After a packed day on the slopes, it’s important to sit back, cosy up someplace warm, and unwind with a beverage in hand. There are few pleasures in this life that even come close to that first post-ski frothy in the company of an enjoyable crowd.
With over 150 bars and restaurants, almost as many outdoor fireplaces, and some of the most renowned espresso martinis in all the lands, the Queenstown après ski scene is one that should be on every serious skier’s radar.
We’ve curated a definitive TVG guide to Queenstown’s epic après ski scene for your consideration this winter break.
On the mountain…
Let me set the scene. It’s the end of the day but you’re not quite ready to leave yet, and who could blame you? With powder of that quality at an altitude that refreshing under skies that crisp – you can’t beat it. So why not kick off the evening’s festivities on location?
Coronet Peak – $$
Coronet Peak Ski Area, Queenstown
Overlooking the Wakatipu Basin and pumping with the vibrant Queenstown ski nightlife, Coronet Peak’s awesome après setting should be the first place you find yourself after you pack your gear away. Here you have a choice of rugging up indoors with floor to ceiling windows giving you a crystal clear view of the elements, or perhaps relaxing on an outdoor deck under the open sky is more your thing. Either way, there’s a DJ spinning tracks, good food to nibble on, and drinks a plenty to be thrown back.
Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar – $$-$$$
Skyline Queenstown, Brecon St
Craving something with a little more of a premium punch? Look no further than Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar. With cocktails that rival the breathtaking, panoramic scenery on offer thanks to their lofty skybox/deck, there’s also a menu filled with New Zealand-inspired cuisine to be enjoyed here (with a certain international flair). And it that wasn’t convincing enough, it’s worth noting that all ‘premium dining’ bookings guarantee a free drink upon arrival – as well as one of the best seats in the house. Sold.
Minus 5° ICE BAR – $$
88 Beach St, Queenstown
Craving something with a little more of an icy touch? Look no further than Minus 5° ICE BAR. Immerse yourself in the frost with architecture, interiors, and furniture all made from ice. Here, you’ll find the opportunity to enjoy cocktails that rival the breathtaking, panoramic scenery on offer (incidentally also served in ice glasses). Trustworthy sources indicate your Queenstown experience is simply incomplete without stopping by here.]
A little whisky never hurt anyone…
I’m of the belief that every day should end with a nip of something single malt. But for those of you who think otherwise, might I suggest some places strictly for this occasion?
1789 Wine & Jazz Lounge – $$
8 Duke St, Queenstown
You’ll want to dress a little nicer for this place. I’m talking full sleeves and clean church shoes. Browse a variety of whisk(e)ys at 1789 before deciding on the one that best suits your palate – and best suits the assigned task of sanding your nerves down. While you’re at it, why not savour some of the hot and/or cold tapas?
Bardeaux – $$-$$$
1 The Mall, Queenstown
A local favourite that boasts a crackling fireplace and an excellent ambience, Bardeaux is yet another location to kick back and swirl an old fashioned or two. This is one of the more low-key options on our list, so best keep it civilised and take the rowdy blowouts elsewhere.
In search of something more specific…
Of course, there comes a time where the desire for the singular arises. Some live music to fill the silence; a Queenstown nightlife specialty, perhaps. A well-mixed cocktail never goes amiss either. Well, you’ll be relieved to know we’ve got you covered.
Sundeck @Attiqua – $$
Top Floor, 4, The Mal, Queenstown
Fancy a bit of mulled wine to warm up the extremities? Of course you do. And a view would go down a treat, wouldn’t it? Say no more. The Sundeck is essentially synonymous with apres-ski drinks. Providing ambience, unobstructed scenery, and some moderate live music, it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
BarUp – $$
3 Searle Ln, Queenstown
BarUp is home to Queenstown’s famous “Money Shot”, a dessert shot complete with sugars and creams that will apparently leaving you wanting more. Our sources also indicate that this is the place to be if you’re looking to kick the festivities up a notch.
Little Blackwood – $$-$$$
88 Beach St, Queenstown
Little Blackwood has claimed the title of “best cocktail bar in Queenstown” (apparently). We’ll let you be the judge of that, and yes — there’s more than enough to sample. Let’s just say, it you don’t find something you like here, it’s likely your own fault. Warm the soul after a frosty winter day with their famous mulled wine or perhaps an Amaretto Hot Toddy.
The World Bar– $$-$$$
Central, 12 Church St, Queenstown
It may be dead and gone here in Sydney, but The World Bar is alive and well in New Zealand. Settle in for some honest food, cold beer/teapot cocktails (depending on your mood), and yes, a regular roster of live music designed to make the night a memorable one.
This article is the third in a complete directory brought to you in partnership with Destination Queenstown. If you missed our Quickfire Guide To A Boys’ Ski Weekend In Queenstown, head over to Boss Hunting.