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

Auckland's best specialist bars

Where to go for specialists in vodka, whisky, gin, tequila and rum.

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

RelatedArticlesModule - Specialist bar related


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

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


March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the age of the machine?
102434 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Tech

March of the Algorithms: Who’s at the wheel in the…

by Jenny Nicholls

Complacently relying on algorithms can lead us over a cliff – literally, in the case of car navigation systems.

Read more
IBM’s new quantum computer: The future of computing
102458 2019-02-16 00:00:00Z Tech

IBM’s new quantum computer: The future of computin…

by Peter Griffin

The Q System One, as IBM calls it, doesn’t look like any conventional computer and it certainly doesn’t act like one.

Read more
James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth gap
102456 2019-02-15 14:54:45Z Politics

James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth…

by RNZ

The week before a major tax report is released, Green Party co-leader James Shaw has again challenged his government partners to back the tax.

Read more
Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma Chand
102448 2019-02-15 10:28:12Z Crime

Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma…

by Anneke Smith

Arishma Chand was just 24 when she was murdered.

Read more
Top wine picks from Central Otago
102233 2019-02-15 00:00:00Z Wine

Top wine picks from Central Otago

by Michael Cooper

Tucked into small corners, Central Otago vineyards offer nuggets worth digging for. Wine critic Michael Coopers offers his top picks.

Read more
Ivanka and her tower of crumbs
102404 2019-02-14 10:33:12Z Arts

Ivanka and her tower of crumbs

by Preminda Jacob

For two hours each evening, an Ivanka Trump lookalike has been vacuuming a hot pink carpet at the Flashpoint Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Read more
Youth mental health is in crisis and NZ is failing to keep up
102393 2019-02-14 09:52:16Z Social issues

Youth mental health is in crisis and NZ is failing…

by The Listener

The introduction of a free youth mental-health pilot for Porirua, and later the wider region, is welcome news, but it's far too little, far too late.

Read more
Guyon Espiner: Year of delivery begins in defensive crouch
102387 2019-02-14 09:21:07Z Politics

Guyon Espiner: Year of delivery begins in defensiv…

by Guyon Espiner

For a government promising 'a year of delivery' it has begun in something of a defensive crouch.

Read more