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7 BEST Bars in Queenstown

7 BEST Bars in Queenstown

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Queenstown’s social atmosphere is epic, so it’s no wonder there are lots of great bars to check out in Queenstown, New Zealand. This is a complete list of the BEST bars in Queenstown including information on what makes each bar so special. 

Queenstown is one of the best places in New Zealand to head out on the town both day and night. The town’s small center is filled with awesome bars. From the humble tradies bar to the more extravagant and luxurious ones, there is guaranteed to be a bar in Queenstown that will suit your taste and style.

On Friday and Saturday nights, thousands of people head out for a night they will (or won’t) remember. But, during the week the party continues as holidaymakers head out for a drink themselves. It’s safe to say experiencing Queenstown’s nightlife is one of the best things to do in Queenstown!

However, the tricky part is knowing where to go.

With so many bars around Queenstown, it can be hard to determine which one you should go to. This can be especially important if you’re not in Queenstown for long! In this blog, I outline all the best bars in Queenstown including what you expect in terms of food, vibe, and atmosphere.

7 BEST Bars in Queenstown, New Zealand

1. Smiths Craft Beer House

Poutine at Smiths Craft Beer House, Queenstown
That is one tasty Poutine!
  • Hours: Thursday to Sunday 12 pm – 1 am, Monday to Wednesday 3 pm – 1 am

Smiths Craft Beer House is one of my favorite places to go when I want to try some new beers. These guys change their taps regularly and have a HUGE selection of beers both on tap (36 to be exact) and bottled.

The best way to describe Smiths is as an old-school pub. Wooden Bar, beers on tap, burgers on the menu, and local staff who share your passion for beer. Smiths has a chilled-out atmosphere and you can really come here for a good night out with friends and enjoy music from the 90s. From the outdoor patio, there is even a decent view of the mountains!

Beers do range a lot in price but expect to pay around $8-9 NZD for a good pint of craft beer! They even have a $30 paddle that comes with 6 different craft beers of your choice and hopefully, you’ll find a new favorite!

Smiths is a small place but I can’t recommend this place enough if you want to try some of New Zealand’s best craft beers along with some top-notch bar food. Also, Bailey has informed me they have the best Poutine she has had outside of Canada as they actually serve it with real cheese curds which is just another reason why it’s made our best bars in Queenstown list along with our best food in Queenstown guide!

Related Read: Attention, all foodies visiting New Zealand, you’re gonna want to check out this list of the best restaurants in Queenstown.

2. Bar 1876

Bar 1876 in Queenstown
Bar 1876 in Queenstown on a summer day!
  • Hours: Monday to Saturday 12 pm – 4 am, Sunday 12 pm – 12 am

1876 is a rather large bar in what was once a former courthouse located on the edge of the town center. They have a large indoor and outdoor seating area with fairy lights and they also have heaters for those cold nights!

Every day, you can get $5 beers, wine, and mixers (and between 4 to 6 pm, they’re only $4!) On a sunny day, this place gets busy and is the place to be for a good time.

This famous Queenstown bar is very popular with locals or those on a budget. It’s for sure one of the cheapest bars in Queenstown and they offer specials on a very wide range of drinks as well as daily food specials, there’s not much that’s over $20 NZD! The Buttermilk Chicken Burger and the Fish and Chips are some of the most popular picks from their menu and there’s also a range of vegetarian options.

Bar 1876 attracts a very young crowd and if you’re up for a party day or night 1876 is a great choice! At night from Sunday to Wednesday, they have live music.

3. The World Bar

The front of The World Bar Queenstown
World Bar!
  • Hours: Monday to Wednesday 4 pm – late, Thursday- Sunday 11:30 am – late

World Bar would be Queenstown’s most trendy bar, it set itself apart after building back from the ground up after a fire in 2013. I love coming here on weeknights as it always draws a crowd and a good vibe. They have live music from local DJs as it gets late and it has one of the best cocktail menus in Queenstown – my personal favorite is the Crazy Kiwi. This cocktail is made with the local fruit Kiwi and it is delicious!

They often host parties and events so who knows what might be going on when you stop in!

World Bar also has an amazing food menu – some of the stuff looks more like artwork than edible food but they also have the classics too, let me say, their burgers are no pushovers and priced only around $20 NDZ including fries! Vegans will also be delighted with the selections.

The atmosphere in the bar can be quite loud at night so it’s not for those romantic dates! As I said, this place is trendy and the crowd here is young!

Hot Tip: On Wednesdays, there’s a silent disco!

Related Read: Have you checked out Heidi’s Hut in Queenstown yet? They have a mountain-side dining experience you don’t want to miss!

4. Yonder

Burgers at Yonder, Queenstown
Burgers at Yonder, Queenstown
  • Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 8 am – late, Wednesday 8 am – 3 pm, closed Monday and Tuesday. *Currently hours are reduced, check google for updates.

Yonder is another very trendy bar in Queenstown and it’s conveniently located right next to the World Bar. Yonder is actually a café at the front and a bar out the back and their brunch is incredible, order one of their skillets or french toast and thank me later! I honestly don’t know if I like coming here more for a coffee or a beer, but regardless you can’t go wrong at Yonder.

The crowd here is a little more laidback than at World Bar and you will often find lots of people working from their laptops in the designated “workspace”, we do the same, we love coming here and the aesthetics are so tranquil (of course until evening comes)!

The bar often has live music and a huge selection of ciders and beers on tap including famous NZ brands like Emersons Brewery and Macs Craft Beer. Their cocktail list is so fun, the “Slow Breakfast Martini” is a perfect fresh brunch pairing! They also have both afternoon and late-night daily happy hours. The afternoon one runs from 3-6 pm and the late night starts at 9:30 and goes until 11 pm.

Yonder easily made our list of the best bars in Queenstown!

5. Atlas Bar

The taps at Atlas Bar, Queenstown
Beers, Beers, Beers!
  • Hours: Monday and Wednesday to Friday 4 pm – 1 am, Saturday and Sunday 12 pm – 1 am, closed Tuesday.

Atlas is another craft beer bar in Queenstown that is a bit hidden because they are located at the back of Steamer Wharf right on the water so the place is perfect on a warm summer day or night out, make sure to take a picture of the Kiwi bird statue out on the deck!

The small bar makes meeting others easy and the staff knows their stuff when it comes to beer. These guys also have a really good stock and selection of beer that’s constantly changing and they serve very boutique New Zealand and local craft beers. They also let you taste a range of beers before you buy so you can see what you like and pick tasty beers all night.

They don’t have a huge menu for food but serve some bar favorites like fried chicken or jalapeno poppers, however, they are known for their $20 NZD Rump Steak! Make sure to check out the list of specials, they have different discounts from Monday to Thursday.

Atlas is unique because you can even bring your dog and order an Atlas Steak off the Dog Menu!

6. Cowboys

Cowboys bar, Queenstown
  • Hours: Everyday 3 pm – 4 am

Cowboys is a country-themed bar that is usually the life of the party. When other bars are closed Cowboys is usually pumping. This bar is not elegant or fancy but it does have a lot of amazing details, it is a place to come party and have a night you won’t remember. While it is a country bar the music selection is a bit all over the place but I think the aim here is just to keep the atmosphere upbeat.

They also have a mechanical bull that gets fired up most nights and a free pool table (hold it with your ID and some cash)! They serve 1-liter beers and pizza, what could be better on a night out? Some nights at random they even give out free snacks and pizzas if you’ve made a purchase.

When I head out in Queenstown I seem to always end up at Cowboys, but it’s located right in town so I guess that’s a good thing!

Related Read: After you’ve recovered from bar hopping check out the best tours in Queenstown!

7. Attiqa Wine Bar

Attiqa Wine Bar Queenstown
Attiqa Wine Bar Queenstown
  • Hours: Friday and Saturday 7 pm – 2 am

Attiqa is an elegant gin and cocktail bar located upstairs from the main walking street. It can be easy to miss this place so keep an eye out for a small door near the corner of Mall St and Rees Street.

Attiqa is a bar suited to those who enjoy soft live music and that slightly more luxurious touch! They’re known for finding very talented local artists who set a really nice vibe and get the drinks flowing

On the top level, they have the most gorgeous outdoor sundeck that serves drinks with amazing views until 10 pm. Downstairs they are known as the live music bar of Queenstown with a fancy side.

If you like wine then Antique is definitely your top pick as they have a massive selection of wines from around the world. Oh, and they serve creative cocktails and a slew of specialty gins! I recommend “The Last Straw… Berry” if you have a sweet tooth, if you like classics you can bank on their Espresso Martini or the Kentucky Nectar with gin being excellent. Their happy hour will get you 20% off all alcohol.

Their menu is made up of some delicious Mediterranean flavored tapas (the Lamb Kofta is unreal!) and a few different sharable charcuterie platters. They stop serving food at 10 pm.

Related Read: Speaking of wine, Queenstown wineries and wine tours are some of the best in all of New Zealand because it is near the Central Otago region which is the perfect climate for vineyards.

Bar Hop in Queenstown

HAving fun at an ice bar
Dan and I having fun at the ice bar!

If you’re really looking to sample from some of the best bars and breweries in Queenstown opting for a beer tour or bar crawl is a great way to go! Not only do you not have to worry about transportation but you may end up meeting new people while hopping around and have yourself a fun night.

Queenstown Craft Beer Tour – This 4-5 hour tour will visit 4 different locations in and on the outskirts of Queenstown including Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley. You are able to learn how each place makes their beers and be offered samples of what’s on tap. If you aren’t much for beer there are also wine or cider samples you can try from each brewery instead. For 13 samples and transport, this tour is one of the best!

Queenstown Bar Crawl – A great way to save some money on a night out is by booking this pub crawl. For $30 NDZ you get 5 free shots and free pizza! Each bar included in the crawl will also have a special discount for you.

Queenstown Ice Bar Crawl – Have you ever drank at an ice bar? Well, this bar crawl stops at the Ice Bar and includes the $35 admission fee in the ticket for just $40 NDZ it’s really a no-brainer! You’ll stop at 4 other bars and get 5 free shots and pizza during the night.

Other Activities to do While You’re in Queenstown

Bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw on our way back from Queenstown best bike tour
Riding the TSS Earnslaw!

Other than bar hopping, there are lots of other amazing things to do in and around Queenstown. Some of my favorites are:

  • Ride the gondola – The gondola in Queenstown is an iconic activity that takes you up the side of a mountain to Bob’s Peak high above Queenstown. The view is insane, especially if you stay for sunset. And at the top of the gondola, you’ll also find the Luge, a unique go-cart-like experience that’s powered by gravity. I recommend buying combo tickets for the gondola AND the Luge!
  • Visit a sheep farm  – New Zealand has more sheep than people, so you must visit a sheep farm while here! But hey, why not do it in style? This Walter Peak Farm Tour includes a cruise in the TSS Earnslaw (a vintage steamship!) to this picturesque seaside farm. Once there, you’ll enjoy a tasty meal of high-end barbequed meats or seafood- buffet style. Cap things off with the choice of desserts and cheeses. Afterward, you’ll watch a sheep shearing demonstration or a sheepdog show.
  • Take a scenic food and wine tour The Queenstown area is a foodie heaven, with incredible wine and cuisine that you just have to try. And on this day tour, you’ll sip wine from New Zealand’s largest wine cave, be served a gourmet lunch, and indulge in local cheeses – all with an epic view to boot!

Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

Bailey takes a selfie with a JUCY campervan
Ready to hit the road!
Bailey stands infront of a JUCY campervan in New Zealand
JUCY is another favorite!

The first step to planning your New Zealand road trip is choosing your set of wheels! Most people rent a campervan or motorhome to get around, but you can also just rent a normal car and stay in hotels (as opposed to camping.)

You can search for rental cars online with Discover Cars in advance to compare car models and prices. We’ve used this website all over the world and if you want more details, read our honest review of Discover Cars for more details!

You can also do this with motorhomes and campervans on a website called Motorhome Republic. It shows all of the available campervans and motorhomes for your specific New Zealand road trip dates. You can compare prices and company reviews here too!

JUCY is our personal favorite campervan rental company in NZ. We love JUCY because they have such a range of both cars and campervans available, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something to suit your budget and travel style.

We’ve actually secured an exclusive discount code for our readers with JUCY. Just click here to browse their availability and use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off! What a good deal!

You can check prices, availability and book with JUCY online here.

Star RV is another company we personally recommend but specifically for motorhomes! They offer larger motorhomes (as opposed to budget campervans) at really reasonable rates.

Star RV has actually given us a discount code for our readers too! Use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off your motorhome rental! Note, this code is only valid for bookings made before June 21, 2024 with travel dates before Dec 21, 2024. Click here to browse availability, prices, and book with our discount code!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey enjoy a drink on a sunny day
Cheers!

It isn’t just the nightlife that makes bar-hopping in Queenstown great, during one of Queenstown’s sunny days, a whole heap of bars become the perfect place to soak up some rays and enjoy yourself in one of the most scenic places in the world!

Queenstown’s day and nightlife are part of the reason why so many fall in love with this rather small town. Across only a few streets, you can find so many different bars to suit everyone’s taste. This list above is our personal favorites with a wide variety of styles. It’s the perfect list for any visitor and a gateway to your own best bars in Queenstown list!

Thanks so much for reading! If you liked this blog then please jump over to our official Queenstown page or New Zealand page, here you can find lots of great guides to help you plan your trip! Or check out some of our other New Zealand reads below:

Free and cheap things to do in Queenstown

Queenstown breweries on a craft beer tour

Foodies bucket-list in Queenstown

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