New Zealand’s most populous city, Auckland has plenty of top watering holes to please the masses. But when you’re visiting the City of Sails, knowing the best places for a pint, a wine or a whisky is essential. Here are 7 Auckland bars you shouldn’t miss.
It’s been a while since we were last in Auckland, and things have certainly changed. Of course the two beautiful harbours and striking coastline that surround the city are still as picturesque as ever, but the social scene here seems to have come a long way.
Bars, restaurants, clubs and cafés line the busy streets, and even in winter, there seems to be a feeling in the air of eagerness to have fun.
As we explore the streets, alleyways and waterfront of downtown Auckland, we can’t help but pop our heads round the doors of old favourites and test out a few bars we haven’t seen before.
7 Auckland bars you can’t miss
1. Brew on Quay
Just the other side of the road from the harbour, Brew on Quay is a busy, warm, fun bar full of nautical charm and excellent beer.
Finding a table can be tricky, especially on a Friday or Saturday, but in a good way. The atmosphere here is lively and friendly, and worth the wait if you don’t have a seat immediately.
Food offerings at the Brew on Quay look very enticing. The burgers in particular are large and tasty looking. If only we hadn’t had so much lunch!
102 Quay Street
2. Vultures’ Lane
A fun little bar in one of the coolest spots in the city, Vultures’ Lane is right in the heart of it. In the middle of Vulcan Lane, which is packed with cafés, bars and little eateries, this bar is the wood for the trees.
Find it, score a seat outside under the heaters and enjoy watching the to-ings and fro-ings of the Auckland nightlife while you sip on one (or two) of the excellent beers these guys stock.
10 Vulcan Lane
3. The Jefferson
Tucked about as away as you can get off the street, The Jefferson is a dark, moody and very cool little whisky bar.
Its extensive whisky menu above the bar is almost as full as the shelves below it. Rows upon rows of excellent drams will confuse you to the point where you’ll just want to order one of each to avoid FOMO.
Instead, ask the superb bar staff for help. They’ll point you in the exact direction of your new favourite whisky. Don’t forget, NZ makes whisky too – so why not try some here. They’ve got quite a few.
Imperial Building, Fort Lane
4. The Brit nee Northern Steamship
Once known as the Steamship – this institution on the waterfront is now The Brit. This cool new bar has shrugged off the old-world feel of its predecessor with a clean, open design.
The slight nautical nod to bygone days of sailors and seadogs keeps The Brit in line with its proximity to the harbour, but this shiny new gastro-pub is more of a modern meeting place than a shanty shack.
Kick back here over a few tinnies and watch the night evolve.
122 Quay Street Britomart
5. Shucker Brothers
Perhaps not an all-out bar, but this place serves some of the best oysters we’ve tried. A dozen finest along with a glass of sparkling and views out over the harbour and Queens Wharf, and you’re talking a prime spot for indulging.
There are outdoor seating options, but if you can score a spot at the window looking out, you’ve got the best of all worlds. The view, the warmth and the proximity to the bar to order more.
Auckland Ferry Building
6. Charlie Farley’s
Ok, this isn’t in Auckland per se, but on Weiheke Island just off the coast of the city. If you’re visiting Auckland, I presume you’ll want to visit this beautiful place, so here’s where to go!
Take the bus from the wharf all the way to the end and hop off at Onetangi. Light and airy, Charlie Farley’s is the perfect beachy bar with high ceilings, great views of the water, and most importantly great food and beer.
Order the double wagyu cheeseburger for a life-changing lunch!
21 The Strand, Onetangi, Waiheke
7. The one that got away
There’s always somewhere you discover after you’ve left a place. Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewery is just that.
We’re always on the lookout for rooftop bars, so we’re gutted to have missed Rudi’s. Overlooking one of the marinas of the Viaduct Basin and just round the corner from Princes Wharf, Dr Rudi’s promises a cool vibe, great cocktails and – as its name suggests – even its own brewery. Next time.
Level 2, 204 Quay St, Viaduct Harbour
We should also mention the wineries we missed out on when we went to Waiheke Island. It was raining so hard the day we were there the bus flooded. By that, I mean the bus started taking on water!
Next time we’re in town, hopefully we’ll able to explore the many vineyards and sample some of the finest wines in the country.
If you enjoyed this story, you should check out some of our others on New Zealand:
Do you have a favourite Auckland watering hole? Have you ever been on a bus that wanted to be a submarine? Tell us in the comments!