Hot on Backpacker Guide
Aside from being the “Adventure Capital of New Zealand”, Queenstown also aptly has a reputation for being the “Party Capital”. For any night owl, socialite or drunken moon cats, Queenstown is an absolute must during a New Zealand gap year. With almost nightly bar crawls, ice bar experiences, themed bars, clubs and alternative music scene, you’re bound to find something for you among Queenstown’s nightlife.
We’ll cover all the bases of Queenstown nightlife so you can find your vibe when looking to meet new people or going out with your new-found travel buddies. There are places for cowboys, places for apres ski, places for dancing on the tables, and places for a quiet pint with epic views. Although there are no gay bars in Queenstown, all bars and clubs are gay-friendly.
So take out your valid ID (remember, New Zealand is very strict on only serving those with valid ID), and have some nights to probably not remember in Queenstown!
Before, after or the morning after your big night out in Queenstown, you don’t have to break the bank to find an affordable snack in Queenstown. Check out:
For more options, see Cheap Eats in Queenstown.
Let’s get straight to it! They don’t call Queenstown the “Party Capital of New Zealand” for nothing.
Loco Cantina on Shotover Street is Queenstown’s most backpacker-filled backpacker bar. Cheap drinks, cheap eats and nightly themes and entertainment, there’s always something happening here. For a “dancing on the tables” sort of party, head to Winnies down The Mall. Searle Lane on, well, Searle Lane has been a partying go-to for years. A sophisticated cocktail bar with a sunlit terrace by day and a pure party bar by night, check out Bungalow on Camp Street.
For more backpacker bars across the country, check out 8 Great Backpacker Bars in New Zealand.
Although there’s something happening all year round, Rhinos Ski Shack, hidden in a basement of Cow Lane, is an obvious must in winter with its European apres-ski themes with a Kiwi twist – the twist being, it’s in New Zealand. Got ya! Cowboys on Searle Lane has an obvious theme with bucking bronco, heaps of bar games, and handles bigger than your head.
Vinyl Underground on Church Street is your basement party until 4am with non-commercial DJs and live music with an artsy vibe. Embrace your indie side at Zephyr on Searle Lane with a mix of deep house, funk, reggae and live acoustic. Small on the outside AND the inside, Tardis on Cow Lane is packed with an alternative music scene in Queenstown including hip-hop, reggae, dancehall and D’n’B.
For more bar recommendations, check out 5 Nightclubs to Dance at in Queenstown.
Atlas is the “hidden” craft beer bar that everyone just happens to know about. Located on Steamer Wharf, there is a small indoor seating area, but most people prefer to sit outside and bask in the Lake Wakatipu views. More craft beer can be found at Smiths Craft Beer House on Shotover Street. Craft beer is also served at The World Bar on Church Lane also famed for its teapot cocktails and almost nightly live music and DJs.
As the name suggests, Harry’s Pool Bar on Brecon Street is ideal for a game of pool with some good drinks deals. For more sports in your life, try the Xtreme Sports Bar on Camp Street with more screens than you can handle. Pig & Whistle for your English-style pub to catch a sports game and have some “bangers and mash”.
1876 boasts having the best value drinks in town when all day is “happy hour”. Stick around from Wednesdays-Sundays for late-night DJs and live music. Literally floating on the waters of Lake Wakatipu, Perky’s Bar is a bar on a boat. Bring your own food and have yourself some drinks with awesome views of the lake. Red Rock on Camp Street is a local favourite with NZ$10 all-day breakfasts, while more local spots can be found at the Frankton Ale House just on the outskirts of town.
Every city in New Zealand has one, the famed Irish pub. Check out Pog Mahones on Rees Street and Morrison’s Irish Pub on Beach Street.
For more pub recommendations in Queenstown, check out 5 Bars for a Quiet Pint in Queenstown.
An ice bar is an experience in itself. With snug coats and gloves provided and drinks that you can never complain are too warm, walk into some of the world’s most epic freezers. Everything is made from ice, from the walls to the ceiling, even the cups you drink out of. You can sit on your ice throne and marvel at the ice sculptures.
There are two ways to experience below zero degrees in Queenstown (that’s not including night-skiing naked at Coronet Peak).
Below Zero prides itself on being Australasia’s largest ice bar. The bar is hidden down Searle Lane. (Get a sneak peek through the windows).
Minus 5 Ice Bar on Steamer Wharf is forever changing with new sculptures every three months – great for photo opportunities.
A great way to meet people, get huge discounts, and take part in some hilarious games is with a bar crawl in Queenstown. From Tuesdays to Saturdays, you’ll find a bar crawl to get messy on.
With crawls every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, there’s no excuse not to miss a Big Night Out. Every night has some awesome inclusions, like free pizza, cookies, discounts, coupon booklet, traffic light party stickers, and party games to win some New Zealand and Australia activity prizes. Start the mayhem at Vinyl Underground on Church Street at 9pm.
Tuesday nights include a whole lot of neon paint and glow sticks. Wednesdays and Fridays get you entry into the Below Zero ice bar.
Starting at 9pm at The London on Shotover Street, the Kiwi Bar Crawl takes you to five different bars with huge discounts, free pizza, games and Queenstown activity prizes to be won. Get on it every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday! The Minus 5 Ice Bar is included every Wednesday and Friday night.
Saturday night is party boat night with Kiwi Crawl. Start the party on the 70s themed Luanda Party Boat before joining with the rest of the crawl. Again, this starts at The London.
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