For a city that packs around half a million people into a beautiful harbourside location that is renowned for its easy-to-walk-around size, there is no wonder Wellington bars find themselves in every nook, cranny, alleyway and attic available.
Far from feeling like you are on an overcrowded pub crawl, discovering bars in Wellington is more like an inner city treasure hunt where the prizes are top rate cocktails, wines and beers (most likely locally brewed too). From waterfront bars with picturesque views of the harbour, to hidden rooftop gems in the heart of Cuba Street, to the bustling Courtenay Place scene that comes alive with party-goers on the weekend, bars in the capital provide a range of environments that any late night enthusiast can appreciate.
It pays to do your research before you head off, as some Wellington bars pride themselves on their hard-to-find nature, but that just makes settling in with a drink there even more exciting. Got a date to impress? Find your nearest cocktail bar and let the atmosphere and gracious bartenders do half the seducing.
Heading out with mates who like a beer? The sheer number of local Wellington breweries, filleries, tasting and tap rooms should mean you have no trouble finding something to suit your taste, and what is better than drinking Wellington beer in the very city that is home to the people who made it? Consider yourself a wine connoisseur? Then you’ll be pleased to hear Wellington has its very own urban winery and every self-respecting bar in the area will also be serving up a fine selection of local and international drops.
Never a shortage of things going on, the common complaint here is simply ‘there’s too much to do, too little time’. Keep an eye out for music gigs, slam poetry nights, comedy and quiz nights - all hosted within the Wellington bar scene.
Loud or hushed, dancing or sitting, bars in Wellington cater to all the different facets of big city life, and so whether you are out for a good time, a long time or a bit of both, start your night (and maybe end it too) at some of the capital’s friendly evening joints where you are likely to feel right at home from the minute you take your first sip.
Chasing the sun: Where to Dine Al Fresco in Wellington
Boasting an almost 1,000-strong wine list, it’s no surprise that Noble Rot is widely considered Wellington's premier wine bar.
Wellington’s city streets are constantly humming with life and energy, but for a playful excursion that breaks the norm, you’ll want to head underground.
Duncan's Brewing Company
Even though Duncan’s Brewing Company’s production warehouse and off-licence in Paraparaumu is tucked down an alleyway, keep your eyes peeled for a full wall...
CGR Merchant & Co
Look for an unassuming red door in the heart of Courtenay Place in Wellington and you’ll be whisked away to one of the city’s best cocktail lounges.
Tucked away in the heart of Newtown in Wellington is the little restaurant, Margot.
Graze Wine Bar
Wellington’s central city eateries are revered across the country, and for good reason.
A cosy refillery and off-licence that’s strictly about good vibes, Monkfish is your Vivian Street stop for your beer, wine, and spirits needs.
Positioned right next to neighbourhood favourite Margot, Next Door makes up one...
Welcome to Puffin, a “wine bar with a focus on organic and minimal intervention wines”.
The Food & Drink Heroes of Kāpiti Coast
Hotdogs and wine might seem like an unlikely combination, but at The Ascot, no one’s going to judge you holding a glass of wine in one hand and a saucy dog in the other.
A favourite spot for nearby business people, don't be surprised to see Charley Noble buzzing with guests even early in the week right through from breakfast till dinnertime.
A fun and easy going brewery and bar, with plenty of games (including table tennis!) to keep you entertained.
A brilliant retro-fit bar that welcomes tradies, business folk, families, children and even dogs.
The service at Hawthorn Lounge is impeccable, in the sense that they're attentive without being overbearing. It's novel enough to make you realise that most places have forgotten the hospitable out of hospitality.
Crumpet on Manners Street is a quaint café / bar and quite possibly Wellington’s best kept secret.
A Night Time Wine Crawl through Wellington City
Live music, slam poetry readings, stand-up comedy and a thumping happy hour make Meow a versatile venue.
Part restaurant, part bar, Havana is an absolute essential in every sense of those two words.
Hanging Ditch, for those who are yet to visit, is Leeds’ Street best little slice of stealth.
Little Beer Quarter
With 12 craft beers on tap and over 100 bottles of beer from New Zealand and around the globe this inner-city pub truly is a gem.
True to name, things gets pretty cosmic inside Moon 1.
Welcome to hop-head heaven.
Golding's Free Dive Bar
The ideal no-nonsense neighbourhood bar.
Hidden behind an unassuming ground floor entrance, The Library is another well-known establishment that overlooks the go-go crowd of Courtenay Place.
Rogue & Vagabond
A great spot for meeting friends, socialising or just watching the Wellington crowd do their thing.