Bars, pubs and clubs have reopened for the first time in eight weeks - to the delight of one thirsty Wellingtonian who parked up outside a CBD bar for over an hour.
For James, perched on a deck chair outside the capital's Minibar on Courtenay Place, it was a chance to reunite with his "bar family" when it reopened this afternoon.
Elsewhere in the city, friends reunited at Mish Mosh bar, with patron Hugh finally getting to see his out-of-town friends again.
Although the lockdown was great, they've all missed social contact, he told Newstalk ZB.
Ten days ago, bars watched their restaurant and cafe cousins reopen, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned bars that their standard settings would easily spread the coronavirus.
The delay has hit bar owners hard. One Wellington bar owner says the strict rules meant bars were only allowed to be "the poor cousins of restaurants".
But as many Aucklanders celebrating in the Viaduct said, tonight's the night they've been waiting for since lockdown began.
Punters filled the city's centre's streets dressed up for their first night out in months.
Bars were overflowing with laughter, as people met for catch ups, date nights and belated birthdays.
But those reopening for the first time in nearly two months can only do so under strict rules: customers must be seated, separated and a single server must provide table service.
Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield earlier said people should support the businesses that open for the main purpose of serving drinks, rather than food, as they reopen.
He asked the public to give their correct details to the bars and restaurants they visited, should they need to be contacted in case of an outbreak of the virus.
But Bloomfield warned that today was not the day to try out "any new dance moves" you might've learned during lockdown.
Take a seat instead, and if you're at Dunedin's cocktail bar Toast, try out the "Bloomfield" cocktail named after the man himself.
The ingredients of the whisky-based cocktail with a hint a cinnamon were decided on in a Facebook promotion, with just the garnish left to vote on.
So what are the rules?
• A maximum of 100 people are allowed in a venue at one time
• No more than 10 people in a group
• No moon walking: dancing isn't allowed, unless it is from a seat
• Stay 1 metre away from anyone not in your group
• The three S's must be in place: customers must be seated, separated and a single server must provide table service - meaning you can't pop up to the bar for a refill.
• Jacinda Ardern reveals when Govt will decide on new mass gatherings limit
• Cheers! New Zealand bars reveal plans to open in level 2
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Cabinet to consider mass gathering rules
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Alert level 2 at a glance - all you need to know
Where should I go for a tipple?
Here's Rebecca Blithe, lifestyle editor of nzherald.co.nz's top picks:
Caretaker and Deadshot: Serving tailor-made cocktails in unique, speakeasy-style settings, both bars will be back in business from tonight, 5pm.
• Caretaker: Downstairs, 40 Customs St, Britomart Place
• Deadshot: 45 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
The Jefferson Ringing in their return to service, esteemed whisky bar The Jefferson is hosting a Prohibition Party on Saturday night. For $300 for two the ticketed event will feature Champagne, oysters and canapes, and DJ sets.
• 7 Fort Lane, Auckland CBD
Toast Bar Home of the Ashley Bloomfield-inspired cocktail, toast opens tomorrow night.
• 59 Princes St, Dunedin
Parasol And Swing For drinks with a view, head to Parasol And Swing at the Viaduct. Director Adam Neal recommends checking out their seasonal menu, which showcases organic and natural wines. You'll also find, for each wine, a signature cocktail using bespoke ingredients.
• Parasol And Swing: 7/204 Quay St, Auckland CBD
The Last Word Open from 4pm today, choose from an impressive range of cocktails concocted from a selection of whiskies from 13 countries.
• 31 New Regent St, Christchurch Central City
My Bar Head into the city for a cocktail at this boutique CBD hotspot, opening tonight.
• 12 Durham St East, Auckland CBD
Nightflower Wellingtonians will no doubt be keeping tabs on the reopening of this speakeasy-style cocktail bar. From tonight customers can get their fix. Bar staff recommend messaging the bar to book a table or phoning before 2pm to leave a message.
• Level 1/55 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington