Among the hustle and bustle of Auckland and its surrounding ‘burbs, we tend to forget about the world of hidden treasures that reside down the alleyways and laneways of our spectacular city. Boasting an abundance of buzzing bars, boutiques and eateries, even locals can stumble across a hidden gem from time to time.
Off the beaten track, take the time to get lost, explore and discover everything that you didn’t know existed. From high-end stores to beyond delicious eateries and everything in between, grab a map, grab a compass and get ready to leave no stone unturned!
Residing off Custom Street and away from prying eyes lies Fort Lane. Home to some of central Auckland’s best drinking spots and eateries you won’t find this place packed with tourists (thank goodness!) As if we didn’t need another excuse to drink whiskey, The Jefferson have only gone and given us one! Down this Auckland alleyway, this mysterious and secretive joint continues to serve up the best whiskey selection, ever. Fort Lane’s also the location of Cassia, one of the best restaurants in Auckland.
A lane within a lane—you can’t get more hidden than that! Located in Fort Lane is the newest kid on the block, Snickel Lane. With the ultimate chill vibes, this lane is ideal to lay back and relax with friends while having a quality cuppa jo at Altezano Brothers or have a fun Spanish feast at Madriz. Snickel Lane is an interactive space with tons of eateries surrounding the shared courtyard! It actually resembles the urban and trendy laneways on the streets of Melbourne and Aucklanders have been treated to the same social experience.
With big, bold lettering stating ‘The Brickworks’, finding this New Lynn laneway isn’t the hardest thing ever we must admit, however, it’s certainly worth a wander. Boasting a huge renovation and a stellar selection of eateries, The Brickworks might just become your new date night destination. Wandering through the fairy light-lit, brick-walled laneway, prepare to be overcome with the tough decision of where to dine first. With the likes of Bodrum Kitchen, Cleaver & Co and Shaky Isles cooking up a storm, your ‘what do you want to eat?’ debacles have only just begun!
Off Ponsonby Road & Richmond Road
Located down a small cobbled alleyway are some of Ponsonby’s best kept secrets. Wander down and discover a lantern-lit, rug-adorned Mediterranean bar and restaurant by the name of Gypsy Caravan. Situated opposite is the mad for meat Miss Moonshines, which you would never guess, sell all things fit for a carnivore. And, along the way is Pintu, solving all your salad-y needs!
Off York St
Newmarket is one of Auckland’s most happening ‘burbs, let’s face it. With a whole host of eateries, shopping opps and much, much more, visitors can easily get caught up in the central hub and everything that it has to offer. But, take a turn off York Street and get set to discover a whole new level of Newmarket awesomeness. Don your stretchy pants for a day of dining at Best Ugly Bagels and Burger Burger, bring your purse and prepare to splurge at I Love Ugly and treat yo’self at Dry & Tea. There really is something round every turn!
If you’re in the city, chances are you might just find yourself trawling Queen Street for all things food, drink and shopping. Wander off the main street instead and prepare to be in for a central Auckland treat. Vulcan Lane is home to some of the best eateries and drinking spots this side of town—fact. Nestled between trees and high rise buildings are the likes of Vulcan Lane Bagels and Better Burger who continue to serve up all the deliciousness on the reg. After a stiff drink? Head over to Occidental Belgian Beer Cafe and Cassette Nine to sort out those cravings and to get you in that Fri-yay mood!
The dimly-lit cobbled alleyway off Elliott Street may look a little out of place in Auckland CBD, but we can’t stress enough, you must go there! Tucked away down this little laneway is Elliott Stables, home to a quaint and European-style common area, surrounded by independent eateries and drinking spots. Perfect for that mid-week lunch, date night or just a solo, delicious feed, expect to find pizza, sushi and Mediterranean grub and that’s only for starters, peeps! Everything else awaits your hungry bellies and inquisitive minds!
Stumbling across Chancery Square, you may think you’ve discovered an inner-city village in the heart of Auckland CBD and guess what, you pretty much have! Situated between the green of Albert Park and the hustle and bustle of Auckland CBD is Chancery Square. Eat, drink and shop your way around this often forgotten about slice of the city. Grab a bite to eat from the likes of Chancery Bistro and Old Fort, pamper yourself at The L Nail & Beauty and finish your arvo off shopping up a storm at Adrienne Winklemenn! With so much to see and do, we may have just found your new fave go-to!
Tucked away on Queen Street, you’d be surprised at what this little lane has in store for us. With boutique clothing shops and hair salons, what really makes this lane special is the Victorian ambience! What looks like used to be an apartment complex, the Strand Arcade’s architecture is timeless and intricate and looks great on the gram. This lane is also where you’ll find The Raw Kitchen and treat yourself to a moreish caramel slice, you wouldn’t believe that it’s refined sugar free. Right opposite The Raw Kitchen is The Classic Bake House where they do some of the best Chinese baked goods and do all sorts of magic with red bean and taro paste.
Image Credit: Marilynn McLachlan at Snickel Lane