The Best Bars in Wanaka, New Zealand

A pint of beer
A pint of beer | © Anders Nord/Unsplash
Photo of Thalita Alves
14 December 2017

Wanaka has quite a diverse bar scene for a small New Zealand town. You’ll find everything from upscale cocktail lounges to cool gastropubs and laid-back sports bars there, many of which reside on the township’s picturesque main street. Whatever your nightly tastes, here are some of the best places to check out.

Speight's Ale House

Bar, Gastropub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, European, Contemporary, $$$
A pint of beer
A pint of beer | © Anders Nord/Unsplash

Wanaka’s Speights Ale House has all the right ingredients for a relaxed night out: views of the stunning Southern Alps, a large selection of traditional ales, plus a range of pub-style foods and hearty mains to satisfy all appetites and palates. The venue prides itself on being quite family-friendly too – its kids’ menu and spacious outside area are perfect for entertaining any younger travellers you may have in tow.

Wanaka Bullock Bar

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$

The Bullock Bar is definitely the town local, with people from all walks of life coming together for a chilled happy hour drink and some unpretentious pub grub. There are gaming machines, dart boards and pool tables inside for those wanting a bit of entertainment, plus a collection of big screen TVs set to appease the sports-loving patrons dropping by.

Bar Number 8

Bar, Cocktail Bar, European
Cocktails | © Helena Yankovska/Unsplash

If you’re looking for something more classy, the newly refurbished Bar Number 8 (formerly Gin and Raspberry) will be right up your alley. This boutique cocktail bar is known for its stylish contemporary decor, delightful views across the lake and eclectic drinks menu. As you’d expect, there’s an extensive wine and beer menu – but it’s the bar’s claim to have ‘Wanaka’s largest selections of spirits’ (particularly gin and whiskey) which really draws the crowds.

Lake Bar

Bar, Gastropub, European, Pub Grub, Contemporary, Wine, Beer, $$$

For some of the best views in town, you can’t go wrong with the Lake Bar. This welcoming joint really offers something for everyone: live sports screenings, country-style dining, kids meals and an assortment of weekly specials. Shared platters can be made gluten free upon request and usually come with a nice selection of seafood, cold meats and cheeses.

Barluga Cocktail Bar

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Drinks | © Michael Discenza/Unsplash
Barluga is the go-to spot for live music in Wanaka. The bar has live DJs playing in its courtyards every Friday and Saturday night, with the beats pumping right into the early hours of the morning. Pop in earlier to enjoy a more refined experience – with leather couches, a roaring fireplace, classic cocktail offerings plus a generous selection of wines straight out the Central Otago region setting the scene for a well-rounded night in town.

Lalaland Lounge Bar Wanaka

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Lalaland is a hidden gem that’s perfect for those wanting some aprés-ski drinks with epic views. Specialist cocktails are the bar’s top crowd-pleaser, though they’re also renowned for offering a range of decently priced tap beers, wines and spirits. Food is more on the light bar snack side of things, and local DJs liven up this hip establishment every Saturday night.

Trout Bar & Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, European, Oceanian, Contemporary, $$$
Trout is quite a versatile place – it’s a bar, cafe and restaurant meshed into one wonderful lakefront location. Bar patrons get to enjoy a number of craft ales and locally produced wines, while the dining crowds are invited to relish delicacies like bluff oysters, blue cod entrées and mains, a hearty selection of vegetarian meals as well as dishes to satisfy all meat lovers.

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