Think the only options for a night out in Dunedin are clubs full of sweaty students, flashing lights and headache-inducing music? Fear not TRENZ-goers, as we have collated a bar crawl fit for even the most dignified grown up, or at least one who likes to let their hair down every once in a while. With a burgeoning local music scene and plethora of delicious locally-brewed craft beers, Dunedin has an unmatched ability to get the party started. Just try not to get too caught up in what the Scarfies like to call ‘Thirsty Thursday.’
Café by day, this quirky and artistic ‘refreshment room’ metamorphoses into a licensed bar by night, providing a space for all of Dunedin’s most aesthetically inclined. It’s the kind of place that blends in better with the elite fashion stores it shares its George Street block with than the rest of the bars on this list. And that in itself already makes it worth a visit. With craft beer on tap, a great range of liquors and wines and an even greater playlist, Kiki Beware always has a diversely cool atmosphere. Take note though, they’re only open until 8pm, so make sure this is your first stop because you really don’t want to miss out.
Just down the road from Kiki Beware, step through a large wooden door that takes you from George Street to downtown Dublin. The Bog is a cultural institution, with a healthy dose of Irish cheer and enough Guinness to keep the whole town going. Don your best green outfit and put on your dancing shoes, because there is no sitting still at this joint. On top of that, the Bog is part of the 1759 Club, a highly prestigious union (among Guinness drinkers) for which you have to drink 100 pints of Guinness in a year to join, so indulge in a couple of jugs of Ireland’s most famous drink and you’re well on your way to becoming a member.
Perched right the heart of Dunedin’s nightlife, The Octagon, Craft Bar is the best kind of meeting point between food and nightlife. Open Mic Night is on every Thursday from 8pm, so head down to the beloved ‘Octy’ for some great entertainment, or maybe even the chance to exercise your own vocal cords. Craft Bar serves up all the most classic Kiwi dishes, from Blue Cod to Steak, Eggs and Fries, and has a huge range of Monteiths beers and local craft brews to accompany your meal. Soak up the local vibes and enjoy the best that The Octagon has to offer.
Fancy a glass of something a bit harder, with a pretty alright view to go with it? Scotia should be your go-to, with over 200 single-malts in their speciality whisky bar. The bar staff are highly clued-up on their whiskies and will help you have a completely immersive experience. And don’t worry if some of your party aren’t totally into whisky, because Scotia has a great selection of beers, cocktails and wines too. Find out why Dunedin is called the Edinburgh of the South by soaking up Scotia’s distinctly Scottish feel. Bonus points if you try some of their famous haggis. Go on, dare you!
Dunedin is not exactly famous for having lots of lounge bars, but Pequeño is doing its best to change that assumption. In the basement of the historic Savoy building, Pequeño Lounge Bar serves up only the best wines, spirits, cocktails and whiskeys, with live jazz and blues to help you settle into your night. All their interior decor was delivered from Spain, giving the basement lounge a European look, with the atmosphere of a backstreet Madrid bar to match. The perfect alternative to the stickiness of mainstream Dunedin bars, Pequeño will make you want to stay all night long.
But if you did stay all night, you’d risk missing out on the other understated pearls of Dunedin’s nightlife, notably the eclectic and incredible Dog with Two Tails. Dunedin’s hotspot for local and visiting musicians, Dog with Two Tails is intimate, unique and intriguing in the best possible way. Acting also as a gallery for emerging local artists, grab a glass of craft beer or whisky and enjoy a night of live music, great service and all-round inspiring artistry. You might be lucky enough to catch an evening of jazz, so you’d best be ready to dance.
Another Scottish whisky bar but more subtle in their appearance, Albar is the place to go for a cosy and relaxed vibe. It doesn’t look like much from the street, but once you get inside, you’ll understand why the locals love it. Beers, Scottish tapas, in-house whisky tastings and live Celtic music, not to mention ‘May-fest’ which will be on across the entire TRENZ conference. May-fest sees the pub serve thirty different beers on tap for thirty days in May. Kind of like Oktoberfest, but Dunedin style, and we’re not sure which sounds better.
The best option for your late night festivities, Carousel Bar has a comfy lounge and sparkling rooftop which will make you feel all sorts of cool. Located just below The Octagon, Carousel is perfectly positioned to be close enough to the party to soak in some of the excitement, but not so close that you have to witness the blood and guts of it. They have DJs spinning deep house tunes until the early hours, and an overflowing supply of wine, beer, cocktails, whisky and champagne to help you stay up. We have a feeling it’s going to be a late one.