There's arguably no better city than Auckland to have a drink a few floors up. Surrounded by all that sparkling blue harbour, there are plenty of stunning water views – as anyone visiting Sunset will see.

Find the bar and restaurant on the 10th – and highest – floor of Sudima’s Auckland City hotel. On the corner of Wellesley and Nelson streets in the CBD, it has spectacular views out over the water and Wynyard Quarter in one direction, and out to the Waitākere Ranges in the other.

And yes, you can literally watch the sun set over the Waitematā Harbour from your stripey chair or sofa, as you sip a cocktail and share some small plates.

The cocktail menu includes clever flavour combinations such as Arquitecto tequila blanco, cherry blossom salt and East Imperial grapefruit soda – a play on the famous Paloma. There are also a couple of fun options on tap, including the Sunset Spritz (aperitivo blend, apricot, sparkling rosé) which would make for easy drinking on a hot Auckland day.

Sunset was designed by Auckland and Sydney-based studio CTRL Space. . There are obvious nods to the ’70s in the curved ceilings and banquettes of the 132-seater space, and its pastel hues also give a whiff of the ’80s. Clever use of timber, tiles and stone keeps things classy and contemporary – retro highlights done right. Before the sun goes down on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, you’ll find everyone vying for those outdoor views with a seat on the terrace. Large overhead heaters mean this is possible even in winter, but the other interior spaces shouldn’t be overlooked.

The larger seating area to the left of the bar (looking out over city streets rather than water) has a luxe retro-glam feel, with large brown leather sofas, curved velvet single-seaters and oversized rice-paper lampshades hanging from the ceiling.

Food is snacky, largely based on perennial bar favourites like fried chicken, sliders, koftas and waffle fries. But in everything, there’s evidence of executive chef Harmeet Singh Nanda’s Mumbai roots – the waffle fries come with a smattering of masala spice and tomato kasundi, the fried chicken with a curried mustard dipping sauce. Lamb skewers are garnished with coriander, and there are pappadums for dipping in whipped avocado, green chilli and pomegranate salsa.

There are only two meat-based sharing plates; the rest are vegan or vegetarian – not surprising given the popularity of the hotel’s meatless restaurant East, also helmed by Singh Nanda, on the ground floor.

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Updated: August 26th, 2022

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