Located on the banks of the Waikato River in the North Island, Hamilton is the most populated inland city in New Zealand. With its recent economic growth, Hamilton has attracted a younger population that helped build the city’s newly vibrant bar scene. We list the top 10 bars to try, whether you fancy a cheeky tipple or a tasty night time snack.
The Helm Bar & Kitchen
Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, European, Oceanian, Gluten-free, $$$
The Helm Bar & Kitchen combines a contemporary style with minimalist design, making for a stylish experience whether drinking with friends or spending time with your family. If you’re looking for a relaxing evening, you may not want to go during any big rugby matches though. The Helm Bar is a hotspot for watching sport matches, while drinking a wide-range of international draught beers. Sundays have a family feel as the Bar has live music on the patio and sells pizzas for just NZ$5.
Bar, Restaurant, Irish, European, British, Pub Grub
In classic Irish fashion, the managers of Biddy Mulligans ensure that a good time is always had by all at their bar. From Wednesday’s quiz night to Friday’s chase the ace, Biddy Mulligans hosts a wide variety of events that cater to different guests’ ideas of a great night out. The bustling bar also has a dance floor for jiving to one of the many live bands that play here. And no matter what day it is, you’ll always find customers enjoying the taste of Guinness.
This might just be the premier stop off for those in need for a bit of a cocktail fix. It’s been around for a while now, and in the years it has operated, it’s refreshing to be able to say that the quality has never wavered. If you find the cocktails slipping down a touch too easily then bolster the tum with some of the blue cheese wontons. They’re divine. It’s also open until 3am, making Wonder Horse a potential last port of call when the party mood really takes you.
Good George serves some great beers. Along with numerous unique drinks such as the Dorris Plum Cider, Good George Brewery’s balanced selection caters to all tastes, including various American Pale Ales, I.P.A.s, spring pilsners, and ciders. You may have an issue deciding which new beer to try, but you can solve that problem by just ordering the sampler.
The Londoner is Hamilton’s premier English pub, residing in a glorious Victorian-inspired building. The dimly lit rooms with wood-panelled walls give the bar a homely feel, which makes sense since the bar prepares its English food in home-cooked manner. The bar serves premium English ales along with some of New Zealand’s finest craft beers. And with some of the cheapest pints and funniest quiz nights around, The Londoner has everything that you look for in a neighbourhood bar.
Looking for a place to celebrate a birthday? The Diggers Bar offers two private venues to ensure that your function is memorable. With tasteful kauri décor, the bar has real personality, something that makes it stand out from other bars in the area. Moreover, Diggers constantly has both local and touring bands performing here, showcasing a variety of sounds that range from unheard garage bands to polished hits.
Another real ripper of a cocktail bar in this central North Island city. Easy Tiger is an essential stop for the cocktail enthusiast, or for anyone who feels in need of a restorer. These guys have really hit the sweet spot when it comes to customer service, music that is loud enough to cover any awkward pauses in conversation but not loud enough to be annoying, and pure quality when it comes to the libations.
How’s this for a selling point: TDO has the one of the cheapest eggs Benedict in Hamilton! For all those who are big fans of this breakfast royalty, then look no further, because just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s lacking in quality. It’s not the fanciest fare, but the prices are good, the meals are solid and comforting and the atmosphere is lovely. It’s just want you want when you’re after a pub meal.
Functioning as a bar, café, and restaurant, Gothenburg’s sleek black and white design creates a modern atmosphere, which is enhanced by large glass walls that overlook the Waikato River. While it is fashionable the restaurant is not overpriced, and has some of the cheapest Belgian beers in New Zealand. Drink while enjoying some tapas; the bar/restaurant has a lovely selection of sharing plates.
If you don’t have a lot of time and want to make sure that you get to try what New Zealand has to offer, head over to Keystone. Along with local ingredients and dishes, Keystone’s thoughtful collection of New Zealand wines and beers is a great way to immerse yourself in Kiwi culinary culture. Drink while sitting outside or inside by a warming fire listening to the local bands that play here in the evenings.