Auckland

After sunset the bar action is split across four distinct areas, with the waterfront and central city a common ground between the largely loyal Parnell and Ponsonby crowds. Be warned that Auckland can be quite unpleasant in the small hours of the morning when young people from the far suburbs spill out of bars drunk and rowdy. T
After sunset the bar action is split across four distinct areas, with the waterfront and central city a common ground between the largely loyal Parnell and Ponsonby crowds. Be warned that Auckland can be quite unpleasant in the small hours of the morning when young peop
After sunset the bar action is split across four distinct areas, with the waterfront and central city a common ground be

After sunset the bar action is split across four distinct areas, with the waterfront and central city a common ground between the largely loyal Parnell and Ponsonby crowds. Be warned that Auckland can be quite unpleasant in the small hours of the morning when young people from the far suburbs spill out of bars drunk and rowdy. To avoid this, head to Parnell where the restaurants and bars are frequented by a polished, free-spending crowd, or for a more relaxed scene, head to Ponsonby Road, west of the city center, where you'll find street-side dining and packed bars. If you prefer to stay in the city center, the place to be for bars is the Viaduct, particularly in summer, or High Street and nearby O'Connell Street, with a sprinkling of bars in between. At the Queen Street end of Karangahape Road (just north of Highway 1) you'll find shops, lively bars, cafés, and nightspots including gay clubs. Not many venues are aimed at the gay and lesbian market in Auckland—that's probably because in Auckland the car you drive or your home renovations are more important than your sexual preference. The best place to scout for bars is the gay news site GayNZ.com. It is the best guide to bars and events; some bars have women-only evenings, but this changes often. Nightclubs, meanwhile, are transient animals with names and addresses changing monthly if not weekly.

There is also a growing nightlife scene on the North Shore—particularly in the upmarket seaside suburb of Takapuna. If you make the trip over the bridge, you'll be rewarded by bars and restaurants with a particularly relaxed vibe. From Sunday to Tuesday many bars close around midnight, and nightclubs, if open, close about midnight or 1 am. From Thursday to Saturday, most bars stay open until 2 or 3 am. Nightclubs keep rocking until at least 4 am and some for a couple of hours after that.

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  • 1. Kings Arms Tavern

    City Center | Music Clubs

    One of Auckland's longest-running music institutions, this is often a launch pad for bands that cross the indie and rock boundary. Very good...Read More

  • 2. Classic Comedy & Bar

    City Center | Comedy Clubs

    At Auckland's main venue for live comedy, acts of varying caliber are a mix of well-known Kiwi comedians, fresh faces, and the occasional...Read More

  • 3. Lime

    Ponsonby | Bars/Pubs

    You might as well leave your inhibitions at the door when you enter, because everybody else does. People pack this friendly and often noisy...Read More

  • 4. Occidental Belgian Beer Cafe

    City Center | Bars/Pubs

    Vulcan Lane has long been an after-work favorite with the suit-and-tie set of downtown Auckland. The lane has been tidied up in recent years...Read More

  • 5. Wine Loft

    City Center | Bars/Pubs

    Quotes from the famous are scrawled on the walls, and wines seldom available by the glass can be had here. Jocular lawyers, other suits, and...Read More

  • 6. Boogie Wonderland

    City Center | Music Clubs

    Playing strictly disco and with a dance floor lighted in colored squares, Boogie Wonderland is stuck in the 1970s— Saturday Night Fever to...Read More

  • 7. Civic Tavern

    City Center | Bars/Pubs

    At the heart of the city center, the Civic Tavern houses three bars. The London Bar has a vast selection of beer and Scotch whiskey. The ...Read More

  • 8. Deschlers

    City Center | Music Clubs

    Deschlers, a 1950s-style cocktail lounge, has live jazz on Thursday and Saturday. Park yourself at the long bar or at a paua shell–top table...Read More

  • 9. Indians and Cowboys

    Bars/Pubs

    There is always a lively time at the twin bars Indians and Cowboys in the Viaduct, where despite the name the crowd is older and upmarket and...Read More

  • 10. Kamo

    City Center | Bars/Pubs

    Kamo is also very gay- and lesbian-friendly and can be a good place to hang out and discover where the most happening scenes are. ...Read More

  • 11. Khuja Lounge

    City Center | Music Clubs

    Take three flights of stairs or the rickety elevator to Khuja Lounge, where you'll find live soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, samba, bossa nova, or...Read More

  • 12. Mea Culpa

    Ponsonby | Bars/Pubs

    Locals spill onto the street from early evening at Mea Culpa, a small, relaxed bar with equally appealing cocktails and wine selections. ...Read More

  • 13. Tulip Bar

    Ponsonby | Bars/Pubs

    Keeping with the flower theme of its previous incarnation, Orchid, Tulip Bar aims to create a space that is groovy without being in your face...Read More

  • 14. Urge

    City Center | Bars/Pubs

    This men-only bar opens Wednesday through Saturday and has theme nights from time to time. It's extremely popular with men who like to dance...Read More

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