The 10 Best Bars in Inner City Auckland

Matthew Clark

One of the busiest places in New Zealand is the center of Auckland, a place where you can find some of the best bars in the country. Whether you’re looking for a quiet drink or a great night out, we’ve handpicked the best options in the city.

1. The White Rabbit

Bar, Restaurant, European

A reference to Lewis Carroll’s absurdist fantasy book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The White Rabbit is the name of the catalyst in that story that affects the ludicrous exploits of the protagonist. Contrary to the feel of the book, this restaurant is very clean-edge, with white, uncomplicated décor that leaves the food as its main feature. However, the absurdity of Carroll’s legacy is not lost. The food will leave you constantly intrigued, as the flavors and ingredients are truly something special at a place where pickled ox tongue is a key part of the menu. The White Rabbit | Image courtesy of The White Rabbit

2. Fukuko

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Japanese

Japanese Cold One
© KID the Euforia / Flickr

The simple seating arrangement and subtle, uncomplicated color scheme at Fukuko adds to the casual and relaxed atmosphere perfect for relaxing in while enjoying original Japanese inspired cocktails, authentic Japanese whiskeys, wines and sakes. Accompany your cocktails with some of the delicious Japanese bar snacks. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit more filling, Fukuko also offers classic Mexican tacos with a Japanese twist, as well as traditional Japanese rice and noodle bowls.

3. The Empire Tavern

The Empire Tavern

Located in one of Auckland’s architectural masterpieces, that was built in the late 19thcentury is, The Empire Tavern. Refurbished in 2013 with a vibrant and modern look, the tavern is now a refreshing juxtaposition between Victorian architecture and contemporary interior design. The Empire Tavern holds events almost every night of the week, including an open mic night (Thursday) and a quiz night (Tuesday), a great night out when accompanied by a tall glass of beer from the selection of 20 beers on tap.

Empire Tavern, 137 Victoria St West, Auckland, New Zealand +64 9-373 4389

Auckland © Mikael Yeun/FlickrAuckland © Mikael Yeun/Flickr

5. Neck of the Woods

Bar, Australian

Crazy times
© Mike Cochrane / Flickr
Located in downtown Auckland, on Karangahape Road, Neck of the Woods is more than a venue that serves a great selection of craft beer and original cocktails. This bar is also one of Auckland’s premier spaces for rock music. Bands and musicians from all around New Zealand, as well as from overseas, come to show off their musical stylings at Neck of the Woods. Whether you’re coming to watch one of your favourite bands, just coming for a drink, or want to discover some new music, you’ll have a great night here.

6. The Basement

The Basement

You’ll find Auckland’s local emerging artists here at The Basement; whether musicians, comedians, poets, or dancers there’s something always going on. The Basement is a charity trust that supports local talent and art. If you’re looking to be inspired, entertained, or just want a good night, this is the place to go. You’ll find innovation, experimentation and fresh new talent and work.
The Basement, Greys Ave, Auckland, New Zealand +64 9-309 7433


Although 1885’s relates to the year the historic Stanbeth House was founded, everything in this bar is modern and chic. The décor of this multi-level bar is contemporary, a mix of dark leather seats with roughened rustic brick work and dim lighting. 1885 features some of Auckland’s coolest DJs on weekends and during the week, so check their website to see who’s playing.
1885, 27 Galway St, Auckland, New Zealand +64 9-551 3100


7. Orleans

Bar, Restaurant, American, Cajun

Orleans is one of the coolest bars, restaurants and performance venues in the city, where you can come down to have a drink and listen to some great live music. Ranging from jazz to blues and soul, the music at this bar will transport you to New Orleans, a cultural hub of the US where the weather is hot and the music is hotter.

8. Bellota

Bar, Spanish, European

Auckland Sky Tower
© Kesara Rathnayake/Flickr
Located at the base of Auckland’s Sky Tower, in the Sky City entertainment precinct, Bellota has been voted one of Auckland’s best tapas bars. This venue provides a traditional Spanish experience with delicious and expertly prepared sharing plates. You won’t find many local wines at this bar, but there’s an extensive list of imported wines from Spain to wash it all down with.

9. The Fox Sporting Bar and Restaurant

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, European

New Zealanders are passionate about sport, and The Fox Sporting Bar and Restaurant is a great place to join them in watching them on TV. Whether it’s an important Rugby match for the All Blacks, or a major international event, you can be guaranteed it’ll be shown here. And, if you want to watch a sport that isn’t so popular, you’re welcome to make a request and they’ll usually be happy to show it.
landscape with balloons floating in the air


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