Top 5 Queenstown Cocktail Bars You need To Visit

Food & Drink Hot List

Our guide to the best cocktail bars in Queenstown

Queenstown is famed for its adrenaline-pumping attractions, what with the ski fields of the Southern Alps, glacier flyovers, high-speed boating jaunts, paragliding opportunities and A. J. Hackett's trademark bungees all waiting in the surrounding backcountry.  However, when nighttime descends on this jewel of South Island, there are also cocktail bars and jazz joints, chichi drinkeries and cool speakeasies lurking in the shadow of The Remarkables.

See you in one of the best cocktail bars that Queenstown has to offer for an apres session.

1. The Lodge Bar

With painting-like views over the snow-dusted Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu peeking through each open French door and windowpane, and sumptuous Kiwi timbers and slates imbuing the bar with a hearty NZ country feel, it's hard not to be taken in by the cozy interiors and boutique designs of The Lodge Bar.

But the handsome veneer is just half the story, because the carefully curated menu is the brainchild of Matt Lambert (of Michelin star fame) and Cameron Douglas (New Zealand's only Master Sommelier). That means a creative medley of venison and salmon in citrus; of sparkling Reef Rose and Chard Farm Pinot Gris.

2. 1789 Wine & Jazz Lounge

Channeling the velveteen vibes of fin-de-siècle Paris with a dash of 1920s Prohibition Chicago, the 1789 Wine & Jazz Lounge is a chic and characterful spot for an evening tipple.  Nestled just two streets back from the promenade around Lake Wakatipu, it's the perfect addition to the luxurious Sofitel spa hotel, touting a menu of more than 350 bottled wines and dedicated mixologists with a repertoire of boundary-pushing cocktail recipes up their proverbial sleeve. Monochromes of Coltrane and Miles Davis adorn the booths, while the twinkling of a grand piano is often the nocturnal backing track.

3. Eichardts Bar

One of the steadfast venues of Queenstown's Marine Parade, Eichardts Bar has been serving up bubbling flutes of Bollinger and harissa-topped tapas plates for well over 100 years.  The long Kiwi heritage is carried on in the fusion of stylish and homey design features inside: real-stone walls; a crackling open fireplace; swinging bronze ceiling lanterns.  The specialty in-house cocktails are often the tipple of choice, coming in the form of the bar's own smoked espresso Martini or the La Bodeguita, packed with fresh blood orange and aged rum.

4. The Bunker

Hidden behind a small, unassuming entranceway on tight-knit Cow Lane, The Bunker is a dark and shadowy speakeasy that's one part US noir and one part Kiwi chic.  The interiors are inky and plush, with hardwood tables that mingle with roaring wood fires and a blackened bar space.  The wine list features a fine array of local New Zealand Pinot Noir, oodles of acclaimed Otago reds and whites, and an ever-changing medley of vintages.  And then there are the cocktails, which go from the Bond Martini (a Bunker specialty) to the Smoky Joe, infused with the tastes of smoked cinnamon and Jonnie Walker.

5. Little Blackwood

The industrial-cool mashup of metro tiles and humming depot lights, of washed-out timbers and stark wall colorings in Little Blackwood soon mark it out as something of a hipster dive, while the prime location on Steamer Wharf makes it a favorite of travelers and locals alike.  Cocktails like the Amethyst and Japanese Garden are a testimony to the menu's penchant for taste-bud-tingling tipples, while a medley of cold meat charcuterie, local craft ales, Kiwi sharing platters and champagne by the glass only adds to the offering. 

Queenstown Experiences:

For the best deals, check our 'Experiences Guide' for a wide choice of activities and attractions to book and visit.

Photo Credits:

Main: Cocktailmarler/WikiCommons
The Bunker: Experience Queenstown
The Lodge Bar: