Auckland’s best small bars

Auckland is such a convenient city to get to, with plenty of cheap flights available from major Kiwi and Aussie cities. It also boasts a buzzing nightlife, so once you’ve arrived and checked in it’s time for a night on the town.

Aucklands Best Small Bars

If you’re staying in the city, You’re just a stone’s throw from the best of Auckland’s small bars. From laid-back New Zealand pubs to the hip and eclectic, here are our 5 top picks for Auckland’s small bar scene.   

Mo’s Bar, Corner Wolfe & Federal Streets, Auckland

Aucklands best small bars: Mo's Bar
Mo’s Bar

Trading for nearly 20 years, Mo’s Bar is super friendly, super central and super local. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step inside this pocket-sized bar and make yourself at home in its cosy, dimly-lit interior and you’ll be rewarded with friendly banter, a great drinks list, and a laid-back vibe. Order a classic cocktail; the bar staff really know their stuff.

Racket Bar, Roukai Lane, Auckland

Aucklands best small bars: Racket bar
Racket Bar

Rum-centric and cuban-inspired, this rustic small bar in Auckland’s CBD boasts NZ’s most comprehensive rum list, expertly-made cocktails and bangin’ live music most nights, so Racket Bar is definitely worth stopping in for a drink. What’s more, head racket mixologist Phillip Spector won 2015 bartender of the year for Auckland at the Diageo Reserve World Class National Final, so you know you’re in safe hands cocktail-wise.

Cassette Nine, 9 Vulcan Lane, Auckland

Aucklands best small bars: Cassette Nine
Cassette Nine. Image Credit:

Cassette Nine is an eclectic, almost-too-cool-for-school, yet welcoming bar located in the ultra-hip Vulcan Lane. It’s as good a place to kick off your night as it is to party into the wee hours, with local indie bands and djs, club nights and even bingo on offer. Need to refuel? They also serve up classic burgers, fish and chips and Mexican eats, and there are plenty of restaurants nearby.

16 Tun, 10-26 Jellicoe Street, Auckland

Aucklands best small bars: 16 Tun
16 Tun

Beer nerds need look no further than the wharfside 16 Tun in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter. 16 Tun operate as a ‘free house’, meaning they aren’t associated with any particular brewery, and as such, their craft beer list is both extensive and impressive, with a strong local focus. Settle in to this wood-panelled shrine to all things beer, order a ‘handle’ of ale and take in the water views. You won’t be disappointed.

The Whiskey, 210 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

Aucklands best small bars: The Whisky Bar
Whiskey Bar

With more than 150 varieties of its namesake, this relaxed yet upmarket Ponsonby haunt is just a stone’s throw from Auckland’s CBD. If you’re not quite sure what to order, ask one of their talented mixologists at the Whiskey to recommend something. There’s a pretty comprehensive cocktail list, and they also offer cocktail making classes.  

First time in Auckland? Here’s a little advice from me to you:

Our Auckland travel tips

  • Staying in Auckland’s CBD is your best bet, but do a bit of research before you go as to where you want to be – are there bars, restaurants, or galleries you plan to visit? Are there connections you need to make (for example, do you need to be near the ferry terminal)?
  • If you’re in town for more than a day or two, consider hiring a car. The area immediately surrounding Auckland offers some truly spectacular scenery you won’t want to miss.
  • Don’t leave home without travel insurance – you just never know what might pop up.

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