Cheers to the best bars in Auckland

From wine tastings and local craft beers to creative cocktails and tasty tapas, our list of the best bars in Auckland has something for every taste.

  • Author

    Discover Auckland
  • Last updated

    May 2024
  • Time to read

    7 mins

Above: The Nightcar brings the flavours north of the Yangtze River to Auckland.

Want to uncover the best bars across Auckland? Whether it’s wine, beer or a cocktail that gets you going, every place on this list is sure to win you over.

Wonderful wine bars

Bare Wine in Grey Lynn is a true hidden gem. 

Tucked down a driveway in a Ponsonby backstreet, Bare Wine is a true hidden gem when it comes to Auckland wine bars. It’s run by a pair of French guys with a passion for interesting, low-intervention, natural and organic wines. They will introduce you to new favourites over relaxed banter, and you can enjoy tastings, glasses, whole bottles, and buy wine to take home.

The guys also operate a Lyonnaise-style kitchen from the cellar serving up seriously tasty fare – don’t miss the house-made pickles and the quenelle, a kind of fish soufflĂ© that has top chefs popping in here on nights off.

Flor is another great spot for wine and lesser-known wine varietals. Take a pew in the cute narrow dining area up the front or retreat to the chilled courtyard out back, and peruse the small-plate menu too (if you can figure out the secret formula for the coating on their spicy fried octopus, you’re winning!).

Annabel's on Ponsonby Road is a laid-back local haunt with a row of tables for two inside, and larger tables out front where the late afternoon people-watching is excellent. Friday nights find a jovial atmosphere at Freida Margolis in Grey Lynn, and if you’re lucky some talented soul might jump on the piano. The only wine bar right on the waterfront, Somm is renowned for weeknight happy hours and envious views.

Buzzy atmosphere

Neon-lit Lucky 8 boasts vibes and value. 

The jolly crowd at modern Peruvian bar and dining room Madame George is one of a handful of Auckland bars that spill out onto the pavement of vibrant Karangahape Road come evening.

The pisco sour, made with premium pisco imported directly from Peru, should not be ignored. But you’ll also want to explore the rest of the cocktail list – how does a spicy margarita sound? It bears a warming heat, made with tequila infused with Peruvian rocoto chilli.

Deciding to stay on for dinner is always a good idea. Roll with the MG Choice tasting menu with drinks pairing – it’s interesting, delicious and great value.

Up a staircase on Ponsonby Road, the neon-lit, brick-walled Lucky 8 is home to Asian-inspired tapas and drinks at phenomenal value – most menu items clock in at $8.88 a pop.

Cocktail hour


Huami makes some of the most Instagrammable cocktails in Auckland.

Handy to everything in the SkyCity complex on Federal Street, Huami is renowned for its excellent Cantonese cuisine, and the bar here makes some of the most Instagrammable cocktails in town. Selecting premium spirits and liqueurs from around New Zealand and the world, Huami’s bar staff integrate Chinese touches in a playful and delicious way. If capturing the perfect pic is your jam, order the Flox-tail, a lovely rum, grapefruit and peach number topped off with artwork by local artist Flox.

With Sid Sahrawat (one of the city’s most lauded chefs) behind the operation, the cocktail offering at KOL stays up with global trends, often incorporating Indian accents and theatrical presentations. Batched cocktails can be an excellent option for those seeking sustainable, sophisticated sips, and Panacea does them brilliantly.

Hidden gems


Britomart’s Caretaker nails classic cocktails like no other.

Bar Magda isn’t likely to be stumbled upon accidentally. It’s tucked away behind bustling Karangahape Road at 25b Cross Street – look for the black door with wooden trim.

Descend the staircase into a red-lit haven of hospitality, where the bar showcases a host of wines from Aotearoa and beyond, alongside cocktails crafted to match the modern Filipino flavours on the menu.

Tucked in the basement level of a heritage building on Fort Lane, The Nightcar serves up inventive cocktails with an enticing Northern Chinese small plates menu.

Britomart’s Caretaker nails classic cocktails like no other – let staff make something to match your preferences and see how they perform. Head there on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday between 9-11pm to catch their resident jazz band, The Junglebirds.

Sky Tower sips


At 182m, SkyBar is the city's highest bar. 

At the other end of the altitude spectrum, the Sky Tower offers two fabulous bars in which to gulp in unimpeded views across Auckland.

SkyBar is the city’s most elevated offering at 182m, its collection of cocktails is impressive, and there’s music and DJs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to boost the atmosphere.

Or relax into the luxurious 53rd-floor digs at The Sugar Club, where signature cocktails evoke the moods inspired by the ever-changing view beyond the glass.

Dinner and drinks

Helmed by renowned chef Ben Bayly, Ahi serves New Zealand cuisine alongside premium cocktails. 

Fancy a liquid insight into New Zealand alongside a memorable meal? Head to Ahi in Commercial Bay. Helmed by renowned chef Ben Bayly in collaboration with other hospo greats.

The cocktail line-up is the work of one of the city’s hottest mixologists, Egor Petrov. Explore the ‘Local Libations’ list to get a taste of premium local spirits and ingredients – go hyper-local and opt for an Old Fashioned made with West Auckland’s award-winning Thomson Two Tone Whisky.

For anyone seeking sophisticated non-alcoholic options, Egor is making a range of wild Sodas from local herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruit from Ahi’s own garden in South Auckland. He likes to refer to his sodas as “non-alcoholic botanical wines”, served in a wine glass so guests can experience the full aromatic experience.

Best brews

Small Gods Taproom, formerly known as The Fridge & Flagon, in Eden Terrace.

The city has a healthy craft beer scene and there are lots of bars that represent a diverse range of breweries on tap. Join the after work crowd at Vulture’s Lane, or nab a spot by the fire at Ponsonby’s Revelry, where the rotating tap selection happy hour is every day from 4pm until 7pm. If you stay past happy hour, you'll find yourself in a hub for Auckland nightlife.

Weekend-only city-fringe spots draw a loyal crowd. Kingsland's Saint Leonards has a large on-site brewery and jolly beer garden.

Small Gods Taproom, formerly known as The Fridge & Flagon, in Eden Terrace, boasts the city’s most comprehensive and eclectic array of crafty numbers to suit all tastes – pick what you like from the fridges and pay a little extra to enjoy it on site.

For cosy pub feels plus craft beer credentials, head to Galbraith’s Alehouse in Grafton. Housed in a handsome old library, this brew pub has an extensive garden and the best sausages and mash in town, which pairs perfectly with the dark beer-focused selections on tap.

Rooftop bars

HI-SO rooftop bar is among Auckland's best.

Auckland is home to an eclectic mix of rooftop bars, There are so many to choose from that briefly talking about them here simply won't do them justice, so check out our dedicated article The Best Rooftop Bars In Auckland.

Written by Discover Auckland

Last updated 29 May 2024

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