The Bay of Plenty region is one of the New Zealand’s best summer holiday spots. If you’re in the area, there’s a myriad of places to unwind with some tasty food and great drinks to match. Here are the top 10 bars you should check out during your travels.
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The Phoenix is a bar and restaurant in downtown Tauranga known for its great atmosphere, delicious food and diverse beer selection. Besides being a good place to catch up with friends over meals and drinks, the venue is also known for its regular events and specials – if you happen to be travelling with the family, kids get free meals on a Tuesday.
Imbibe is a bar, restaurant and function venue in Mt Maunganui with a diverse range of offerings for all group sizes and occasions. Its wide-scope drinks menu comprises everything from tap beers to New Zealand and imported wine, as well as ciders and spirits. Food includes your typical pub-grub thoroughfare as well as stone-grill platters and a wide assortment of contemporary mains for kids, vegetarians and all kinds of diners.
In a past life, the Pig & Whistle’s building was home to Rotorua’s police station. Now as the city’s oldest pub (having opened its doors in 1993), the venue has earned a reputation for being one of the best places to unwind with a fantastic range of drinks, lots of satisfying pub food, plus a strong lineup of live music performances, entertainment and sports screenings.
Brew touts itself as Tauranga’s craft beer hotspot. The bar was conceived by the same guys behind the Croucher Brewery in Rotorua, and offers a selection of these house creations alongside an ever-changing range of beers, wines and ciders from New Zealand and abroad. A classic gastropub menu and a lively gig calendar pulls everything together to make this the perfect location for a low-key gathering.
Hennessy’s Irish Bar is one of the top places in Rotorua to catch a live sports match, grab a hearty bite to eat, or simply chill with some cool sounds and a fine selection of drinks – from a carefully curated wine list to a range of bottled, tap and craft beers. There’s music playing every Thursday night, and the bar also has private rooms for special occasions.
The ‘Pap Tav’, as locals call it, has a bright exterior and plenty of welcoming features to match. There’s something for everyone, from the beach-party enthusiasts to families and more chilled-out crowds. Besides the traditional beer, wine and cider offerings, the bar offers a selection of cocktails with a tropical flair – offerings like the Papamoa Passion (passion fruit vodka, bitters and fresh lime mint), and the Hula Girl Hooch (peach liqueur, passion fruit, pineapple juice and edible flowers) stay true to the theme in question.
Located right at the heart of one of Rotorua’s most famous attractions, the Waiotapu Tavern is a hotel with a fully licensed bar that is known for its generous food portions, a vast range of bottled and tap beers, plus a special selection of honey mead blends for those wanting to try something different. This is also a good place to unwind with a game of pool while you’re mingling with the locals.
Cornerstone Pub enjoys a lively central-city location right in front of Tauranga’s scenic harbour. On top of that, the bar and restaurant is a great go-to for a casual lunch, nightly pub quizzes, and chilled out live music performances. Food and drinks menus cover all your essentials, from tasty platters and hearty mains to whatever ‘poison’ you might be craving.
Formerly known as Brewers Bar, the Rising Tide is famous locally for offering its patrons an interesting combination: craft beers and dumplings. The bar is part of Mount Brewing Co., a local brewhouse that has been in business since 1996. Besides stocking its own creations, the bar boasts more than 32 taps of craft beer, wine and cider from all over New Zealand.
Astrolabe Brewbar is Mount Maunganui’s home for decently priced meals and varied selection of Mac’s craft brews. Food ranges from hearty metre pizzas to sweet waffles as well as pub favourites like fish and chips and burgers. The bar is also known for its rustic interior and uniquely themed function rooms – the latter includes the Tumeke Boat Bar, Nana’s Batch, and a Beer Garden.