In this regular column, our Editor-in-Chief embraces her long-held passion for dining, sharing the unexpected, fascinating and delicious experiences from restaurants, bars, pops-up and cheap and cheerful spots all across the country. Here, she reveals the best of Auckland’s rooftop bars to visit.
Things are looking up when it comes to Auckland’s rooftop scene, where elevated views are the name of the game, capitalising on what can often be unused space on top of buildings. It would seem we’re taking our cues from the world’s biggest metropolises like New York and Tokyo with a plethora of stylish and supremely cosmopolitan outposts popping-up all over the City, each offering unobstructed views of our sparkling harbour and the islands beyond.
Inspired by rooftop bars around the world and created with a desire to celebrate the spectacular beauty of Auckland’s unique and varied landscape from above, Sunset was designed as a place to which us city-dwellers could escape after a long day. Here, satiating drinks and tasty food collide in a sumptuous setting designed by the renowned team at CTRL Space, who paired inviting pastel shades and tactile touches of timber, tiles and stone with curved ceiling details and banquettes — a nod to the 1970s although with a distinctly contemporary feel.
Whether you’re seeking a cosy, after-work drink or a convivial catch up with friends, Palmer’s inviting interior gives way to a sweeping terrace that provides the perfect al fresco spot to revel in a beautiful afternoon. And even as the sun goes down, a roaring fire takes centre-stage outdoors, offering night-long warmth for those who choose to indulge in another round.
An early proponent of Auckland’s burgeoning rooftop bar scene, HI-SO opened back in 2019 at the top of SO/Auckland. The east-facing bar is complete with an outdoor terrace which takes in a stunning view of Rangitoto and the Hauraki Gulf, while the design is a showcase of the creative talents of Marcel Wanders and his eclectic Moooi furniture and lighting brand. Expect light bites and delectable cocktails served with the upbeat sounds from regular DJ sets at this perfect-for-after-work-drinks spot.
Proudly carrying the title of the highest bar in the country, located thirty-eight floors above Auckland, Bar Albert is proof that the best bar of this kind considers all elements of its offering, its focus firmly on what Auckland’s thirsty punters are really there for — a tempting list of cocktails and delectable snacks. The expansive outlook across the City is just a bonus. Bar Albert’s cocktail menu finds inspiration in the recognisable streets below with cocktails like Napier Street, Chancery Street, and Market Place, or the signature Eden Crescent cocktail, featuring The Roots dry gin, yellow chartreuse, house-made pistachio and rosewater orgeat syrup and a spray of rhubarb bitters, served in a coupe glass and garnished with dried rose petal. It truly is a delicious tipple.
Rooftop at QT
Positioned to take in the afternoon sun, and with a panoramic view across the bobbing boats of Viaduct Harbour, the Rooftop at QT has fast become a popular haunt on a beautiful day. An extensive cocktail menu and delicious bar snacks make this the ideal spot to soak up some sun. And if you stay for a nightcap you’ll get the added advantage of witnessing the City as it magically transforms into a twinkling urban landscape.