Looking for a change of scene for an after-work tipple or relaxing glass of wine? You’re in luck: these three new bars in different parts of the city cover cocktails, coffee, natural wine and more.
Simplicity is king at No.7, Jack Young’s new spot on Pitt Street near Karangahape Road. Recognisable from a three-year stint managing front of house at Orphans Kitchen, Young had been keen to do his own thing for a while. When the opportunity arose, he took the chance to create a relaxed venue that’s a good stop-off point for a weekday coffee or a drink on the weekend.
The space seats 18 inside and a few more on shared tables outside. While the interior is pared back, high ceilings and clean lines keep it feeling airy rather than poky, with orb-like lampshades suspended from the ceiling.
From Monday to Thursday, No.7 is open 7am until 3pm for Coffee Supreme filter and espresso, and a small food menu that includes tuna melt and veggie melt sandwiches and other snacks.
On Friday and Saturday nights, Young opens No.7 at 5pm, pledging it as a late-night destination until 2am. For those looking for a wee-hours nightcap, here’s your place.
Drinks-wise, there’s natural wine and beer on tap, plus a concise bottled selection that includes prosecco. On-menu cocktails include a Negroni, Espresso Martini, Margarita and Amaro Highball. It’s important to Young that there are comparatively affordable options on offer, so you can order a glass of organic wine for $12 to $14, and there’s a happy hour that includes $10 prosecco and tap beer on the weekends.
No.7’s in a great location that might be easily overlooked due to the City Rail Link construction that surrounds the street. Don’t let that stop you from seeking it out as a worthy pit stop.
7/59 Pitt Street, Newton.
The curved, soaring shape of the former West Plaza building is one of Auckland CBD’s most iconic heritage structures. Now known as 1 Albert Street, it has been undergoing substantial renovations over the last couple of years that wrapped up with the opening of bar and restaurant Palmer in June.
The venue was designed by Australian studio Acme & Co (Margaret, Fred’s, Mimi’s) in what is the company’s very first New Zealand project. Head to the curved outdoor terrace for a drink and bite surrounded by downtown Auckland’s skyscrapers, or slide into a comfortable rounded booth in the light-flooded interior. A warmly neutral palette is calming and tonal, with pops of colour from abstract wall-mounted art.
Bar manager Nathan Cooper has created a cocktail menu that highlights seasonal and local ingredients. There’s the Manuka Martini, mixed with New Zealand-made Roots Marlborough gin, dry vermouth and manuka liqueur; or the Satsuma Noir – comprising L’Opera bitter orange aperitif by Hawke’s Bay maker Hastings Distillers, it’s finished with sweet vermouth and mandarin soda.
When it comes to the food menu, chef James Kenny’s sharing plates are loosely inspired by Greek and Italian cuisine. A dish of kefalograviera cheese is served with peppered figs, while chicken liver parfait comes with smoked beetroot and woodfired bread. The smoked kahawai croquettes with seaweed tartare and chives are proving popular, and there’s a juicy bavette steak with black garlic, celeriac and native herbs.
1 Albert Street, Auckland CBD
Another familiar face in Auckland’s hospitality scene, Evelin Stjepanek previously managed several venues including Brothers Beer, Verona and Annabel’s before taking over Est. 1901 – a Ponsonby cocktail bar that first opened in 2018. Having signed on as a business partner in April, she’s now breathing new life into the venue, which reopened mid-June.
With Stjepanek at the helm, Est. 1901 has evolved into both a cocktail and wine bar, with a menu of tasty house-made bites to share. “We try our best to be as sustainable as we can be,” says Stjepanek of the food and drink offering. This means that, as well as the classics, there are vegan gin and whisky sours available for those who want to order them, as well as vegan truffle butter to go with your sourdough. A self-professed wine-lover, Stjepanek has curated a wine list that aims to cater to both the novice and the connoisseur, spanning New Zealand and international drops.
Located right next to iconic Ponsonby Italian restaurant Prego, the bar’s 40-seat space takes cues from a bygone era. It has a welcoming, cosy feel with a wooden fireplace, antique-inspired furniture and exposed brick. Moving forward, Stjepanek has plans for regular Sunday sessions, with guest DJs and more of a party vibe.
224 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby