Queenstown's Six Best Secret Bars (You Need To Find)

Updated: Sep 9, 2019


Biggest and brightest doesn't necessarily mean best. Queenstown is full of cool venues, bars, pubs and restaurants all vying for the attention and custom of tourists that it's often hard to decide where to visit during your stay. We're not saying this is a bad thing at all but it does mean sometimes the more hidden and less obvious spots are accidentally overlooked, and often these are some of the coolest, quirkiest and unique venues that it'd be a damn shame not to add them to your itinerary. Worry not, we've taken it upon ourselves to search out, hunt down and discover Queenstown's best hidden bars so you don't miss them on your next trip.



1. The Blue Door


If you haven't made it to Arrowtown yet, then consider this just another one of the many reasons it's definitely worth visiting. Tucked away down a wee alley just below Dorothy Browns cinema you will find The Blue Door bar. You should be able to spot it by its, well... blue door! This place takes top spot for the area's best small bar by far. The intimate rustic vibe and cosy space makes for an awesome spot to enjoy a few drinks with your mates or check out some live music. Each Wednesday night the Blue Door holds and open-mic style live music evening starting from 8:30pm. Local and visiting artists can share their talent with the patrons of this jam packed little venue. Make sure to get a spot early as the place literally fills up quickly.


How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.



2. Tanoshi


In Japanese Tanoshi means 'fun', and this place sure delivers this and much, much more! Arguably Queenstown's funnest dinning experience, this traditional Japanese tepan sake bar has such great energy and atmosphere that it's well worth adding to your list of must visit spots. The staff here are so welcoming that walking through the door you instantly feel like an old friend and not just another customer. Conveniently located in central Queenstown you will be forgiven for missing this place during your stay. Located in a narrow laneway, this tiny venue is super small and very popular among those in the know, so make sure you book a table in advance (no bookings are taken during the winter months). The food, which is tapas style sharing dishes, is fantastic and cooked fresh and the drinks menu is extensive. Ask the amazing staff for recommendations, try a sake, shochu, Japanese whisky or stick with wine & beer, either way you are bound to enjoy your visit!


How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.


3. 1789 Wine & Jazz Bar


If you are looking for something with a more stylish vibe, make sure to add Queenstown's only jazz bar to your list. 1789's style is inspired by a mix of (as the name references) the French Revolution and the prohibition era. Live jazz takes place on Friday and Saturday nights each week for those wanting to get their 'soulful' fix and the bar is open seven days a week for drinks and tapas. The bar staff here can whip up all manner of cocktails and drink concoctions. If you are looking to step outside your comfort zone and try something a little different to your usual poison, have a chat with the team and sample something a little more unique. With decor that is unlike anywhere else in Queenstown, this is one place that not only makes you feel like you have travelled somewhere else in the world but also to another era in time. This spot is also the perfect excuse to lose the outdoor wear and slap on some of your fancier attire.


How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.


4. Searchlight Brewery


One of the more recent additions to the Queenstown craft beer scene, Searchlight brewery is fast gathering cult status among beer loving locals. Chances are if you are visiting Queenstown you are not going to just stumble across this place on your aimless meanderings. Set on the outskirts of Queenstown's center and tucked away in the industrial area, this wee spot is well hidden out of sight of the tourist stream. Don't let its industrial setting put you off though as this place is a beer brewing oasis. A stacked list of (rotating) beer styles on tap as well as a couple of guest brews will have any beer lover in absolute heaven. A great assortment of food available, a cranking wood fireplace, board games and and 80's style arcade machine makes this one of the best spots in town to stay toasty during the cooler months whilst an awesome wee beer garden makes for the perfect spot to hangout and socialise when the sun is shining.


How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.


5. The Sundeck Rooftop Bar


You will most likely hear this place before you see it. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Queenstown is the hustle and bustle of the Queenstown rooftop bar scene. If you are walking down the right street at the right time on a fine weather eve you will no doubt ask yourself where the party (you'll hear it) is at... just look up!. As the sun begins to set over Lake Wakatipu and the day comes to an end, the party begins! Winding your way up a couple of flights of stairs you'll find yourself looking out over one of the best views in Queenstown with stylish lounges, gas heaters a well stocked bar and (at the right time) a DJ busting some 'fresh as' tasty jams. Make sure to get in early if you want to grab a seat as later on a nice night this place is standing room only.


How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.



6. Reds



Unless you are staying at Queenstown's funky, QT Hotel or dining at Bazaar you would be forgiven for not being aware of this hot little night spot! Elevated above street level and with uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu, Reds (like Sundeck) is one of Queenstown's best bars for sunset drinks. The modern/trendy style brings an urban feel to the Queenstown mountain setting. Perfect for a pre/post (or both) dinner drink or just the perfect spot to catch up with mates over a drink after a day on the mountain, Reds is going to be your new favourite spot! It's perfectly positioned just outside the main hub of Queenstown (still within a ten minute walk) that it is not just stumbled upon by passersby. Looking for that big city feel with big mountain views? Look no further!


How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.




This is just a wee taste of some of the more hidden venues around Queenstown that are well worth seeking out during your stay. There are still plenty of more spots waiting to be discovered, especially if you are looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a quiet drink on your own or with your mates.


Get exploring!

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