Nestled in the southeastern corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Dunedin is a city that beautifully blends its rich Scottish heritage with the vibrancy of a bustling university town. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, distinctive architecture, and a rich art scene, Dunedin also offers a vibrant outdoor bar culture that is bound to impress. Whether you’re after a glass of the world-famous Central Otago Pinot Noir, a pint of locally brewed craft beer, or simply a place to enjoy good food with equally good company, Dunedin has got you covered. In this guide, we will explore some of the best outdoor bars that this buzzing city has to offer. Let’s dive into the lively atmosphere of Dunedin’s outdoor bars!
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Here are 5 must-visit establishments to start with and make your trip a real success!
1. Ironic Cafe and Bar
You’ll find Cafe and Bar next to Dunedin’s iconic Railway Station. Many people often drop by for a weekend lunch or brunch after visiting the Otago Farmers Market. At night, you can visit this place for a lovely sit-down dinner amid the stylish interiors; or for some drinks at the outdoor seating area.
Ironic Cafe & Bar is passionate about serving all its guests with freshly cooked, from scratch, modern New Zealand & International cuisine.
The bar pride itself in making its own pasta; sausages, jams, chutneys, breads, slices & baking so as to provide the tastiest & freshest products. It has pride in its local Central Otago wines & have many to choose from. The cafe love coffee and now roast its own coffee called ‘Evoke’ coffee.
The service is very friendly and helpful & it has a lovely outside sunny courtyard.
2. Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel
Established in 1894, Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel has a public bar and restaurant. Although the accommodation part has been abandoned for long, the pub experience stood the test of time. It offers a picturesque seaside scene ideal for an alfresco seafood meal; or some casual drinks as the sun goes down.
Carey’s Bay Historical Hotel dates back to 1874; and is one of the most popular pubs in Dunedin, located just outside Port Chalmers. The restaurant specialises in seafood; but offers a complete menu with dishes such as roast beef with mashed potatoes; and a bacon wrapped chicken breast stuffed with mushroom. A bar menu is also available at all times for those looking to enjoy a pint of beer or a nice glass of wine.
Inside, there are plenty of cosy corners with beautiful views of the bay; together with multiple open-fires to heart the interior on those chilly Dunedin nights. The courtyard area provides a beautiful sunny; and outdoor space during summer-time; but is also open during the winter, complete with a covered roof to protect from the elements and a blazing fire to keep the place warm. One of the most popular places is an area called ‘The Snug’; which offers private dining for a party of up to 14 people.
3. Salt Bar and Restaurant
This is one of those establishments that seamlessly transitions from a trendy cafe during the day into a vibrant bar and restaurant at night. Indoor and outdoor seating is part of its appeal; on those bright summer days, visitors can soak up plenty of sunshine. In addition, the food offerings include the house’s specialty Bedford Burgers. Similarly an array of European-inspired shared plates as well as a selection of meat, poultry and seafood dishes.
Above all, Salt Restaurant and Bar enjoys a waterfront location overlooking Whitianga Marina, complemented by fine New Zealand cuisine and attentive service.
The restaurant features a large outdoor decking area to take advantage of the setting; while inside features a modern interior and log fire.
The lunch menu includes Coromandel oysters with chardonnay vinegar and shallots, free range chicken breast poached in coconut milk with asian slaw and yuzu mayonaises and linguini with prawns, chilli, shallots, garlic and parsley.The dinner menu tempts diners with the likes of free range pork belly with prawn dumplings and Ruakumara venison fillet.
Salt Restaurant and Bar is an ideal wedding venue with beautiful marina views. The wedding package can cater for up to 100 guests, with food and drinks included and accommodation on offer for up to 22 guests.
4. Ombrellos Kitchen & Bar
Ombrellos Kitchen and Bar is yet another great go-to if you’ve got a taste for craft beers, live music, and a sophisticated food menu. Located in a beautiful courtyard area with ample seating allows people to enjoy the venue’s casual ambiance. In addition, you can venture indoors to warm up to the indoor fireplace. Its bar has a total of 15 beers, and it’s open for lunch and dinner also.
Ombrellos is a place built on community, awesome staff, delicious food and an ever changing, top notch selection of craft beers – can you see why we all love it so much..?
With an epic bar, quirky restaurant, cosy private dining rooms and an outdoor courtyard – Ombrellos has something to offer everyone from kids to adults to furry friends and everything in between!
5. Starfish Cafe & Bar
Starfish Cafe and Bar is located in Dunedin’s picturesque St Clair Esplanade. The cafe, bar, and restaurant have great alfresco dining facilities including a stunning upstairs deck with plentiful seaside views. You will enjoy fresh and seasonal food, and the menu is regularly updated to ensure the fresh and finest ingredients are used. This is one of the 5 Amazing Outdoor Bars in Dunedin New Zealand.
They offer design approachable food that’s wholesome, tasty and sometimes a bit naughty. Therefore, they believe in positive service culture, built on a foundation of gratitude. Starfish provides modern NZ cafe cuisine celebrating local producers & suppliers and is continually developing exciting offerings for Dunedin’s legion of foodies.
Its seasonal menu serves all day brunch, fresh salads, in-house baking and caters to a range of diets including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Starfish has a clean modern aesthetic which offers a relaxed environment to inner-city clientele. Freshly roasted Supreme Coffee, local Emerson’s beers and a fantastic selection of wines for every taste. We’d love to seat you at a table so you can enjoy the warmth of our space and the excellent coffee, beverage and food offerings.
6. Luna Bar and Restaurant
Luna Bar and Restaurant has beautiful harbor views. It started in 2008 and offers the ultimate relaxing ambiance if you want to explore the suburban Roslyn village. You can drop by for a meal, you can enjoy a tasteful selection of seafood, meat, vegetarian and gluten-free cuisine to sink your teeth into. This is one of the 5 Amazing Outdoor Bars in Dunedin New Zea
It’s lakefront location overlooking Carillon Park Nature Reserve from the outdoor terrace offers a comfortable and satisfying dining experience. They have stylish lounge with fireplace seating and modern features is the perfect place to unwind. Relish delicious food made from local ingredients that capture the essence of the community with Mediterranean-inspired Tapas paired with craft cocktails, local brews, and unique wines.
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Dunedin, New Zealand offers an exceptional outdoor bar scene that combines excellent food, diverse drinks, and unique atmospheres. From the locally-sourced cuisine of Ironic Cafe and Bar and the historic charm of Carey’s Bay Hotel to the trendy vibes of Salt Bar and Restaurant and the relaxed ambience of Luna Bar and Restaurant, there’s something for everyone. Add the craft beer haven of Ombrellos Kitchen & Bar and the modern aesthetics of Starfish Cafe & Bar, and you’ve got a truly vibrant scene. If you’re looking for a unique culinary and social experience in Dunedin, these establishments are a must-visit.