A Great Night Out In Britomart, Auckland

There are a lot of bars and restaurants around Britomart Place in Auckland. I wanted to have a great night out in Britomart, without having to walk around (in the rain!) too much, and while showing off some of the best to visitors from out of town.

We didn’t want anything too exclusive: just a great night out. Here’s how we did it.

Pre-dinner cocktails at Talulah

You have to push through the buzz of The Chamberlain (craft beer and sports bar) and head upstairs to find Talulah. Once there, you have harbour views on one side and a bright pink wall which more than hints “tiki bar”.

talulah tiki bar happy hour

We hit a three-hour happy hour with a half-dozen cocktails on $10 special. And in Auckland right now, that is not something to be sniffed at. They seemed to make the economy work: our cocktails were small, but well mixed and tasty; rather than full-sized and watered down.

I polished off a espresso martini, while others enjoyed their maitais and a passionfruit Tom Collins.

The atmosphere was bubbly and loud with people meeting for pre-dinner drinks, and in some cases catching up after long covid-inspired absences. Service staff seemed inexperienced, but it seems the bartenders knew their craft. And that’s what’s important when kicking off a night out.

Alternative: The Chamberlain

It’s literally in the same building, so you can’t get lost! At ground floor level, The Chamberlain better caters for those who like to start their evening with a beer rather than a cocktail. With dark wood everywhere, its design is modern British gastropub but its taps serve local craft beers.

We had heavy showers coming through, but managed to dodge them as we crossed the square for dinner.

Lux fish dinner at Kingi

Kingi has quickly become my favourite seafood restaurant in Auckland, and one of my overall Auckland favourites. It’s fine-dining food and drink with an industrial smart-casual approach to architecture and clientelle. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that it’s fantastic food and service without the pretension that can make you feel judged and out of place.

Kingi chandelier - night out in britomart
The Kingi Chandelier

We were greeted and brought straight to our table for a 7pm booking, where the front of house passed us on to our server for the night, David. I don’t normally single people out, but he was a hero: enthusiastic and on-target as he walked us through the menu. Great service can make or break a fine dining experience, and he made it.

I have to admit that we over indulged. See our full Kingi seafood restaurant review and Kingi’s website for details.

The good thing about working through almost a whole seafood menu is that you always feel like there’s room for a little more. So on to Caretaker, where menus don’t even exist.

Speakeasy jazz and cocktails at Caretaker

Hidden down what might be called a dark alley, if something can be called that, you’ll spot Caretaker Bar either by the simple “C” on the door or the queue outside it. I’ll let you figure out which is a reference to the secret, underground NYC speakeasy bar that it’s styled on.

After a short wait, we took our table by the wall and got accustomed to the low lighting and swinging jazz. A server came and took the 5th chair at the end of our table, and started to each with us. Each member of the group was asked about their spirit preferences, flavours and styles. Without writing down a single note, the server headed back to the bar, and we chatted and waited.

caretaker bar britomart
Inside at Caretaker

In around 10 minutes four very distinct cocktails arrive, each exquisitely flavoured. The bar staff managed to do something smokey and dry, gin based and floral, tequila and berry, and something that started with rum and ended so confusing even I didn’t follow it.

So much of the fun at Caretaker is being able to describe what you’re after and having them take care of you. I love it. Here’s our full Caretaker Bar Review.

This was the perfect end to a great night of eating and drinking around Britomart. I obviously missed a lot — let us know where you recommend or what we got wrong in the comments below.

Getting to and from a night out in Britomart

There are a lot of taxis and Uber drivers circling Britomart, so flagging someone down shouldn’t be hard. If you’re heading in, tell the driver ‘Takutai Square’ or put it into your app.

Britomart is also the central train station, so if you’re lucky enough to be staying on any train line, just head to Britomart Station and exit up towards Takutai Square – you should see the lawn (yes, real grass) when you get to street level.

Busses that service the train station will also drop you within a block or two of Britomart, and it’ll be an easy flat or downhill walk into Takutai Square.

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