Ladies, we know you keenly understand that styles come and go. Stilettos one year, stacks the next. Bob haircuts then, balayage colouring now.
But one thing that stays true year after year is the ritual that is called Girls Night Out (yes, with capital letters; it’s an institution, after all!). It’s a great excuse to leave the week behind, meet up with your besties, and let your hair down – at least metaphorically speaking.
Whether just for an hour or several, if you love to connect over cocktails, Rotorua has a great line-up to light up your night.
Eat Streat dining and bar precinct
Atticus Finch is a perfect place for gatherings. It’s a bit metro and a bit street rolled into one, with great service and tapas dishes from 5pm until late.
Atticus has created a menu that’s meant to be shared and savoured at your own pace while you catch up with your galfriends. Large and small share plates allow you to sample lots of different dishes. We recommend the grilled haloumi with broccoli, puy lentil, cranberry, pecan, Nashi pear and rocket salad, and the slow cooked lamb shoulder. Fabulous. You’ll love the beverage menu, too, which offers local craft beers, wine, and seasonal cocktails made with their own syrups, fresh fruits and herbs.
As with all eateries on Eat Streat, you have the option of dining inside where it’s cosy and relaxed, or, if you prefer to see and be seen, then request a table out front. This entire dining precinct is under cover, so the weather is nothing to worry about.
From here, head just across the walkway to Our House. Cocktails are all about the bartender and Our House has two of the best – Brook and Mikey. From espresso martinis to passionfruit mojitos that’ll knock your socks off with flavour, these are the lads who deliver time after time. Make sure you ask for them by name, they’re sure to make you smile with their charm and beverage-mixing skills.
The menu is ideal to just pick at too, the highlights being their divine Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) and deep fried cauliflower with Sriracha aioli sauce.
With funky Kiwi music and a relaxed vibe, Our House is perfect to scale up or down your night out.
City centre eateriesIf you’re keen to move the party along, just one block up from Eat Streat you’ll come to The Fainting Goat.
If Rachel, Monika and Phoebe of Friends have the Central Perk Café, The Fainting Goat could be the equivalent in Rotorua – there’s even a comfy couch the Friends crew would approve of.
This newish gastro pub on a busy corner in the CBD is easy to find. Bar snacks, platters for sharing, and pizzas by the foot are perfect for various sized groups. Highly recommended are the wings! Quench your thirst with the premium beers and ciders on tap, as well as spirits, many of these New Zealand brewed or distilled. Or make your way through the specialty cocktail list – responsibly, of course.
The interior is hip, cosy and comfy, and outdoor seating is perfect for people watching on warmer evenings.
As a bonus, The Fainting Goat is just a few doors down from the five-star Pullman Rotorua hotel, a great place for your out-of-town gals to stay!
If it’s time to really get moving – on a dancefloor – exactly one block up Tutanekai Street you’ll find Pig & Whistle Historic Pub (above). Don’t let the name fool you, this iconic spot is anything but old and dusty.
While it’s popular for diners from lunchtime onwards, once the covers band heats things up, the dancefloor will beckon. Loads of craft beers and ciders on tap, plus the full complement of spirits will keep you going, and the menu is available until 10pm.
Rotorua’s own winery – with a fabulous viewIf your friends are arriving from other parts of the country, show off your hometown with the gorgeous views from up Mt Ngongotahā while enjoying the locally made wine at Volcanic Hills Winery & Tasting Room.
This Rotorua-based winery produces beautiful reds, whites and rosés from grapes sourced from the best wine regions in the country. Take the Skyline Rotorua Gondola up the mountain to the Tasting Room where vintner Brent Park will help you learn which wines you like and why. Or skip the tasting, request your preferred variety, add in a platter of nibbles if you’d like, and check out the stunning views of Lake Rotorua and the cityscape.
Volcanic Hills provides a great incentive to start your evening early as the winery is open 12 to 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12 to 5pm on Sundays (these days, it pays to double-check hours and days of any business before you leave home).
Skyline Gondolas operate over longer hours. Just be sure to arrive at the Skyline terminal at least an hour before the winery closes to ensure you have enough time to enjoy the ride up and your beverages.