It can be hard in the winter months to make that extra effort on date night – we can all be guilty of defaulting to staying in on the couch with a takeaway and a streaming service! But on nights when you do feel like doing something special or a bit different, we've got a great range of ideas to fill your date night.
Begin your evening with a drink
Sip on a winter warmer in Captain's Bar | 99 Halsey St
Nestled inside the impressive Park Hyatt Hotel is Captain's Bar, a cosy wood panelled bar complete with a roaring fire. Escape the cold winter night with your date and make yourself comfortable inside the bar, where there are some special winter warmers on offer. Why not order the smoked hot chocolate, complete with tequila, Fernet Branca, and a smoked milk foam. Or the spiced wine, with spiced pinot noir, compare, Crème de Mûre and orange foam. There are also delicious nibbles on offer too, like baked brie and panko crumbed halloumi fries.
Visit one of the city centre's newest bar, Palmer Bar | 1 Albert Street
Palmer Bar is the city centre's newest spot for your afternoon tipple, and they've got a cocktail list that is hard to beat. Grab a seat by the fire pit on the patio, or get cosy in one of the booths inside before scanning the cocktail list... it might be a struggle to make a decision! For something different, we suggest the Kiwi Coffee made with brown butter Thompson manuka whisky, coffee liqueur, cold brew and gingernut cream, or the Rosie's (pictured above) made with 1919 classic gin, Earthbound manuka honey, grapefruit, lime and bitters. Match our drinks with a couple of share plates, the wood-fired leeks with raisin, hazelnuts and smoked tofu cream is a must!
Indulge in the cheese and wine flight at Housebar | 2 High Street
The signature cheese and wine flight at HouseBar inside Hotel DeBrett offers people a taste of award-winning local cheeses lovingly paired with a selection of hand picked New Zealand tipples. It's $35 for three cheeses and three glasses of red or white wine - a bargain - and is sure to get the conversation started on what your favourites are. Try this activity for something different on your next date night and enjoy it by candlelight under the glass roofed soaring atrium.
Enjoy a meal together
Try the Tokusen menu at MASU by Nic Watt | 90 Federal St
MASU is an internationally acclaimed restaurant by Nic Watt, specialising in a robata style of cooking over an open charcoal grill. A very special option at Masu is the Tokusen menu, which showcases the finest ingredients available and allows the diner to experience MASU to the fullest. The tasting menu is $145 per person, with the option to add on a beverage match - check out the menu here.
Try something new with dinner at Ghost Street | Basement Floor, 27 Galway Street
You won't regret planning a dinner date to check out Ghost Street. This restaurant reimagines the heady hole-in-the-wall eateries that run along Beijing's famous food street of the same name. Try flavoursome dishes perfect for sharing and great cocktails inspired by the herbs and spices famous in Chinese food. How does a Sichuan Pepper Negroni or a Lychee Martini sound? They also have a unique way of placing orders - check it out for yourself!
Grab a bite to eat and soak up the intimate atmosphere at Tanuki's Cave | 319B Queen Street
Travel downstairs to Tanuki's Cave and enjoy their extensive selection of Yakitori and Kushiage alongside a Japanese beer or chilled sake. The intimate atmosphere is perfect for a cosy winter date night. The Classic Comedy and Bar is right next door if you're not ready to head home post-dinner.
Chill out and enjoy dinner at Mezze Bar | 9 Durham Street East
For a casual, unpretentious eating and drinking experience, you'll want to head to Mezze Bar, serving simple tasty morsels through to full meals. This cosy spot is an oasis from the buzzing city and a great place to chill out, chat and enjoy delicious food!
Treat yourselves to dessert
Order some late-night treats at Miann | 57 Fort St
Miann is a go-to dessert spot for many locals in the city. Their sweet treats are made in house directly, and their chocolate is sourced from their chocolate factory located in Morningside. A perfect way to end a date night is with something sweet, and Miann is the answer. Order off the menu or choose from the delectable treats in the cabinet - from lemon meringue tarts to mouth-watering chocolate delicacies.
Try a creative ice cream from Giapo | 5 Chancery Square
Ice cream may not be the first dessert that springs to mind in the colder months, but you may not want to write this one off just yet. Giapo's creations are possibly some of the best ice creams in the world and they taste even more delicious than they look. Think flavours such as banana bread & caramelised peanuts, caramel hazelnut praline amarett and coconut choc cookies to name a few!
Do something fun
Check out all that's on at the Elemental AKL Hub | 291-297 Queen Street
With so much to see, this awesome pop-up will make your date night! From 14 July, Aotea Square will be filled with food, music, art installations and a line-up that includes ice skating drag queens, feel-good DJs, cyberpunk felines, a mushroom forest and more! For an extra special experience, cosy up in a 'Snug' for the most Instagram-able dining experience in town.
Go skating at the Aotea Square Ice Rink | 291-297 Queen St
A winter favourite for so many in the heart of the city is the ice-skating pop-up rink in Aotea Square. Bundle up and have a blast skating around the rink with your partner hand in hand. It only comes around once a year, so don't hesitate to make a trip to the square and get your ice skates on!
Show off your talents with a Sculpt & Sip session | Wynyard Pavilion
Embrace some competitive fun and challenge your date to an evening of crafting. In this fun pottery workshop with a twist, you'll make your own clay sculpture, add decorative elements and personalised touches - all with your hands! The expert claymakers will introduce you to the basic clay hand-building techniques and decorating methods.