As much as we love a good wine and dine, it's always fun to shake things up a bit. With a sweeping trend of quirky and entertaining dining experiences hitting Auckland, we've decided to round up the best places to elevate your next date night!
It's no surprise Holey Moley tops this list, considering their skyrocketing success since opening in late 2018–And for good reason. The mini-golf spot is tucked away in the Viaduct Harbour with three levels of quirky courses, full bars, and the latest addition of a private karaoke room. Each course is pop-culture-themed with The Simpson's couch, E.T's bike, and The Flintstone's car, making it extra exciting to get in and get putting. Take a break at The Caddyshack, Holey Moley's very own grub and pub destination. The menu is stacked with burgers, dogs, snacks, and shares to keep your energy levels high and mighty for the next nine holes.
Dice & Fork
Introducing Auckland's first board game bar and eatery. Set up by husband and wife duo, Hayden and Kathy, over their shared love for board games and unique dining experiences. From classics like Jenga and Monopoly to more unusual games like Moral Dilemma and Exploding Kittens, the Victoria Street eatery has more than 150 board games available to play while you wait and eat, free of charge. Dice and Fork has a full wine, beer, and cocktail menu, as well as a full menu of dishes such as tacos, brioche burgers, pork belly, lamb shanks, croquettes, fried chicken, and poutine.
Looking for dinner a show? Head down to Vulcan Lane's Cassette Nine for a good meal and a good time. The legendary bar has been making waves in the city centre for years, inviting artists big and small to play live at Cassette. The atmosphere is always electric, full of people from all walks of life and teapot cocktails all round. Late afternoon proves the best time to stop by for a bite and possibly a drink or two. Gourmet burgers, fried chicken, and roast beetroot salad are what Cassette has become known for, all finished off with a baked NY Cheesecake!
Dr Rudi's Rooftop Brewing Co.
A bowling alley inside a restaurant? You better believe it at Dr Rudi's. Already gaining brownie points for their breath-taking views of the Auckland Harbour, Rudi's has become to go-to after-work hangout, with their awesome rooftop deck, metre-long pizzas, and free-to-use indoor bowling lanes. The brew bar has an extensive menu of tap beers, cocktails, sangrias, spirits, and wines, and a killer food menu with the best pizza you'll ever try, and delicious platters and share plates. Round up the crew and play a few games of tenpin while soaking up the atmosphere at Rudi's.
Permanent pop-up, HeadQuarters on the Viaduct has stood the test of time and firmly planted themselves as one of Auckland's favourite bars. There's so much to see and do, between the huge screenings of sports games and music sessions to the sun loungers and massive chessboards, it's impossible to be bored at HQ. On the menu, you'll find large sharing plates of Mediterranean chicken, market fish, glazed pork rib, Wakanui scotch fillet, as well as a full list of sides, platters, and drinks!
Take a trip over the Hauraki Gulf and arrive at the golden bays of Waiheke Island. Famous for their insane wines and vineyards–Stonyridge is one of the best. Spectacular views, giant palm trees, and sun lounges everywhere, walking up the driveway to Stonyridge instantly transports you to a balmy tropical getaway. This is the premium place to sit back and relax in the sun, with a crisp glass of expertly curated wine in hand and a platter of oysters and antipasti by your side.
Freeman & Grey
Every restaurant should have at least two dance-floors in our opinion, which would explain why we love Freeman & Grey so much. With $5 pizzas, live DJs, and outdoor courtyard, corona-tequila cocktails, and an express lunch menu in the heart of Ponsonby, what more could you possibly want? Head in for an after-work catch up, intimate late arvo lunch, or go big and tackle an infamous Saturday night at Freemans.
Arcade Social Club & Eatery
Step through the doors of Arcade on New North Road and you'll be hit with a tidal wave of nostalgia. The pop-art style eatery has all the classics you probably mastered in the '90s like Pac Man, Daytona USA, Street Fighter II, all free to play with a token for every drink you purchase. Try and peel yourselves away from the screens (if you can) to experience Arcade's famed Chicka fried chicken in every form from wings and boneless pieces to Thai curry and Asian BBQ.
Wild On Waiheke
For the ultimate Waiheke experience that has it all (wine, adventure, and great food) make a stop at Wild On Waiheke! The vineyard has every activity from archery and clay-bird shooting to petanque and trampolining–Perfect for team building, family outings, or just a fun different kind of date! Besides a drinks list that goes for miles, the menu is full of artisan dishes made from fresh quality ingredients like NZ lamb shoulder, kikorangi blue, and market fish. Don't forget to try their world-famous-in-NZ ginger beer!
Looking to amplify the cuteness on your next coffee date? Head to BaristaCats Cafe on Queen Street, home to 13 adorable felines. The cosy cafe doubles as a rescue shelter with cats and kittens from Franklin Cat Rescue, with BaristaCats even having some foster cats available for adoption! For a small fee you're able to enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat (at an extra cost) while being surrounded by curious playful cats. As you get your cat and coffee fix, you'll feel good knowing you're supporting a great cause!
Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
An arcade and diner all in one, the Archie Brothers team are dedicated to making your night-out unlike any other. Dine on American-classics like hot dogs, waffle fries, freak-shakes, and burgers before trying your hand at one of the countless arcade activities. There's an abundance of classic retro arcade games, 4D motion thrill-riders, virtual reality consoles, bumper cars, and a complete bowling alley for you to enjoy.