1. Perky’s Floating Bar
No list of Queenstown lakefront hangouts would be complete without Perky’s, New Zealand’s only floating bar. This quirky boat bar has an outdoor deck, so you can sip cocktails and marvel at the views of the Remarkables, Cecil and Walter Peak and Queenstown Bay. They don’t have a kitchen, but you can BYO food if you order a drink, or they have a great deal running with local Devil Burger, where you can get a beer and a burger delivered to the boat for only $20.
Perky's Floating Bar, credit @golocal.nz from Instagram
2. Atlas Beer Café
An excellent lineup of local craft brews, a hearty breakfast, and their famously affordable steaks make this lakeside bar an institution. The Atlas crew are stalwart supporters of the Queenstown mountain biking scene. So, the bar’s often packed with riders high on stoke after an afternoon lapping Queenstown Bike Park. Did we mention the lakeside views?
Atlas Beer Café
3. Public Kitchen & Bar
Public Kitchen & Bar is a relaxed lakeside hangout on Steamer Wharf offering tasty food, with a menu full of Kiwi classics like kumara fritters, cheese rolls, and squid rings. Regular live gigs, Sunday sessions, cocktails, and brunch make this lakefront watering hole a humming place to be.
Public Kitchen & Bar
4. The Bathhouse Café & Restaurant
Pull up a chair on the beach and soak up the atmosphere at this converted historic bathhouse, with views directly down Lake Whakatipu. The Bathhouse Café & Restaurant is delightful on balmy summer evenings, or on chilly winter days, when a roaring fire and mulled wine makes for a warm welcome. A nearby playground is great for families with kids.
The Bathhouse Café & Restaurant
5. Eichardt’s Bar
One of the first gold mining hotels in Queenstown, those weary gold prospectors wouldn’t recognise Eichardt’s Bar now, transformed as it is into a luxurious haven overlooking the lake. Come for high tea by the fire and stay for whisky tastings at sunset, to explore the masterful cocktail list, or simply to toast the view with a crisp glass of Bollinger champagne.
6. Little Blackwood
Much loved by locals, this intimate cocktail spot just took out Outstanding Bar of the Year at the Queenstown Hospo Awards. Pull up a seat by the fire, try their signature sake cocktail made with locally brewed Zenkuro Sake and lychee liqueur, and order up some sharing plates. Little Blackwood's heated deck overlooking the lake is the perfect spot for a sundowner.
7. Pub on Wharf
Pub on Wharf does exactly what it says on the can. A great Kiwi pub with live sport, live music seven days a week, and a side of absolutely spectacular views. Their great value menu (no meals over $20) is full of pub grub classics like Beef Wellington, ribs, and lamb rump.
Pub on Wharf
8. The Balcony
On the 3rd floor of the Crowne Plaza, The Balcony invites you to drink up the view. Enjoy tapas and panoramic views at this hidden gem of a balcony bar. On chilly nights huddle around the firepits and keep things toasty with a Baileys hot chocolate or a hot cider.
The Balcony opens seasonally so please check their website for information when planning a visit.
The Balcony, Crowne Plaza
9. Nest Kitchen & Bar
Queenstown’s highest al fresco eatery and bar. While Nest Kitchen & Bar isn't pure lakefront, but with views like this, who cares? It’s not all about the vista though. Nestle into a velvet seat and taste your way through their extensive lineup of New Zealand boutique gins in the Nest cocktail lounge.
The Nest Restaurant & Bar
10. Wakatipu Grill at the Hilton
Take a water taxi from Queenstown across to Wakatipu Grill at the Hilton on the shores of the Frankton Arm of Lake Whakatipu. Explore Central Otago vintages from their impressive wine cellar on the outdoor terrace overlooking the lake. A firepit keeps things toasty after dark.
The Wakatipu Grill Pinot Pit
Enjoy exploring these ten top places to enjoy a drink on the Queenstown lake side. Share your favourite Queenstown waterfront watering holes with us on Instagram and #QueenstownLive.