As autumn approaches and the weather gets a little cooler, you might be wondering which are the pubs in Rotorua that are cosy and fun, and where you can meet friendly locals.
The good news is, all of them are awesome, so there’s really no wrong choice. But to get you started, here’s a short list of Rotorua pubs and local bars where the vibe is always jovial and friendly.
Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar
Located at the lake end of the famous Rotorua Eat Streat, Ambrosia is one of the go-to pubs for cheeky 5pm bevvies with mates, and there’s always a solid group of chatty locals around too. While Ambrosia was the first licensed restaurant in Rotorua in 1954, they haven’t let time pass them by. The classic warm interior is complemented by a large casual patio, allowing plenty of space for gathering with friends new and old. Ambrosia also has a great wine and beer selection, delicious menu, and, depending on when you’re there, live sport on the big screens, or live musical entertainment.
Pig & Whistle Historic Pub
The must-visit for all visitors to Rotorua is Pig & Whistle, housed in a gorgeous building that’s part of Rotorua history as it was the site of the original police station for our district. It’s been beautifully maintained over the years and offers a variety of spaces for enjoying their fantastic range of craft beer and fantastic food in its warm and inviting atmosphere. Their famous curly fries are a must. With big screens and a fully sheltered patio in the back, there’s always a decent group of locals taking in the weekends sport. For mountain bikers the Pig & Whistle has long been a go-to for off-trail socialising.
Good Eastern Taphouse
If you’re hitting the trails, staying at one of the region’s lakes, or just chilling near Whakarewarewa Forest, then the pub within your proximity is Good Eastern Taphouse. Warm inside, with a huge on-tap menu, great food and fantastic atmosphere, Good Eastern is an essential visit. A wonderful group of active locals – from the younger crowd to families – use this pub as their refuelling station after blasting through the forest on bike, foot, or horse. It’s always a great place to meet the new friends you’ve made in the forest. Worried about leaving your bike unattended? The Good Eastern folks have you covered. Just grab a seat in the covered patio where you can bring your bike with you for peace of mind.
With a huge new garden bar, more than 60 beers to choose from, and a great menu, CBK (pictured at top) is a local favourite. Located on the northern end of Eat Streat, CBK is a popular spot to relax, have drink with friends or meet some of the locals who have made it their home away from home. With live music on weekends, sports events on all the TVs, and charming and chatty staff, what more could you want in a pub.
Duke’s Bar and Restaurant at Prince’s Gate Hotel
If you’re looking for a genuine Rotorua pub experience, then look no further than Duke’s at the Prince’s Gate Hotel on a Friday night. The hotel is as old as Rotorua is itself, historic, beautiful and rumoured to be a little haunted as well. The bar on a Friday night always attracts a good group of after-work locals and there’s usually a live muso in the corner to give it a little extra touch of class. Enjoy the sophistication and style of the oldest hotel bar in town, chat with the locals and enjoy the experience, rich with the memories of yesteryear. Just in case you were wondering, despite having ghosts in the building, they don’t serve ghost chips or any other assorted ghost food or beverages.