Underground mood lighting sets the scene at Britomart's Caretaker. Photo / Supplied

Auckland's Best Bars & Restaurants For A First Date

Discover these laid-back, non-awkward spots with plenty of background buzz for your Bumble date

Tucked underground, this bar boasts an intimate feel with strong booze on tap. With no menus, kick off the conversation by hearing your date relay their flavour preferences to the waiter, who will expertly craft a custom cocktail from scratch. If you're closer to the top end of Ponsonby, head to sister bar Deadshot for a similarly cosy experience. Downstairs, 40 Customs Street, Britomart Pl and 45 Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn 

Mosy on out to Conch's courtyard for comfy booth seating where you can actually hear each other talk. The staff are friendly and cool, there's happy hour beer, and great tacos if sparks aren't flying. 115A Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby

Bright, fun and kicking with spice at Kiss Kiss restaurant in Balmoral. Photo / Guy Coombes

Kiss Kiss
Take a trip to Balmoral's Kiss Kiss for an exciting Asian menu to spice things up. There's lots of noise and a bright and colourful interior to help distract from any lags in the conversation. 1 Rocklands Ave, Balmoral

Soak up the evening light and insanely good cocktails at K Rd favourite Madame George. Photo / Supplied

Madame George
Sit outside and watch the bustle of K'Rd go by at this beloved bar. If your prospects are a little lacklustre, you can depend on Madame George for smooth service and a happy hour kicking off from 5pm. Let's not forget the insanely good cocktail list too. Hang around for the food which is excellent, with small plates that differ from the usual sharing fare. 490 Karangahape Rd, Newton

Fed Deli
Share a plate of poutine, or a slice of cheesecake late into the night at the charming Fed Deli. This American-style diner is a fun and friendly spot to hit, with booth seating, signature cocktails, and a menu to get the appetite going. 86 Federal St, City 

For a great time around Wynyard Quarter head to Williams Eatery. Photo / Supplied

Williams Eatery 
A glass of wine in the sunshine at Williams is a joy. So are the Cloudy Bay clams and sourdough, or really any other brilliant dish on the menu. If you're the one to introduce this nordic-cool Wynyard Quarter spot to your date, good impressions will be cemented from the get-go. 03/85 Daldy St, Wynyard Quarter

For a casual cafe date, Bestie is your pal. The St Kevins Arcade environment is relaxed and vibrant, and if all goes wrong, one of the fudgy brownies from the baking cabinet (shipped daily from sibling cafe Baby) will nurse you home. 179/183 Karangahape Rd, Newton

Share a conversation over a plate of hot dumplings at XuXu. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

XuXu Dumpling Bar 
Grab one of the chilli-infused gin martinis, and settle into XuXu's sexy atmosphere. A cute spot for a first meet, with no pressure to linger long. The speciality here is dumplings, an ideal date food if you can manage them in one bite, hot and delicious. Galway Street & Commerce Street, Britomart

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