Best Bars in Auckland

Updated 6 months ago


Picture this. An out-of-town friend is coming to Auckland for one night only. You want to show them a real good time – something typically “Auckland”. Maybe it's a waterfront pub with sun-catching tables, a cosy cocktail lounge where you lose track of time, or a rooftop bar where you can see the whole city stretching around you. New Zealand's largest city has all this and much more. Let's hope your friend doesn't have an early flight.

  • Is it 6pm or 2am? Enter this dark and cosy bar to lose track of time and enjoy some of Auckland’s finest cocktails.

  • Find a substantial selection of Japanese whisky, sake and beer, plus snacky dishes such as gyoza and bao buns at this late-night Karangahape Road bar.

  • A village gem in Mount Albert, this neighbourhood favourite has a sun-trapping courtyard and a tasty snack menu, plus an off-licence for takeaway booze.

  • This neighbourhood wine bar does double duty as a daytime coffee and sandwich spot, with excellent small plates and an interesting wine selection at night.

  • Inspired by the vibrant and jolly neo-bistros of Paris, this date-ready wine bar is worth visiting for the food alone. Its seasonal shared plates are simple yet full-flavoured – think whole flounder with brown butter and sourdough with anchovies and burrata.

  • Enjoy punchy Peruvian flavours at this fun and lively bar and restaurant. It serves great cocktails and the food is a drawcard all of its own.

  • Come for the sun-trapping courtyard and polished yet comfortable pub vibes. Stay for the excellent food.

  • This unpretentious neighbourhood bar is charming and relaxed, a welcoming go-to for a lowkey drink.

  • Culprit’s jazzy little brother across the street is just as sophisticated but comes in a smaller package. Graze on local seafood or late-night fries in the moody lounge, or linger in the grand dispensary and watch the bartender stir your miso Old Fashioned.

  • Marked by a nondescript door in an Auckland CBD laneway, this downstairs cocktail lounge is known for its for excellent, custom-mixed drinks, live music and relaxed, cosy vibe.

  • This multifaceted bar, restaurant, club and events space will just as happily host you for a dance as it will a chill drink and pizza.

  • Fancy a cocktail with a view? Find the best of both at this waterfront bar.

  • Find Spanish sharing plates and topnotch cocktails at this Karangahape Road mainstay with a lively yet intimate atmosphere.

  • This relaxed, pared-back venue on Pitt Street is a good stop-off point for a weekday coffee or a drink on the weekend.

  • Head to the curved outdoor terrace for a drink and bite surrounded by downtown Auckland’s skyscrapers, or slide into a comfortable rounded booth at this Acme & Co-designed bar and restaurant.

  • This tucked-away backbar is accessed through Karangahape Road’s Candela, with a sheltered balcony that’s great for both late-night cocktails and weekend events.

  • 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 rooftop bar Sunset will see.

  • At this textural, elevated Ponsonby tavern, the focus is on high-quality bespoke cocktails, organic wine and craft beer. Order from an indulgent bar menu and soak up some sun in the hidden rear courtyard.

  • It’s dark, grungy and intimate. Welcome to Whammy, the best dive bar Auckland.

  • Head downstairs through a nondescript door and be enveloped in the warm reddish glow of this underground bar and restaurant, which has a Filipino-inspired menu and inventive cocktails.

  • This cosy, brick-walled 40-seater is known for its fuss-free yet flavourful French-influenced sharing plates and excellent wine list.

  • Indian street food and craft beer are an excellent combination, as proven by this cocooning and characterful Karangahape Road bar.

  • This cosy, classic pub has an on-site brewery and a sun-catching beer garden out the back.

  • The pirate-themed bar with one of the best waterfront views in town; pull up to Swashies on a sunny day and you’ll see why it’s such a favourite.

  • It's all about service – and excellent, experimental drinks – at this incognito O’Connell Street cocktail lounge. The team's creations will have you reconsidering the term "batch made".