Finest Fit Outs: Hamilton’s Most Aesthetically Pleasing Spaces

A customer being served by a staff member at Cafe Kopi.

Hamilton may not boast the same abundance of hotspots as New Zealand's larger urban centres, yet it harbours establishments that stand in a league of their own. Here you’ll find some of the finest fit-outs in the country.

Words by: Nicola Amy Hinman

Photos by: Anna Briggs

Hamilton’s transformation has become a canvas for creativity and sophistication, a trend clearly reflected in its bespoke interiors. These carefully curated settings have been designed to elevate everyday encounters into memorable moments. From cafes that exude calm to boutique retail spaces brimming with charm and innovation, it's evident that what the city might lack in quantity, it abundantly makes up for in unrivalled quality.

HANRAD Bespoke Rugs

137A Alexandra Street, Hamilton Central

Mistaking HANRAD for 'just another rug store' is akin to calling the Grand Canyon ‘just another hole in the ground.’ Founded by interior designer Barry Radford, this gallery-like venue showcases bespoke rugs inspired by original artworks and uniquely tailored to each individual. While many see rugs as mere decorative pieces, HANRAD elevates them to art status. 

The sophisticated, creative space not only stands as a testament to Barry's passion for art and design but also redefines what a rug can be. The interconnectedness of art, design, and culture is palpable in every corner of HANRAD. Through its meticulously crafted pieces, the store seamlessly bridges the gap between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary art.

 

Cream Eatery

Cafes key icon.

14 Garden Place, Hamilton Central

In the vibrant heart of Hamilton, Cream Eatery stands as a dreamy inner-city refuge for discerning foodies. Luke and Crissy, the local hospitality legends who once spearheaded the acclaimed Winner Winner chicken shop, continue their magic here. The outstanding food, from Luke's bold signature dishes to Chrissy's eye-catching array of sweet temptations, makes Cream more than just a café - it's a daily rendezvous for many Hamiltonians.

Housed in the emblematic MLC Insurance building, Cream's interiors reflect a passionate love for design. With its exposed concrete ceilings, terrazzo tiles, and pristine white finishes, the thoughtful detailing captures the historic essence of the space with a modern flair.

Mr Pickles

Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

298 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

Known for its eclectic mix of eateries, bars, and boutique stores, Hamilton’s Riverbank Lane really comes alive as the sun sets. One of its best-loved treasures is Mr. Pickles, a stylish yet relaxed bar and eatery for those who treasure the art of unwinding. A top spot for casual drinks in the lane or dining outdoors with a prime riverside view, dinner here is always a stellar experience. 

With its intriguing mix of raw industrial touches, verdant greenery, and warm ambient lighting, this eatery's fit-out perfectly mirrors its ethos: refined yet refreshingly unpretentious. Colourful terrazzo details add a touch of quirkiness to the place while intriguing wooden elements and exposed concrete keep the space grounded, overall creating a setting that’s both authentic and inviting.

Lykke Cafe & Homewares

Cafes key icon.

1 Greenwood Street, Frankton

Sitting pretty in the suburb of Frankton, Lykke Cafe & Homewares effortlessly merges the charm of European design with warm, friendly Kiwi hospitality. The adorable and welcoming space captures the very essence of ‘Lykke’ –  a Danish term that describes a state of pure, unadulterated happiness. Owners Malcolm and Juliet have masterfully designed a pastel-hued sanctuary that embodies cherished moments from their time living in Europe. 

Bathed in calming hues of soft teal and rose pink, the interior is adorned with handpicked homewares and lush indoor plants meticulously nurtured by Juliet herself. From the tasteful wooden details to the contemporary shelving laden with thoughtfully curated items, the decor evokes a sense of warmth and community. As if the ambience wasn't inviting enough, the tantalizing array of European-meets-Kiwi dishes ensures every visitor experiences the epitome of 'Lykke'.

 

Browsers

Riverbank Lane, 298 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

Another gem of Riverbank Lane, Browsers Bookshop, is a haven for those seeking literary treasures. This one-of-a-kind bookshop oozes calm and invites book discovery with its huge statement bookshelf and comfy leather chairs. There's a tangible sense of history here, with quirky keepsakes and novelty antiques adorning the space that add to the feeling of discovery, uncovering something special and unique in every corner. 

Collaborating closely with Stark Property, the masterminds of Riverbank Lane, Browsers has created a space that resonates deeply with bibliophiles. As you lose yourself among the lovingly curated collection of second-hand books and converse with the well-informed staff, you're reminded why Browsers remains a treasured spot in Hamilton.

Café Kopi

Cafes key icon.

Riverbank Lane, 298 Victoria Street, Hamilton

After a morning uncovering your new favourite reads at Browsers, stroll next door to Cafe Kopi for a well-deserved bite and brew. It's easy to see why locals love this spot; the cafe's reimagined setup feels instantly inviting with its unassuming charm and relaxed vibe. 

Industrial elements of the interior are offset with the warm wooden panelling and an abundance of natural light flooding the space. Those sun-drenched tables by the generous windows are just begging for a long catch-up with friends or a moment of solitude with a good book. Cafe Kopi has that genuine, come-as-you-are feel, giving every visit that ‘coming home’ type of vibe. Here it's the simple joys that matter most — good company, good food, and a good brew.

The Lost Boys

Cafes key icon.

45 Waterloo Street, Frankton

In an industrial corner of Frankton, The Lost Boys emerges like an unexpected treasure. Housed in a refurbished 1930s Europa petrol station, its understated yet unique fitout speaks volumes about reimagining spaces. A casual yet thoughtfully designed space, the interior strikes a balance between retro charm and contemporary finesse with subtle undertones of Peter Pan vibes. 

Beyond its comfortable and refreshing aesthetic, the cafe celebrates local – from Essenza coffee beans to Volare bread. Their commitment to sustainability and fresh, locally sourced ingredients is a tribute to the cafe's strong community ties. It's not just about the coffee here; it's about feeling right at home in a place where everyone knows your name.

Hayes Common

Cafes key icon.

33 Jellicoe Drive, Hamilton East

Tucked away in the bustling heart of East Hamilton, Hayes Common is a local hideaway that promises a unique blend of cosiness and chic. It's a place where the earthy tones and laid-back interiors mingle with the infectious buzz of community spirit. Whether you're after a sunlit corner for a lazy brunch or a vibrant spot for evening gatherings, this suburban oasis caters to every whim with its multifaceted rooms and sunlit alfresco space.

The meticulously detailed fit-out mirrors the passion and dedication that’s been poured into the space. Every detail sings of careful crafting, from the intricate tile work to the rustic wooden details and the seamlessly adaptable rooms. Hayes Common is where elegant design meets comfort, and every visit feels like coming home.

Sentinel Café

Cafes key icon.

586 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

Sentinel Café boasts an interior as stunning as its menu is delicious. The space revels in a harmony of modern and cosy, showcasing clean lines and a palette that echoes calm with its warm timber accents and muted blues. The comforting symmetry and refreshingly paired back design offer a serene backdrop for morning musings or leisurely afternoon catch-ups.

Sentinel’s soothing ambience and thoughtful styling are an invitation to unwind and take that moment for yourself on a busy weekday. Cosy booths, intimate tables, and tasteful bar learners provide a variety of seating options to suit your mood. With gently cascading botanical elements and ambient lighting reflecting off the cerulean tiles, you’re unlikely to find a more aesthetically pleasing spot for your weekday nourishment. 

Neat Hamilton Places

Gothenburg

Outdoor seating on the patio at Gothenburg.
Place Hamilton
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Escape the city, come to the riverside and enjoy the best of Waikato cuisine at Gothenburg.

Café Kopi

Seating area at Cafe Kopi.
Place Hamilton
Cafes key icon.

One thing is for sure—only good things come out of Riverbank Lane. So it’s safe to say when Café Kopi found a home in this community, we were pretty stoked. The vibe of this little caffeine haven is pretty chic, to say the least.

Crate

Hats and shorts on display inside Crate clothing store Hamilton.
Place Hamilton
Fashion key icon.

Fashion-forward fellas are spoilt for choice at modern Hamilton clothing store Crate.

Fox Kennedy Barbers

Entrance to Fox Kennedy barber in Hamilton.
Place Hamilton
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Fox Kennedy is sprucing up the men of Hamilton.