Happy hour on high: The best rooftop bars in Auckland

From harbourside havens to the soaring heights of the Sky Tower, take your cocktail evening to a new level at some of the best rooftop bars in Auckland.

  • Author

    Discover Auckland
  • Last updated

    Apr 2024
  • Time to read

    5 mins


Nestled in a prime downtown spot overlooking the harbour from the 16th floor of the SO/ Auckland hotel, the clever folk behind the design of HI-SO rooftop bar had sophistication in mind.

Its cosmopolitan design combines glamour with comfort – those plush leather armchairs were made for sinking into with a martini in hand. It hosts buzzing DJ sessions that carry on late into the night on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as the groovy lighting echoes the rainbow of hues illuminating the city skyline.

Bar Albert

From the lobby of voco Auckland City Centre, take the lift to the 38th floor then pass through the velvet curtains and be welcomed by dizzying floor-to-ceiling views at Bar Albert.

The staff here are full of talent – if you’re in the mood for a classic, tell them what tastes you love and they’ll hit all the right notes. Or simply peruse the signature list, with cocktails inspired by places around the world and showcasing a playful approach to seasonal ingredients.


Perched on the western ridge of the city, Sudima Auckland City’s rooftop bar Sunset enjoys an unimpeded outlook to the horizon, from which epic sunsets serve up a stunning backdrop for your evening.

DJs play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays while guests relax in the lush, 70s-inspired surrounds. Mumbai street eats are the order of the day – the warm hues of the setting sun are matched by warming flavours in dishes like masala waffle fries with parmesan and tomato kasundi, and succulent spiced lamb ribs with mint and coriander chutney.

The drinks list follows through on the warm buzz with options like the tequila, Aperol and vodka concoction Watermelon High. Non-alcoholic options are also available for selected cocktails on the list.

Darling on Drake

The leafy treetops of an inner city park form the background to drinks on the deck at Darling on Drake, tucked away in the historic Victoria Park precinct on the western edge of the city centre. The wine list begs to be explored, and with a top chef Ryan Moore on board you’d be wise to visit with an appetite.

The fare is bold on flavour, balanced with deft lighter touches. Don’t miss the rich, savoury seduction of Wagyu carpaccio, and the supremely juicy and tender chicken leg corn dog.

Dr Rudi’s

Good times are guaranteed at Dr Rudi’s with a winning formula: boats (you’re right on the Viaduct), beer (brewed onsite), and… bowling? Yes! There are even a couple of bowling lanes squeezed into this vibrant space.

If you thought it couldn’t get much better, there’s also pizza by the foot (did someone say prosciutto and duck fat potato pizza?) to add to the merriment. The long list of beers on tap include plenty from both the Dr Rudi’s brewery as well as other top Auckland craft breweries, and the rosé sangria goes down an absolute treat as the sun descends.

The Churchill

The Churchill is one of the city's highest rooftop bars thanks to its 20th-floor setting in the Four Points by Sheraton. It also lays claim to the widest gin collection, with almost 200 varieties making up the list.

If the choice proves too tricky, check out the 10:10:10 list to help make the decision: a shortlist of 10 gins, 10 mixers and 10 botanical profiles to mix and match. Surely Churchill himself would have approved of one of the highlights on the food menu, an elevated take on the classic Scotch egg to match the lofty setting.

Palmer Bar

One of the city’s early high-rises, 1 Albert Street has an eye-catching slimline profile and is home to a hidden gem of a rooftop watering hole, Palmer Bar. Intimate nooks beckon indoors, while the terrace changes from a sun-drenched spot in which to shoot the afternoon breeze to a cosy after-dark haven wrapped around a central firepit.

f you’re feeling peckish, the likes of chicken liver parfait with courgette terrine and beetroot gel will keep the hunger pangs at bay, while larger dishes include the moreish lamb rump with cashew puree, fennel confit and olive. If you time it right, you might also catch a live jazz session. 

SkyBar and The Sugar Club

The city’s emblematic Sky Tower doesn’t have a roof to roost on, but it does boast two sensational spots in which to sink a sundowner up in the clouds. Better yet, both SkyBar and The Sugar Club offer early evening Golden Hour specials to kick off your night with a bang.

At 182m above street level, SkyBar’s Sundown Specials menu includes a range of cocktails at sharp prices, like the Puarangi – tequila, Grand Marnier, lychee, hibiscus and lime with a salted rim – for a tidy $19. It also hosts Sky Tea in the afternoons, serving up a delicious array of savoury and sweet bites (plant-based options are available) with tea, coffee, Champagne and more to wash it down with.

Head up a few floors to Level 53 to take advantage of The Sugar Club’s happy hour between 5pm and 7pm. There are drink specials aplenty and an easy cracker of a deal in the $55 cheeseboard with two glasses of bubbles. With last orders at 6pm you can catch the Golden Hour menu in the opulent restaurant setting, featuring two courses for $79.

Written by Discover Auckland

Last updated 24 Apr 2024

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