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The Best Bars in New Zealand

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You'll quickly find that your favorite daily task in New Zealand is meeting or catching up with new friends. The best places to do that? Over drinks at some of the country's bars, breweries, and other watering holes. Whether you enjoy craft beer, Japanese whiskey, mixed drinks, or a strong local red, there's a place for you in New Zealand. Many places, really. From bars in Auckland to hidden gems further afield, you're guaranteed a good time when friends and drinks are on your NZ itinerary.
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1, 53 Courtenay Pl, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
My go-to spot for after-work drinks is the Library in Wellington, and no, not the public library. Right on Courteney Place, there is a nondescript sign reading "The Library" in front of a simple doorway with several staircases. If you know what to...
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32A Somerset Street, Frankton, Hamilton 3204, New Zealand
Formerly Hamilton's Church of St. George, the high-ceilinged space at Good George Brewery and Dining Hall now attracts happy drinkers reading from the gospels of fine craft beer and excellent wood-fired pizza. On weekend afternoons local...
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210 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
I'm a regular at Ponsonby's Whiskey Bar and I'm not even a big scotch drinker. If I was though I wouldn't be disappointed - there are literally dozens to choose from and Phil the bar manager knows each of them personally. With rock 'n' roll hall...
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172 High Street, Christchurch, Central City, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
Following the 2011 earthquake that destroyed many of Christchurch's eating and drinking hot spots, local bar owners were forced to come up with innovative new openings amid the city's slow but steady rebuild. One such debut was Smash Palace, which...
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Galway Street & Commerce Street, Britomart, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Possibly the most refined drinking room in town, Xu Xu in Britomart makes you never want to leave. Large drapes, sunken sofas, taxidermy adorning the walls and drinks strong enough to start their own conversations, you'll say you're going there...
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70 Anzac Ave, Dunedin, 9016, New Zealand
Despite a population of less than 5 million, New Zealand has one of the world's most diverse and interesting craft-beer scenes, and many of the country's successful brewers were originally inspired by Richard Emerson in the southern city of...
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68 Aro St, Aro Valley, Wellington 6021, New Zealand
Renowned as one of New Zealand's most innovative craft breweries—recent beers have incorporated ingredients as diverse as green tea, sour cherries, and jasmine—the best place to try what's new is Garage Project's tasting room in the...
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Auckland, New Zealand
Slyly concealed at the back of the K'Rd Food Workshop—itself an interesting multi-vendor destination for traveling gourmands—Love Bucket is a hip drinking establishment amid the vintage-clothing stores, cheap ethnic restaurants, and...
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1004 Leigh Rd, Matakana 0985, New Zealand
Surrounded by the rolling pastures of the Matakana region north of Auckland, the rustic ambience of this craft brewery belies the subtle sophistication of the food and drinks on offer. The attached Smoko Room restaurant turns out excellent shared...
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167 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
Lime is one of Auckland's smallest bars, but don't let that deceive you. Overflowing with character—and characters—this is where Ponsonby sings its heart out every night while downing cocktails and telling yarns. The place doesn't start humming...
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53 Shotover St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
You'll most likely spend your time in New Zealand's adventure capital of Queenstown combining mountain and lake views with bungee jumping, jet boating, and kayaking—so wind down with a few pints at Queenstown's best beer bar. Local Central...