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Head to this new rooftop bar for exclusive party vibes, strong cocktails and panoramic views across the harbour.
By Stephen Heard
February 13, 2019
By Stephen Heard
February 13, 2019

If there's anywhere in Auckland that feels like you're walking into somewhere you're not supposed to be, it's the rooftop bar at SO/ Auckland. Named HI-SO, the bar and its exclusive party atmosphere can be found on the 16th floor of the new luxury inner city hotel which occupies the former Reserve Bank on Customs Street.

HI-SO is perhaps the highest outdoor rooftop bar in Auckland, which becomes apparent as you peer into neighbouring skyscrapers and feast your eyes on the panoramic view across Waitemata Harbour — the biggest drawcard and difference to any other rooftop bar in Auckland.

The innards are just as flashy as the view; Benny Castles of local fashion label World spent three years sourcing everything from the artwork to wallpaper designs. The result sees a huge neon lighting feature splashed across the wall, plush leather lounges dotted around the floor and four-seater couches perched on their ends in a trade-off of functionality for flair.

Accessible to the general public as well as paying guests, the spacious bar and giant balcony space is the perfect destination for after work drinks, vino-fuelled catch ups or a romantic rendezvous. On this occasion the crowd was combination of well-dressed preppy locals and casual tourists. Head there in time for the sun dipping over the harbour for maximum brownie points, order something off the cocktail list and watch the space turn into a dance floor with the arrival of the resident DJs.

Our picks from the $18 signature cocktail list are the Gulf Spritzer, a lighter take on the Aperol spritz, and the Sunset Gun, a smoky sour-style beverage made with pineapple rum, oakum gunpowder and maple syrup. All the classics are there too, including the regionally inspired J.A.F.E Martini (just another f***ing espresso martini), to all your margaritas, negronis, daiquiris and sazeracs. The best part is that if you'd like to work your way through the list, there are always rooms available downstairs. Of course, there's craft beer and a decent range of wine too. Generous imbibers could even pair the multimillion-dollar view with a $650 bottle of Champagne from Reims.

In the sustenance department, the bar offers snacks from oysters to fried chicken. For a full meal, head to 15th floor restaurant Harbour Society for the craft of chef Marc de Passorio and his crayfish dish created for Putin.

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