A well-known publican named Thomas Foley established the Shakespeare Hotel and Brewery a few blocks from the Auckland harbor in 1898. Foley grew up in the building and painstakingly rebuilt the property out of red bricks he imported from Melbourne. In 1986, then-owner Peter Barraclough and then-brewer Barry Newman established one of the first microbreweries in New Zealand at this central Auckland icon. Today, under the guidance of brewer Matt Short, the new the brewery produces hundreds of thousands of liters of ale using traditional wild fermentation techniques. Just like the old days, the pub still offers affordable accommodation upstairs for travelers who want to be in the middle of the action, or those who drink one too many IPAs. Accommodations are small and simple but feature original windows and attic-style skylights. It’s probably the best deal in town, especially when considering the lively bar at the bottom of the Escher-like staircase.
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The Shakespeare Hotel was built on prime real estate. If the downtown core is a circle that arcs from Viaduct Harbour and Britomart to Albert Park and Sky City back to the water, the hotel would be the bull's-eye. That circuit is a great primer on the city, in fact, hitting such additional Auckland attractions as the Fish Market and Aotea Square. Shakespeare guests are in a food and drink mecca as well. Britomart is the best bet for energy and ambience, and old-school bars like Chapel and Housebar are nearby rivals to the Shakespeare pub.
Need to Know
Rooms: 10 rooms. From $58. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 10 a.m. Dining options:The downstairs bar is a casual gathering place for watching sports, playing pool, and listening to live music with a house-brewed beer in hand. Upstairs, the brick-walled restaurant, surrounded by a sunny terrace, churns out classic burgers, fish and chips, and pizzas as well as more local specialties like New Zealand lamb and a pot of green-lip mussels. Spa and gym details:There’s no spa or gym here—it’s primarily a bar—but nearby options range from the candlelit So Spa at the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour to the 100-year-old Tepid Baths, or “Teps” to locals, which houses two lap pools, spa and sauna facilities, and a fitness center.
Who's it best for: Easygoing travelers who love a cold beer and the idea of sleeping above their neighborhood bar. Our favorite rooms: Room 7 is filled with Old World charm. Rounded windows and a small deck look out at the cityscape. Guests can climb onto the balcony through the double windows and people watch from above. Good to know:The daily special at the restaurant should not be missed—on Wednesdays, a 500-gram steak fills dinner plates for less than $20. Live music fills the air on Friday evenings, and brewery tours can be arranged by appointment.