With more than 1recipespies and an expert team of bartenders you're sure to discover your next favourite cocktail creation. Undoubtedly enchanting, Deadshot is a must-visit.
Fancy a spot of dessert? Seek out the sweet stuff at one of Auckland's best places for dessert.
Image credit: Jaiden Bhaga, Andrew Wilson, Lauren Matilda Matthews, Wono Kim