Whether you are on an exciting first date, or trying to impress friends from out of town, this list will help you to find the coolest hidden bars in Auckland city centre.
XuXu Dumpling Bar | Corner Galway St & Commerce St
This popular dumplings and cocktail bar is well known but can often be easy to miss when you're looking for it for the first time. Nestled on the corner of Britomart's Galway and Commerce Streets, Xuxu is one of the city’s gems, a cosy table-service bar with whimsical decor including stained-glass lampshades, bamboo-patterned wallpaper and an intricate turquoise and white wall mosaic. Make the most of their $30 all-you-can-eat dumplings offer taking place every Saturday in November.
La Fuente | Snickel Lane, 23 Customs St E
Located in the quaint and utterly 'gram-worthy Snickel Lane, La Fuente is the first bar in New Zealand to dedicate itself to mezcal, the national spirit of Mexico. The perfect place for an intimate catch up with a friend or two, sip slowly to savour the flavours whilst enjoying La Fuente’s generous selection of traditional Mexican dishes with a twist, such as ceviche and salmon tostaditas.
The Jefferson | Imperial Lane
This tucked away bar down a laneway and flight of stairs strikes the perfect balance between chic and comfort with an impressive collection of over 600 whiskeys or 350+ gins, plus a fantastic cocktail and small bites menu to match.
Tabac | 6 Mills Lane
Established in 1997, Tabac is loved by many, but still considered to be a hidden gem of the Auckland bar scene. Located in a rustic heritage building, Tabac is perfect for after work drinks, a celebratory function or a fun weeknight out with friends with their fantastic weekly comedy night that runs every Tuesday. An intimate bar that isn’t short on atmosphere, Tabac may just become your usual late night spot.
My Bar | 12 Durham St E
My Bar is located on Durham St, and is initially easy to miss. But once you discover it, you will notice that it has a lot to offer. Outdoor seating, a cosy and stylish bar area, and a thoughtful selection of high-quality drinks makes My Bar the next stop on your night out. Enjoy a cheeseboard and a glass of Man O War Pinque Rose.
Sardine | 149 Quay St
Squeezed in right next to White + Wong’s on the viaduct, Sardine lives up to its name as people pack into the small space every night without fail. Delicious custom cocktails are available, along with a generous selection of local wines and beers. If you are feeling peckish, then food from White + Wong’s and Burger Boy is available too.
Caretaker | Roukai Lane
Below the ground level of Roukai Lane hides a cocktail bar of unique charm and cool ambience. Caretaker takes table service to the next level – discuss flavour profiles, favourite spirits and fruits with your bartender and sit back as they prepare you a one-of-a-kind beverage. Reminiscent of speakeasies of the past, this dimly lit bar with beautifully arranged leather seating is cosy in all the right ways.
Little Culprit | 151 Wyndham St
Little Culprit is the ‘mischievous little brother of Culprit’, and situated just over the road from it. Though visible from the street, Little Culprit has a semi-hidden staircase that leads to intimate indoor seating. Their famous grazing platters are filled with deliciousness that will satisfy everyone, from pickled watermelon rind, handmade crackers, and of course cheese and charcuterie. Let the bartenders entertain you with lively conversation whilst they create a magnificent cocktail creation.
Seoul Night | 16 Fort St
Be transported to the neon lights of downtown Seoul on your next night out when you go to Seoul Night. Easy to mistake as simply a vending machine, when you make your way down the stairs you will enter an incredible underground basement. Come with a big group of friends, and share from the extensive menu of crispy pork belly, fried chicken, and bulgogi beef pizza.