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The Cosiest Auckland Bars to Warm Up in This Winter

Beat the winter blues with some warming booze.
By Concrete Playground
July 21, 2022
By Concrete Playground
July 21, 2022


Beat the winter blues with some warming booze.

In winter, it's easy to slip into full hibernation mode. This is characterised by pyjama pants, Uggs and an endless cycle of work, Netflix, sleep, repeat. Sound familiar? The good news is there is a remedy — and that's getting out for a few warming beverages with good company. Auckland is known for its vast amount of drinkeries but many are suited to summer waterfront tipples or al fresco dining — so which ones have our backs throughout the colder months?

Whether it be their hard-to-find nature, quietly cool ambience or small size or cosy feel that transcends the weather, we've rounded up our favourite bars to hide from the chill during winter. This winter, do as the Danish do: embrace the concept of hygge and get cosy in these hot spots.


  • 9

    Tucked into the corner of the West Lynn shops, the Gypsy Tea Room’s twinkling fairy lights lure in people from all walks of life with promise of a warm and cosy evening. And once through its doors, people are rarely disappointed. With its low lighting, iron furniture and distressed wallpaper, the Gypsy Tea Room treads the fine line between sophistication and comfort, much like the front room of a grand old dame. Friendly barkeeps craft impeccable cocktails served in teapots, with a small but elegant selection of tapas to accompany them if you so desire. Do not let the flighty name fool you; brimming with attention to detail, quality creations and warm service, this is a neighbourhood watering hole with firm roots and is hopefully here for many more 2am closing times.

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  • 8

    For around 20 years, this wee gem has been on the corner of Wolfe and Federal Streets, but it’s remained one of Auckland’s best-kept secrets. With four tables and a handful of pews at the bar, Mo’s fits around 20 people, making it the perfect place for an intimate tête-à-tête. Its diminutive size, lends itself to the sense of finding yourself in a super secret club, adding to the fun and thrill of discovery. Unlike Moes Tavern (of The Simpsons infamy), Mo’s staff uphold the bar’s status as “the friendliest in Auckland,” while their array of classic cocktails (margarita, whiskey sour, martini) keeps their loyal clientele happy.

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  • 7

    Descending down the stairs into this dimly lit cocktail bar feels like you’re entering another world — a much warmer one than the windchill whistling down Ponsonby Road. With a name that is slang for strong liquor, Deadshot takes aspects of what makes its older sibling Caretaker so successful — an atmospheric aesthetic, tables for six or less and a preference for concocting drinks based on individual tastes or idiosyncrasies — and adds a vintage twist. Hidden beside a nondescript door beside Freeman and Grey, the aim of Deadshot is to evoke an authentic speakeasy. With a melange of vintage curios and oddities, a myriad of spirits from all over the world and cocktail recipes dating back to the 1800s, it would seem they’ve hit a bullseye.

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  • 6
    Pineapple on Parnell

    Get your swank on in Parnell’s Pineapple. Join Auckland’s finest as they wine and dine in the extravagant cocktail lounge, with its lavish interior, dim lighting and high-end cocktail list, this snug bar makes for the perfect winter date spot. Put your glad rags on and head to 207 Parnell Road to suss it out.

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  • 5

    Step into Grey Lynn’s local watering hole and you’ll feel right at home. It is the perfect blend of bustling bar and upbeat restaurant. With its quirky Monday quiz nights and 50c chicken wings, you’ll want to stay all night long. Now, if that’s not enticing enough for you, then how about pulling up a pew on the outdoor deck and perch in front of the open wood fire. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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  • 4

    Galbraith’s is an institution, brewing it’s own beers independently for over twenty years. If you take a wander through the giant old building, you can see some of the brewery equipment. If you’re more interested in drinking, have a look at the giant chalkboards behind the bar to see what’s on tap for the day and how strong each pour will be.  It’s a great location if there’s a gig going on across the street at The Powerstation, but equally good for a Sunday session (and stay for the cheap Sunday roasts). They have internal heaters going for the next couple months so suffice to say you’ll stay nice and toasty, even when knocking back a cold one.

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  • 3
    The Portland Public House

    Known as one of Auckland’s best live music venues, Portland Public House is the perfect place to fill your gut with tasty pub grub and a good old fashioned pint. With a selection of artists playing seven days a week, you could make this bar a home away from home. With sayings like this on their website ‘Drinks are not just to quench your thirst but to quench the soul’, it’s like they just get us.

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  • 2

    This underground bar is perpetually bathed in the amber glow of the 600 whiskeys and bourbons on their shelves. Boasting everything from your garden-variety Jack Daniels to whiskey that was shot into space, it’s fair to say even the most learned whiskey aficionados are likely to find something new. With a cool jazz soundtrack and clusters of wingback chairs, this is a place that very much lends itself to a sophisticated winter’s evening spent in conversation. If you’re unsure of what to talk about, head along to one of The Jefferson’s tastings to learn about what you’re drinking and compare notes.

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  • 1
    The Fox

    At the first sign of threatening weather, gather your best group of drinking buddies and head straight for this British-themed watering hole. The fit-out pays homage to the Queen’s England — certified experts in grim weather— with leather sofas aplenty and a bright red telephone box in the corner. In fact, you’ll even spot the lady herself keeping an eye on things from prime position on the wall. Sans any black cabs, we recommend Ubering down, nabbing a cosy corner, ordering a few rounds and staying put until the skies clear.

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