Upon arriving in New Zealand’s fun little capital, it will not be long before you stumble across your first Wellington café, and that is because they are everywhere.
Rumoured to have more cafés, bars and restaurants per capita than New York, the café scene in Wellington punches well above its weight on the world stage.
It would be rude not to immediately partake in drinking some of the best coffee around, so once you have stepped off the ferry or plane, make your way into the CBD and get your hands around a cup of the good stuff. Hosted by fun-loving, cheerful waitstaff, cafés in Wellington are a huge part of what makes the city tick, and if you wanted colour, entertainment, quirky decor and top rate food and drinks, then you have come to the right place.
Watch the inner city come to life as commuters make their early morning dash to the local for a scone and long black, or sit in at lunch next to University students from up the hill who come to have their study breaks in the form of caffeine and carbs. A city that really likes to eat out means that the food on offer at Wellington cafés is really something else, and with a growing number of different dietary requirements, you can expect to see plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten and dairy-free options.
The outer suburbs may be slightly quieter in nature, but that does not mean the cafés there are lacking in quality. In fact these tucked away eateries often have loyal followings of their own simply because they do what they do so well. From Miramar Peninsula to Island Bay, Lyall Bay and Newtown, these cafés take their job seriously and can be found bustling with visitors from early til late.;
An overarching ethos of supporting local means you will often find Wellington cafés stocking products from neighbouring businesses, and collaborations between creative food and drink makers are constantly on the cards. Look out for some of Wellington’s favourite coffee roasters; Flight Coffee, Peoples Coffee, Supreme, L’affare and Havana, and if you are not staying for long it pays to buy a big bag of beans to take home too. Experts in the subject mean they also stock some of the best gear around for grinding, preparing and pouring your own, so be sure to talk to those behind the counter for the top tips on how to brew the perfect cup at home. Whether you are settling in for a Wellington brunch, taking your in-laws out for a Wellington lunch, or simply passing time before your next meeting, the Wellington café scene welcomes everyone with their (quite literally) open door policy.
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Peoples Coffee Roastery
Head to Newtown, venture a bit further past the chaotic and colourful Riddiford Street, and you’ll stumble across Peoples Coffee’s roastery HQ café, the...
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Nestled near the corner of popular Blair Street, Squirrel offers a warm and inviting haven complemented by a menu that showcases the best of Wellington’s producers and suppliers.
The Raumati Social Club
Raumati Social Club is a bit of an institution at Kāpiti Coast.
Dark Horse Coffee co. has been providing the people of Kāpiti Coast and beyond with delicious artisan coffee since 2016.
Adding a splash of colour and fun to the Poplar Ave corner at Raumati South, Sunday Cantina is in the business of providing customers with healthy, fresh food in a cheerful...
The Common Room
If you’re wondering where to grab a great coffee from while out exploring Kāpiti Coast, a simple answer is: The Common Room.
Olde Beach Bakery
Olde Beach Bakery pumps out delicious baked goods in the heart of Paekākāriki for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike.
Beach Road Deli
On the main street of the cute seaside township of Paekākāriki, you’ll find Beach Road Deli – a bright and beachy café offering great coffee and quality...
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Some of the finest coffee in town since 2010, Wellington's Customs is the flagship café co-owned by Coffee Supreme and their long-time employee, Tim Norriss.
It may trace its roots to Upper Hutt, but Dough has certainly made a name for itself among bread lovers in Wellington’s city centre.
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Wellington loves a little food bar and a small but punchy Cuba Street shop simply named Fred's might just be the hottest place in town to grab a sandwich.
Having built a reputation for feeding Wellingtonians healthy breakfasts on the go, it was only a matter of time before food caravan The Oatery set up a permanent shop.
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Offering a local taste of New York chic, Myrtle is the spinoff bakery everybody wanted from one of Wellington’s most revered suburban eateries.
Duck Island Wellington
It was only a matter of time before Hamilton’s Duck Island ice cream came knocking on Wellington’s door.
From the texture to the rich, bright flavours, their range of sorbet and gelato offerings are impressive on the palate and pleasing to the eye.
Fidel's is a Cuba St institution and a go-to for those in search of great food, sharp service and good vibes in the heart of the city.
The tagline and ethos at Elements say it all, ‘Real food, everyday’, and this popular Wellington café is a destination for good reason.
Community is definitely the feel you get here too - expect to see people reading books, catching up on university goss, and all with impeccable coffee in hand.
Peoples Coffee - Lukes Lane
Peoples offers a range of artisan toasts and sweet things, and the coffee can be trusted to be impeccable.
Qilin Tea House
Qilin Tea House certainly feels a magical place to be if you’re a tea lover.
In a suburb that seems like it’s perpetually on holiday, easy-going modern deli Betsy feels right at home in Island Bay.
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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.
Queen Sally's Diamond Deli
A Lyall Bay mainstay, Queen Sally's is the amazingly kitsch and eclectic café which services the residents of, and visitors to, this rather lovely Wellington suburb.
A café housed in a heritage surf lifesaving building that once had a close call with a fiery fate
Frank’s Newtown is a little replica of its sibling café on The Terrace and has found itself to be a quickly loved part of Newtown culture.
Sleek and simple, Staple Espresso speaks volumes about letting a product do the talking – and in this case it’s the coffee that’s got people chatting
Havana Coffee Works
This cozy, retro café on Tory Street moves through to an open-air, garage-style roastery.
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A small boutique café, cakery and catering business with the feel of a country cottage kitchen.
Catching on to the retro cycles trend, the clever people behind Bicycle Junction's new neighbourhood bikery, describe themselves as “Urban Specialists”.
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Located in the lively neighbourhood of Te Aro, they serve what they do best, delicious bagels accompanied with classic Havana coffee.
Olive provides attentive service, luxurious ambiance, perfectly poached eggs and a top cup of black coffee.
Field & Green
At Field & Green the menu changes weekly, breakfast is served all day, and specials come in two varieties - feast or frugal.
You have no doubt heard of this café’s laid-back vibes, easy-going staff and damn good food.
Championing ethical and sustainable coffee from its Newtown cafe.
Hillside Kitchen & Cellar
Without any conventional marketing, Hillside’s profile has been built by partnering with great local producers like Six Barrel Soda, Fig & Fog, Two Sisters wine, and Noble Estate Olive Oil.
Pickle and Pie
After many a lunchtime spent hankering for just a ‘good old sandwich’, Tim Tracey and Mia Freeman decided to take matters into their own hands.
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Deluxe Espresso Bar
Open till late in the evening, this has for years been a popular coffee spot with young and old, hipsters and working folk – anything goes.
This café definitely takes out the title for best view of the city.
Stories Espresso Bar
Stories Espresso Bar is unique in more ways than one.
Rich Coffee Roasters
Although the relative new guys on the block, Rich Coffee Roasters are by no means amateurs.
Empire Cinema & Eatery
Empire is fitting for a cinema that pre-dated ‘talkies’ when it played its first reel in 1925, but as far as movie theatres go, this one is more for those who’d pick pinot over popcorn.
Comes and Goes
Comes and Goes is a brilliant addition to the Wellington café scene, bringing an explosion of edible flowers and culinary masterpieces that Wellingtonians are welcoming with open arms.
The Food & Drink Heroes of Kāpiti Coast
A coffee shop, music shop and art gallery all in one, Black Coffee has quickly cemented itself as one of the favourite Newtown hangouts.