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Where to Party in Queenstown – My Favorite Bars and Clubs

Where to Party in Queenstown – My Favorite Bars and Clubs

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Are you looking to get out and let your hair down in Queenstown, but don’t know where to start? Well, take it from this local when she tells you that some are better than others – I’ve definitely developed my favorite go-to places on a Saturday night. 

When it comes to finding a place to party in Queenstown, a lot of the best spots are a little hidden and tucked away off the main tourist drag.  Having lived in Queenstown for quite some time now, I can proudly say I’ve been to pretty much every late-night bar and nightclub in Queenstown.

So in this blog, I’m going to tell you about all of the best places to let loose a little, including special event nights, happy hours, and pub crawls. Bottoms up!

Partying in Queenstown FAQ’s 

Having shots in Queenstown, New Zealand
Cheers!

Where to Party in Queenstown 

Below are some of the most popular bars and nightclubs to party at in Queenstown. They were each hand-selected by me based on where I like to go, and where is always the busiest. All of my choices are located right in Queenstown town center and are easy to find using Google Maps.  

1876 

A DJ plays music at 1876 in Queenstown
The party really gets going inside at 1876! Photo credit – 1876

1876 is the go-to party place for locals, backpackers, or anybody who is budget-conscious for that matter. They have a $6.50 beer and wine daily happy hour from 4-6 pm. They also have a late-night happy hour from 10 pm-12 am for $6.50 house spirits and shots! That, combined with their cheap (and tasty) food menu is enough to draw a crowd.  

1876 is open for lunch, dinner, and of course, late-night partying. They have live music or a DJ to get the dance floor going. The indoors is for dancing with some table space, and outside they have a beautiful patio that even has heaters for outdoor drinks in winter! In the summer, this patio is the place to be for a few drinks under the sun.

They frequently have events and deals, such as Ladies Nights on Wednesdays or Burgers, Beers, and Beats Friday specials. I usually check 1876’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date event information.

It can get a little rowdy late on Fridays and Saturdays, but if you’re looking for a place with a lot of people and energy, it may be the bar for you! They have live music Wednesday through Sunday, but the weekdays are usually more relaxed than the weekends.

Related Read: Having drinks at 1876 is one of the best cheap things to do in Queenstown – find what the other budget-friendly things you can do in Queenstown are!

World Bar 

World Bar is one of the classier places to drink and party in Queenstown. It’s attached to Yonder, which is a really trendy café and shares the same owners. However, instead of avocado toast and mimosas, World Bar serves high-end cocktails and late-night snacks. Yonder is also a great hangover cure and my favorite brunch spot in Queenstown!

World Bar is a place to go on the weekends or when they have a DJ. This is when you can expect a crowd and a lively atmosphere with dancing (although they occasionally have a cover charge). On other nights, sometimes World Bar can be a bit quiet for my liking. With that said, I often stop in for one or two cocktails before heading elsewhere. You know, start classy before moving onto one of Queenstown’s underground nightclubs. 

Their cocktails are absolutely delicious. You’ll pay for that quality though, at over $15 per NZD drink it’s certainly not cheap. But boy, let me tell you, they are worth it! 

They are open from 3 pm til late weekdays, and 12 pm til late on weekends. Check here to see what events, DJs, or food specials are happening, and stop in to kick off your night out!

The London

A pack dance floor at The London Queenstown
The London gets really busy on weekends and the underground venue makes it feel like a rave! Photo credit: The London

The London is a well-known pizza place in Queenstown. If you’ve ever walked along Shotover Street, chances are that you’ve seen them handing out free pizza samples. But what most people don’t know is that this underground pizza place not only serves delicious pizza, but it’s also a fun place to party!

They often bring in DJs to get the party started after 10 pm and have a range of beers available on tap. The underground vibe and British décor make for a fun place to hang out. Often, groups start here with pizza and beer at their large tables before hitting the dancefloor.

There are also sometimes special events for parties held at The London since it is a larger venue. You can catch one of their Latin Nights for a bit of flavor to your party, or a popping DJ party. Regardless of what they have on- it’s always a great time at The London!

The Bunker 

A bar tender pours a cocktail at The Bunker bar in Queenstown
The cocktails are really good at Bunker! Photo credit: The Bunker

The Bunker is another restaurant that turns into a party place late at night. It is actually one of the nicer restaurants in Queenstown with good cocktails, but by 11 pm on the weekends, it turns into quite the bumping place.

Unlike some of the other nightclubs in Queenstown, The Bunker is actually an upstairs venue (no underground basement here). It was once a run-down one-bedroom apartment above the restaurant, but they converted it into a cozy cocktail bar. You can even find live music from Thursday through Saturday!

If you’re looking to dress up a bit and dance in Queenstown, then The Bunker is a good choice! They also stay open pretty late most nights, later than other places around town.  

banner asking people to click to join the Queenstown Diary Facebook Group

Cowboys 

A group of people pose for a photo at Cowboys in Queenstown
Cowboys is where I always end up at the end of the night! Photo credit: Cowboys

Can you say “Yeehaw!” Cowboys is a Kiwi’s take on an American-style country nightclub. With tacky country décor and a huge mechanical bull, it is definitely a different type of bar than you’ll find anywhere else in Queenstown.  

Don’t be mistaken though, Cowboys plays all types of music and isn’t limited strictly to country.

Besides that, there is a mechanical bull that you can ride for a $2 donation, they have 1-liter glasses of beer, pool tables, shuffleboards, and a bumping dancefloor. It’s a late-night place that is very busy after midnight on weekends. In fact, Queenstown locals have a saying that goes, ”If you didn’t finish your night at Cowboys, did you even go out?!” 

Rhino’s Ski Shack 

Ever heard of Après-Ski? Well, Rhinos is the place for drinks after hitting the slopes! With a European-style après-ski concept, this toasty underground bar plays great music, has cold beer (and warm mulled wine), and serves delicious pub food.  

Rhino’s also has fun games and events regularly, including regular pool tournaments with some loaded prizes and great drink specials! Check their page to see what sort of fun they have going on and make this your after-ski stop.

Rhino’s is also one of the more affordable places to drink in Queenstown with nightly happy hours and food specials. They are open late and have a dance floor that attracts a crowd. They boast about being the only hip-hop venue in Queenstown and often have live local talent taking care of the tunes. It is a smaller more intimate venue, but a really busy and fun nightclub in Queenstown nonetheless.  

Smiths Craft Beer House

Bailey eats poutine and beer at Smithes Craft Beer house in Queenstown
Beer and poutine? Yes, please!

This one is for beer lovers and my fellow Canadians.  

So first of all, Smiths has dozens of rotating taps featuring local craft beer from around Queenstown and New Zealand. The knowledgeable bartenders are more than happy to help you choose a beer, and they will even offer free samples to make sure you make the right choice.  

Smith’s also serves the best Poutine (a Canadian classic dish that is fries, gravy, and cheese curds) I’ve had outside of Canada. As a Canadian myself, I know what to look for and Smith’s Poutine is delicious! Beers and Poutine is my kind of combo on a night out! 

Smith’s has a large seating area inside as well as a covered patio outside overlooking Shotover Street. The atmosphere here is generally pretty relaxed, although it can get pretty crazy late on Fridays or Saturdays, or when they have live music!  

Harry’s Pool Bar 

People play pool at Harry's Pool Bar in Queenstown
For a quiet social drink head to Harry’s! Photo credit: Harry’s Pool Bar

Harry’s Pool Bar is the go-to place to drink in Queenstown if you also want to play pool. They have 7 pool tables as well as large TVs for watching sports including UFC fights. Oh, and did I mention you can get a beer for $7!? Their pizza is delicious and they have a great $12 Friday margarita special that I love to catch.

Sure, Harry’s isn’t a nightclub, but it’s a lively pool bar in central Queenstown that’s perfect for having a drink, a game, and a chat. It’s a common place for locals to hang out and you’ll likely meet some friendly characters here.  

Harry’s is open Mondays to Thursdays at 3 pm, and the weekends at 12 pm!

The Sundeck/Attiqa

A DJ plays at the Sundeck in Queenstown, New Zealand
The best rooftop bar in Queenstown is the Sundeck! Photo credit: Sundeck

The Sundeck is a rooftop bar that serves incredible cocktails and always features some kind of entertainment. During the week, expect live music to enjoy while you sip on your cocktail, take in the view, and enjoy the luxurious lounge atmosphere. And on the weekends, expect a DJ and bumping dancefloor! 

The Sundeck is a little tricky to find. The entrance is simply just a door on the outdoor Queenstown Mall. You have to walk up a staircase, past the first bar (which is Attiqa, a nice little tapas restaurant, and bar) all the way to the top. For this reason, it is one of those hidden gems in Queenstown that tourists often miss.

You can enjoy The Sundeck no matter what time of year you visit Queenstown! There is a cozy outdoor seating area with sofas, plenty of heaters, and an amazing view. It’s really a gorgeous setting and well worth checking out at sunset and into the wee night hours.  

Searchlight Brewery 

A group of poeple play cards at the Searchlight Brewery in Queenstown
Playing cards at Searchlight!

This one is a local secret. Located about a 5-minute drive from Queenstown Center on Gorge Road, Searchlight is one of Queenstown’s best local breweries. However, with great beers on tap, snacks, an outdoor patio, and a classic wood-burning fireplace inside, it has a lively and comfortable atmosphere that tourists will enjoy too.

Searchlight often hosts special events and games such as quiz nights. They have daily happy hours too! It isn’t a club, but a great place to go for a chat, listen to music, and of course, have a few beers with a local crowd. I often stop by Searchlight for a couple of drinks during the week after a day full of skiing or hiking.

Related Read: In Queenstown, you can party rain, shine, snow, or hail! In fact, hitting up a bar or club is one of the best things to do when it’s raining in Queenstown!

Pub Crawls in Queenstown 

three girls sit at a table while partying in Queenstown New Zealand
Girls night out!

One of the most popular ways to party in Queenstown is on a pub crawl! Tourists often join organized pub crawls to take them to the best bars and nightclubs in Queenstown. This is a good option if you’re looking to meet other travelers and get shown a good time by a local guide.

Standard Queenstown pub crawl

Kiwi Crawl offers your classic pub crawl, which will take you to some of the best bars in Queenstown. It runs every Friday and Saturday from 9 pm to 12 am. Throughout your 5 stops, you’ll get a free shot at each bar, free pizza, and drink discounts, so it’s actually a great deal. This is a super fun way to get to know fellow travelers, and they often have themed crawls for New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Australia Day, and more!

This pub crawl is $30 NZD, which is actually pretty cheap for all it includes! You can book your spot for this fun pub crawl here.

Ice bar crawl

Queenstown has an unusual amount of ice bars for its size, but they are one of the most fun places to party in Queenstown. This Ice Bar Crawl takes you to 5 of Queenstown’s most bumping bars, including one ice bar! You will get 5 free shots and pizza, and entrance to the ice bar is included in the tour price, so really it just that one stop makes it worth it. This 4-hour pub crawl is $40 NZD and can be booked in advance here!

If you’re just interested in visiting the ice bars, though, you have a lot of options. These ice bars are completely made of ice, around 18 tonnes of it! You have to pay to enter, but they give you a big warm coat, hat, gloves, and two drinks are included in the price. Minus 5 is the most popular Ice Bar, and Queenstown’s first and you can get tickets for $40 NZD. Queenstown Ice Bar is very similar but located a little further out of the downtown area- tickets for 1 hour here are $40 NZD.

Related Read: For another fun tour in Queenstown that involves drinking, check out some of Queenstown’s best wine tours!

Important Tips for Partying in Queenstown 

A group of people drinking beer at Searchlight Brewery, Queenstown
Beers after a day on the slopes!
  • The best nights to party in Queenstown are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Monday to Wednesday are the quietest nights in town, but you will likely still find somewhere lively to have a few drinks.
  • Some places will have a dress code. No hats, sleeveless shirts for men, or open-toe shoes for men. If you don’t want to be turned away, dress accordingly!
  • Bring two pieces of ID. Most bars and clubs in Queenstown ask for ID from practically everybody, and two pieces at that!
  • If you don’t have a New Zealand driver’s license then you’re going to need your passport. A driver’s license from another country isn’t usually accepted.
  • Carrying cash is handy. Although most bars have a card machine, at busy places they often prefer to take cash to serve you the quickest.
  • Head to Fergburger after a night out in Queenstown. Fergburger serves the best burgers in Queenstown and they are open every night until 4 am!

Where to Stay If You Want to Party in Queenstown

Four people on a ight out in Queenstown
At the old Coalfire Restaurant in Queenstown, that is now unfortunately closed… it was my go-to for great beer and food!

Nomads Queenstown is the biggest party hostel in Queenstown! It’s perfect for budget travelers looking to meet other people in a central location.

If you’re not into backpacker hostels, Mi-pad Smart Hotel is a moderately priced option also in central Queenstown that is perfect for bar hopping! Or, for a bit more luxury, head to The Crown which is the best luxury hotel located within stumbling distance of Queenstown’s best bars and nightclubs. The Waterfront Apartments are a great choice if you ask me (with the best location!).

Of course, Airbnbs in Queenstown is another great option. They are perfect for people traveling in groups and often cheaper than hotels in town. Just be sure to check the location carefully before booking, many are located outside of Queenstown center and Uber/taxis can be pricey.

For more info, check out my blog about where to stay in Queenstown!

Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown

Canyoning in Mt Aspiring National Park
Canyoning is one of the most underrated activities you can do in Queenstown!

While in Queenstown there are plenty of other activities that will keep you busy… Honestly, there are so many it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites.

  • Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting – This is my personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money, for $239 NZD your tour bus will stop at 4 different boutique wineries in the Otago region that include a wide range of wine samples and a provided gourmet lunch platter. As you hop between wineries you’ll gaze out the window at spectacular views.
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise – This scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown is an activity great for any afternoon. The ship you will be cruising on is the Historic TSS Earnslaw and you will get to watch crew members add coal to the flames that power the vessel. Take in the mountain ranges and lush green valleys of Otago. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
  • Queenstown Canyoning Adventure – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek your way down a part of a Queenstown canyon with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
  • Day Trip to Milford Sound With Picnic Lunch – This tour will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a cruise in Milford Sound included. This small-group tour goes for $849 NZD a person and I think it’s a really great value for a more personalized experience.
  • Extreme Jet Boating – Looking for a thrill? Jet Boating is one of New Zealand’s most unique activities. On the tour out of Queenstown, you’ll be able to zoom up the Shotover River through narrow canyons at high speeds and make 360-degree spins. Trust, me it’s epic!

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and her partner take a selfie with beers in Queenstown
Thanks for reading!

For such a small town, I think you’ll be impressed with the nightlife in Queenstown. Queenstown locals are always up for a party, and the excitement from all the tourists in town really adds to the overall party vibe!

If you found this blog helpful, be sure to look around a little more on my Queenstown or New Zealand pages! I have lots of other great blogs you might like including these below!

8 Absolute BEST Day Trips from Queenstown

9 BEST Wineries in Queenstown that You Have to Visit

25 BEST Places to Visit on the South Island of New Zealand