Gone are the days of crawling out of the office into darkness and unnecessarily cold weather. Summer means an abundance of daylight and an excuse to head outside for a drink in the sun after work. Auckland is bustling with hidden hotspots all over the city, the tricky part is knowing where to go. Step away from the emails, sling back a sangria, and watch the sun go down with our top list of after-work summer dinner spots.
Pocket Bar & Kitchen
A hidden gem tucked away into the busy Kingsland precinct, Pocket Bar & Kitchen is a wonder of European delights and electric energy. Offering a unique space to soak up some rays over a delicious meal and vibrant cocktails. Score a table in the sunny courtyard or cosy up indoors and opt for a round of share plates and handcrafted cocktails or anything from the curated wine list. Central to the city, Pocket Bar is a crowd-pleaser in every way.
A classic Ponsonby institution – The Cav is perfect for anything from lunch to dinner and even a bit of a dance floor for those more inclined to hang around into the night. Whether you choose to sit on the spacious deck or inside, the lively atmosphere and laughs aren’t in short supply here. If you’re hunting for an after-work snack or even just a drink, The Cav is your one-stop accommodating destination. The extensive menu was overhauled by Eugene Hamilton from Euro, creating an array of modern cuisine options. Sit outside, grab a craft beer (or two), and order one of their great sharing platters to forget your day at the office.
The Gyoza Bar
Get your dumpling fix the Japanese way. The Gyoza Bar is the perfect spot for dinner if you’re a lover of authentic Japanese food and drink. Sit outside on the wooden benches or absorb the atmosphere inside. This restaurant has the stylish and intimate interior that makes it a great destination for two or a small group. Gyoza are fried Japanese dumplings, yet thin and fluffier than the Chinese ones you’d find on Dominion Road. Gyoza are available in five delicious flavours. Sake is the perfect companion to your dinner, while the bartenders also whip up sake cocktails if you’re in the mood for an extra treat. Swap your normal espresso martini for The Samurai Espresso and you’ll see why sake gets such a good wrap!
Chu Thai Eatery
If you're looking for an easy people pleaser to accomodate your whole crew, Chu Thai Eatery is the spot. New to the established Ponsonby Road, Chu Thai has successfully woven its way into the culture with the introduction of vegan options and a BYO feature. From the very classics that made you fall in love with Thai cuisine to chef specials and plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, Chu Thai really is a no-brainer for a big group. If you're not wanting to commit all the way to the BYO, Chu Thai has an impressive drinks list with extensive wines, beers, spirits, bubbles, and non-alcoholic options, including Affogato, fresh coconut water, and Thai iced tea.
Welcome to a little piece of Northern France! Spilling its seating onto the streets of Howick, make The Apothecary your next dinner hot-spot. The 1950’s vintage original style of the interior sets up a fun atmosphere to pair with the wholesome food these guys have on offer. Expect delicious daily deals (all you can eat ribs!), signature burgers, and an extensive pizza menu for the books.
Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen
Serving up some of the best craft brews and American bites in Auckland, the former denim factory is an industrial-chic stop to add to your summer bucket list. The gigantic deck makes the Sales Street location a hidden gem of the city, and perfect for any size of group you’re wanting to sling along. Sweat Shop’s menu makes you want to farewell any idea of a diet or staying clean as the pork ribs dripping in barbeque sauce, falls off the bone and is completely drool-worthy. Order a side of their chunky mac and cheese bites with smoked paprika aioli and you’ll be in store for a good night. Sail in later in the week to also enjoy some live music as you watch the sun go down.
Sad to head to the four walls of your lounge after a long day? Head out east to Grangers Tap House & Kitchen for delicious and casual dining. The light-filled space looks out onto the marina at the boats and also gives you the option to dine outside as you enjoy a beer and a great meal. Lovers of a steak or fresh seafood will find themselves very comfortable here as the surf and turf is plentiful. Pop over on a Sunday evening to discover some live music as you enjoy the food and seaside view.
Put a little spring in your step after the office and head down to Britomart’s hidden gem of energy - Seven. This little rooftop location will tempt you with creative cocktails, dumplings, and baos. With Ebisu’s head chef curating the menu, you know you’re in for a treat. Look out over the Waitemata Harbour as you order an array to delicious bites perfect for sharing. The popcorn shrimp with sriracha mayo is always a crowd-pleaser.
La Fourchette - or ‘the fork’ in French - is known for everything from quality to ambiance. With just one minutes walk to the beach, this really is a lovely afternoon destination. Their modern take on classic French cuisine is deliciously refreshing and will satisfy you whatever you order. The Galettes are a savoury style filled pancake and are a crowd-pleaser. If you’re sticking around for dinner we also recommend squeezing in a hazelnut and caramel crepe.
Step away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD, while still being in the CBD. Ortolana strikes that perfect balance of classy and casual with seats spilling onto the brick pavement of Britomart's Pavilion, for soaking up the sun or rugging up in the supplied blankets under the fairy lights. With local produce and a contemporary European menu, The Hip Group once again fails to disappoint with a menu as equally delightful as its ambiance.
Non Solo Pizza
A hidden gem in Parnell, Non Solo Pizza has the food, atmosphere, and service for a special evening. Slip through the narrow front entrance from Parnell Road and find the sophisticated outdoor courtyard in all its glory. It’s always a social occasion at Non Solo Pizza, with more intimate tables for a drink or tables to accommodate your party through dinner. The menu is overwhelming but rest assured you can’t make a bad ordering option with NSP’s authentic Southern-Italian dishes. The pappardelle pasta with veal, mushrooms, parmesan, and truffle oil is really a showstopper and makes the decision to order a wine an absolute no-brainer.