Last Updated: September 14, 2023
Along with being the adventure capital of New Zealand, it should come as no surprise that Queenstown is also NZ’s party mecca. With a younger crowd and a massive collection of drinking establishments, you’d be hard-pressed not to enjoy a night out in Queenstown. Even if you’re looking for a more laid-back place to sip on a cocktail, there are pubs and terraces that cater to anyone seeking a calm drink.
No matter what you’re looking for, be it beers or bloody marys, you’ll find it at a Queenstown’s watering hole. After living in this magical town for a year, here’s a round-up of the best bars in Queenstown.
Harry’s Pool Bar
Address: 8 Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
I may be biased as I spend nearly every evening at Harry’s, but this pool bar is the place to be if you’re looking to rub elbows with locals and enjoy a chilled-out pint or two. Tap beers are $6, and pool tables are available for a small fee, with friendly games and regular competitions. Harry’s pizzas are also infamous, and for a good deal, they’re $10 every Tuesday. Harry’s is one of the best places to settle into a bar stool or plush leather armchair to watch sports or enjoy the jukebox. Be sure to stop by after a long day up the mountain or after enjoying the great Queenstown outdoors.
Surreal Bar & Restaurant
Address: 7 Rees Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
If you’re looking for a party, Surreal is undoubtedly among the best bars in Queenstown. With a sprawling downstairs area and a sunny rooftop terrace, there’s room for everyone and their friends to enjoy drinks and good times. Expect a DJ upstairs every night of the weekend. For the best party in town, Surreal’s Sunday Sesh brings both locals and tourists out to dance the night away. The rest of the week, find fun events like karaoke, pub quiz, and music bingo, too. Drinks are reasonably priced, the staff is friendly, and there are even fireplaces (indoor and out) to keep you nice and warm on those chilly Queenstown evenings.
From the Staff
Our most popular cocktail is without a doubt the Sonny Bill Williams. This KIWI is all about the ladies or those with a passion for any sport on or off the field. A very approachable fruit filled cocktail that will leave you wanting more. Midori, Vodka, Passionfruit, Lime Juice, Kiwi Fruit, Cranberry Juice.
Food wise – our Tacos rock. We have Pork Belly, Karaage Chicken, Fish Goujon with Wasabi Mayo, and Cauliflower Bites. Two tacos for just $14 – a meal in itself.– Mel from Surreal Bar
Address: 12 Church Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
The bar scene in Queenstown always has something going on, and World Bar takes this to the next level. Aside from the lovely patio and large dance floor inside, World Bar hosts a plethora of fun events that make it a premier destination in the Queenstown nightlife scene. Since the closing of Loco, World Bar has been home to the best silent disco in Queenstown. It hosts tons of movie screenings, special evenings, and even an annual Worldstock (aka Queenstown’s version of Woodstock). During Worldstock, they cover the entire bar with grass and even roll out a mini half-pipe. So yeah, you can expect a good time at World Bar if you’re looking to party in Queenstown.
From the Staff
The only place in town to find a teapot cocktail is at World Bar! Served in actual teapot cocktail glasses with about 8 versions to try, they’re famous for locals and visitors to try something different. Staff favourites include the Double Rainbow which gives pina colada vibes, and the Hitcher which is a crowd pleaser.– Danielle from World Bar
Address: 36 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Pizza by day, DJs by night, The London is where you can find a super interesting mix of people and parties. The checkerboard floor and big booths give this spot an American diner vibe. The pizza is surprisingly delicious, and so are the drinks. Once the sun goes down, The London is best known for Latino parties and various events that bring out the masses for a night full of dancing until late. It’s not the cheapest bar in town, but certainly reasonable with $12 cocktails and pints between $10 and $12.
Try one of the staff favourites – the Brick Lane Pizza or the espresso martini.
Red Rock Bar & Cafe
Address: 48 Camp Street, Queenstown, Central 9300, New Zealand
Red Rock is another popular bar in Queenstown for a more laid-back experience rather than a crazy party. Sitting next to the main bus stop for the Remarkables and Coronet, Red Rock is popular with ski staff and tourists looking for cold beers and cheap feed. There’s always a different food special on – be sure to try the chicken parm. Also, lots of outdoor seating make this spot dog-friendly.
Address: Searle Lane, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Late night drinks and loud rock music more your style? Zephyr is the spot. The drinks flow freely, there’s dancing when the mood’s right, and a wall of half-naked polaroids for those that feel daring. The bar is open until 4 am every night (or, morning rather)! It’s a favourite among the late-night hospitality crowd and everyone still standing before the sun comes up.
You’ve got to try mixing a shot of Fireball with Apple juice. It tastes like a delicious apple pie in your glass!
Address: 26 Camp Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
One of the longest-running Queenstown jokes is if you’ve lost something, it’s probably at Bungalow. A black hole for jackets, car keys, and personal dignity, you’re always in for a good time at Bungalow. There’s a decent party nearly every night of the week, and people pack the venue for dancing and loud conversation. It’s a younger crowd and lots of pop music, but the real draw is Taco Tuesday, where you can scarf down Mexican food for $2 a pop before dancing the night away.
Locker Room Sports Bar
Address: 10 Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Locker Room is probably yet to grace many lists of the best bars in Queenstown. But that’s only because it’s pretty much brand new. Queenstown lacked a real sports bar, so Locker Room pulled out all the stops with massive TV screens and a total sports bar vibe. On fight nights and big game days, expect massive crowds overflowing outside from the Locker Room. On more relaxed afternoons, hit happy hour and head upstairs to play pool or video games on the huge projector. Also – I’d be remiss not to mention the hot dogs, which are my top pick in town. Half-priced wings on Wednesdays are also a local favourite.
Be sure to grab a Caeser, a favourite among staff and locals. For those unfamiliar, it’s a cocktail made with vodka, clamato juice, tabasco, Worcestershire, celery salt rim, and epic garnish.
Address: 45 Ballarat Street, Queenstown, Central 9300, New Zealand
Well-beloved by tradies post-work and anyone on the hunt for cheap drinks, 1876 (or Eighteens, as it’s fondly referred to) is a great Queenstown bar to down $5 pints and $6 cocktails. The main reason to go to Eighteens (aside from getting drunk on the cheap) is the gigantic terrace, which has sun longer than any spot in town. So if you’re after a tan or ten vodka sodas, settle into 1876 for a nice afternoon of drinking; no one will judge you here!
Address: 7/9 The Mall, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
I don’t know what it is with Queenstown and espresso martinis, but I sure don’t hate it. Neither does Ballarat, with their $12 take on the classic, all day, every day. Ballarat is smack in the centre of town on the Mall. It has plenty of outdoor seating for drinks during the day and live music seven nights a week. Other Ballarat highlights include a Sunday pub quiz, cheap burgers, big screens for games, and most important of all: $4.50 mixed drinks.
From the Staff
The favourite item on the menu is the BB Kang. It’s two smashed beef patties, streaky bacon, cheddar, beer battered onion rings, pickles, BBQ sauce, aioli with a side of pour on cheese sauce.– Lauren at Ballarat
Address: 88 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Best known for live music and cocktails, Little Blackwood is a hole-in-the-wall with a refined experience. I’m not saying that the Queenstown drinking scene is a total mess, but it can get sloppy. So if you’re looking to avoid one of those places, Little Blackwoods is a safe bet.
Tucked away in Steamer Wharf, there’s a small outdoor section on Marine Parade. The interior oozes rustic charm that makes you feel like you could be in Europe rather than in New Zealand. Little Blackwood’s cocktails are next level. A seven-page menu boasts five variations of an espresso martini, along with an endless selection of intricate creations you can’t find anywhere else. Make sure to pair your drinks with a build-your-own of meat and cheese board to enjoy while hanging with friends over live entertainment.
From the StaffI highly recommend the Japanese Garden for a cocktail. It’s a beautiful highball of Queenstown brewed Zenkuro original sake, Pimms, lychee liqueur, cucumber & mint topped with ginger beer. It’s the perfect summer cocktails that is sure to quench your thirst.
If you’re hungry though, you just need to tuck into our artisanal cheeseboard full of local meats and cheeses perfect with a glass of wine.
– Liam at Little Blackwood
Perky’s Floating Bar
Address: Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
For a bit of a novelty drinking experience, hop aboard Perky’s, Queenstown’s best and only floating bar. Docked right on Marine Parade with an unobstructed view of the Remarks, Perky’s is an excellent place for a couple of pre-dinner cocktails or after-work Coronas. Perky’s doesn’t serve food, but they do have a fantastic deal with Devil Burger down the street. The deal will get you any burger with fries and a house beer or wine for $20. Do note that Perky’s isn’t a full bar but has plenty of seasonal and classic cocktails to choose from, along with a decent selection of beer and wine to enjoy on the bar stools or deck bean bag chairs.
Minus 5° Ice Bar
Address: 88 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Minus 5° Ice Bar is definitely a Queenstown bucket list item. If you don’t mind the cold, it’s one of the best bars in town. Ice Bar is more of an experience than anything. It’s filled with ice furniture, hand-carved sculptures, and craft cocktails (yes, served in glasses made from ice).
You can purchase tickets online or at the booth on-site. For $40, you get admission and two cocktails, plus all of the gear you need to be comfortable in -5° C. You can bring along kids (who will be plenty pleased with the creative mocktails) or opt for a family pass for $85. No matter how you choose to enjoy Ice Bar, it’s one of those things that you have to do once.
Address: 14 Rees Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
If you’re on the hunt for an Irish pub, Pog Mahone’s fits the bill to a tee. While it’s not as dark and dingy as most Irish bars (Queenstown has Morrison’s for that), it retains a distinct classic charm as the pub was designed and built in Ireland before being shipped to New Zealand. Pog’s calls to you from Marine Parade with the huge, sun-soaked patio and various meal specials each day of the week. If you are in Queenstown for a while, be sure to go after the Guinness Club, which gets your name on the wall if you drink 100, 500, or 1,000 pints of the creamy Irish stout.
Pig & Whistle Pub
Address: 41 Ballarat Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
To test your knowledge, The Pig & Whistle has the best pub quiz in town. Hosted every Tuesday at 7 pm, this English bar fills to the brim with anyone feeling particularly smart competing to win a killer local prize. Though after a few pricey pints, anything’s fair game. While quiz night is what brings most people through the door, you can expect exceptional food deals like $20 roasts on Sunday and a $15 steak night each Monday. Not to mention the 18 big screens that never miss an important game, fight, or race.
Attiqa Gin and Cocktail Bar / The Sundeck
Address: 4 The Mall, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Are you looking for a lively place for drinks with a million-dollar view? The Sundeck, hidden above Attiqa, frequently has some of the best DJs in the town spinning tracks while people sip on espresso martinis and lounge on the couches surrounded by fireplaces. Things are pretty laid back on weeknights and earlier in the evening, but come 10 pm, the music goes way up. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s Mediterranean tapas sent up from Attiqa until ten (lamb koftas are a must), and then a selection of antipasti to carry you through the rest of the night.
If you’d prefer an acoustic experience, stick with Attiqa, who has live singer/songwriters most nights of the week, unreal gin cocktails, and a delicious menu.
Smiths Craft Beer House
Address: 53 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
To tuck into beers over burgers, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better bar in Queenstown than Smiths. While most of the bars are near the waterfront, Smiths is kitty-corner to Ferg and brimming with an unmatched tap beer selection to try. The atmosphere is cozy and pub-like, but the best place to sit is the little outdoor section overlooking Shotover Street. Grab a pint of craft beer and order the short rib burger, which took home the prize as the best burger in Queenstown. Ideal for after-work drinks or a weekend lunch, Smiths is the place to be in town if you’re looking for a superior beer selection.
Note: If you’re looking for an alternative to Smiths, Atlas in Steamer Wharf also has an extensive tap beer selection and lots of outdoor seating by the lake.
Address: 14 Cow Lane, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
For a dark and moody atmosphere, upstairs at Bunker is the place to be. The upstairs at Bunker’s will make you feel like you’re at an old-school speakeasy, especially because it’s so easy to miss. The upscale, intimate atmosphere is great for fireside cocktails as you lounge about with premium spirits in hand. Open at 5 pm you can hit Bunker before dinner, or for a late one as they’re always open until 4 am. Find familiar old classics, twists on timeless drinks, and plenty of Bunker’s own creations on the menu. Though it’s currently closed for renovations, downstairs, you’ll find one of Queenstown’s nicest dining establishments serving up luxe fare.
Address: 827 Frankton Road, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
If you want to break away from the crowds, award-winning brewery, Altitude is one of the best bars in Queenstown to enjoy a pint with a view.
Tucked away in the Frankton Marina, Altitude is an incredible brewery in town. It has a fun atmosphere for a nice day in the sun. There’s abundant outdoor seating, the beers are exceptionally easy to drink, and the owners have a commitment to give back to the local community. Plus, there are often rotating food stalls for all the goods. At the moment, it’s Old Mates Smokehouse serving up low and slow BBQ out front.
As it’s located right along the lake near the Frankton Track, it’s easy to walk back into town (roughly 30 to 45 minutes) to burn all those beers off. If you don’t feel like heading out there, Altitude beers are stocked at a large selection of restaurants and bars in town.
Address: 44 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
What would the best bar list be without a place for a bloody? If you’re looking for a cure for the morning after, Fergbar is open at 7 am slinging Bloody Marys. Stick with a classic with hot sauce, herbs, and spices. Or add a garnish of a burger slider, fried chicken, antipasto skewers, and a prawn. Now that’s what I call a hangover cure!
If you’d rather go right after the hair of the dog, pair a breakfast martini with your eggs on toast. The breakfast martini is made from Bombay, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and marmalade.
For even more information on Queenstown, check out our other guides:
- 20 Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Queenstown
- 18 Best Cafes in Queenstown
- 10 Best Japanese Restaurants in Queenstown
- 17 Things to Do in Queenstown
- 13 Best Arrowtown Cafes (20-minute drive from Queenstown)
- 21 Things to Do in Tauranga (a flight away to the North Island, but a great place to visit!
- 28 Best Restaurants in Queenstown
- 6 Best Indian Restaurants in Queenstown
- 45 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Queenstown
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