Auckland's best specialist bars

by Paperboy / 20 April, 2017
Say no to bland, standard issue house spirits: at these specialist bars you’ll be spoilt with top-notch drinks. Words by Kate Richards and Alice Harbourne

Azabu Roji Bar

Enter inky restaurant Azabu via the graffitied Maidstone Lane door and you’ll discover the Roji (Japanese for alleyway) bar, a chic Tokyo-inspired room and deck, with 32 sought-after Japanese whiskies on offer – pretty special given the ongoing global shortage.

26 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

Azabu Roji Bar

Azabu Roji Bar


The selection of single-batch, independent whiskies at this late-night Karangahape Road cocktail lounge is first-class. Leave the ordering in head bartender Nicolai Gaudriller-Becker’s expert hands. Props must also be given for the outside seating, which offers the best view of the pink bike path by night.

375 Karangahape Rd


Pint-sized Fukuko benefits from a kitchen shared with Metro Top 50 Restaurant Ebisu, but the drinks are its own pride and joy. A grungy concrete and steel fit-out by Fearon Hay means jars of house-infused shochu (a distilled Japanese beverage in the same family as vodka) shine on the shelves. We also love that you can order flights of Japanese whisky for comparative tasting.

43 Tyler St, Britomart


A bowl of Mexico’s fried chicken washed down with a cinnamon and sugar-rimmed dark plum margarita is a certified good time. And for the tequila aficionados among us, Mexico offers a tequila tasting platter and 10 different margarita flavours, including the aforementioned plum.

23 Britomart Pl, Britomart


Vodka Room

This Russian-inspired bar spans over two storeys and has six different seating areas, and specialises in – surprise, surprise – vodka. Small carafes of chilled vodka can be ordered to share (minimum four people). Select according to your budget: economy class, business class, first class or the exclusive prestige package. For the sweet tooth, there is a range of creative vodka-based desserts.

5 Rose Rd, Ponsonby

Vodka Room

The Gin Room

One of the inner-city’s best-kept secrets, the top two floors of the heritage Queen’s Ferry Hotel are home to a crew of smartly dressed expert mixologists. They’ll match your perfect gin to the ideal tonic from their impressive library, and add a little fruit, too.

1st floor, Queen’s Ferry Hotel building, 12 Vulcan Ln, central city

The Blue Breeze Inn

There’s nothing like a rum-based cocktail in a tiki glass to make you forget the rain, or a nip from the extensive list of bottle pours, all at varying price points. The Blue Breeze Inn call it “the rum jungle”; we just call it a good time. 

Ponsonby Central, 136 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

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