New Zealand's largest city is a wonderful place to spend a few days before venturing out to explore the rest of the country. Auckland has so much to offer visitors - volcanoes, museums, beaches, and some of the coolest bars in New Zealand. Here are some of the best places to relax with a drink in the City of Sails.
I have to admit - when I moved to Auckland in 2014, the city didn't seem to have a ton of great food & drink places. Sure, there was a lot to see and do around town, but finding an interesting bar was a challenge, and finding a place open late on a weeknight was nearly impossible. But over the past several years, I've watched the city's bar scene get better and better. Here are six of the best bars in Auckland.
DR RUDI'S ROOFTOP BREWING CO
Level 2, 204 Quay Street, Viaduct
Dr Rudi's may just be the best place in Auckland to grab a beer on a warm, sunny day. It's a bit difficult to find the entrance from the street, but if you go around Danny Doolan's you should see the escalator up. The bar is bright with a wonderful open patio and lots of seating to enjoy the harbour views. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable about their products and best of all, there's free wifi! Oh, and did I mention they also have a bowling alley?
Recommended: Rudi's Tasting Paddle ($20) which offers four 150ml glasses of the bar's very own lager, pilsner, IPA and APA.
THE PARASOL & SWING COMPANY
7/204 Quay Street, Viaduct
Parasol & Swing is located right next door to Dr Rudi's, but feels a bit more cozy and refined. The tropical decor and bright patio make it a fabulous place to sip one of the bar's original cocktails while watching the ships on the harbour.
Recommended: The El Guapo ($20), with its smoky mezcal is a unique take on the margarita. Pair it with a delicious Achiote Pork Taco ($8) for a nice snack.
GOOD LUCK COCONUT
39 Jellicoe Street, Wynyard Quarter
I'm a bit of a sucker for tiki bars, so when the bartender at Parasol & Swing recommended Good Luck Coconut, I had to check it out. And I'm glad I did. This chilled-out bar is a great place to relax with a cold drink after exploring Auckland's lovely harbour. It has fun with its tiki theme, but doesn't take it over-the-top, and the blues and greens of the decor give the place a calming vibe that seems to rub off on the staff - it was busy when I arrived, but the servers were still super friendly and attentive.
Recommended: Jungle Bird ($18), a fruity rum-based drink that tastes just the way summer feels.
2 High Street, Auckland Central
Located inside Auckland's historic Hotel DeBrett, this recently renovated bar brings back the art deco style of the 1950's. A gramophone sits on one end of the bar and dusty books lie piled up beside tables. Sitting in Housebar, you almost expect to be transported Twilight Zone-style back in time.
Recommended: The Espresso Martini ($18) is a classic cocktail which the bartenders here mix together perfectly and feels just right for Housebar's sophisticated atmosphere.
40 Roukai Lane, Britomart
Caretaker is a New York-style cocktail bar that's hidden in plain view in Central Auckland's Britomart district. There are no menus here; instead the bartenders ask questions about what you like and make you a drink they think you'll enjoy. If you don't like it, no worries - just let the bartender know and they'll try again. Though it's not as quiet and refined as Housebar, the dark, intimate atmosphere gives the place an almost seductive vibe.
Recommended: The beauty of this place is that it caters to your own tastes. However, I would be tempted to request the same raspberry Queen Elizabeth on a future visit.
120 Quay Street, Britomart
Talulah is a tiki-themed bar for those that want to still feel like they're in the city. The entrance is located inside The Chamberlain and up the stairs, providing a nice spot to peek out at the street below as you sip a fruity drink from a ceramic tiki mug.
Recommended: The Talulah ($17) is a refreshing tropical cocktail served in a fun tiki mug and garnished with a slice of watermelon.
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