Welcome to hop-head heaven.
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.
Welcome to hop-head heaven.
Ground Huddart Parker Building, 1 Post Office Square, Wellington Central
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.
109 Manners Street, Te Aro
Crumpet on Manners Street is a quaint café / bar and quite possibly Wellington’s best kept secret.
El Culo Del Mundo
2 Roxburgh Street, Mount Victoria
El Culo del Mundo is a laid-back bar and eatery that is reminiscent of those traveller-favourite hole-in-the-wall restaurants throughout Latin America.
Golding's Free Dive Bar
The ideal no-nonsense neighbourhood bar.
14 Leeds Street, Te Aro
Hanging Ditch, for those who are yet to visit, is Leeds’ Street best little slice of stealth.
32a/34 Wigan Street, Te Aro
Part restaurant, part bar, Havana is an absolute essential in every sense of those two words.
82 Tory Street, Te Aro
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.
264a Cuba Street, Te Aro
A fun and easy going brewery and bar, with plenty of games (including table tennis!) to keep you entertained.
Little Beer Quarter
6 Edward Street, Te Aro
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.
3 Wilson Street, Newtown
A sign above the jet black entrance at Mason invites you to come as you are, and it's a tempting proposal.
9 Edward Street, Te Aro
Live music, slam poetry readings, stand-up comedy and a thumping happy hour make Meow a versatile venue.
8 Courtenay Place, Te Aro
Mockingbird serves the capital’s plant-based and open minded omnivorous population with beautiful vegan ‘junk food’.
167 Riddiford Street, Newtown
True to name, things gets pretty cosmic inside Moon 1.
66 Kingsford Smith Street, Rongotai
A brilliant retro-fit bar that welcomes tradies, business folk, families, children and even dogs.
60 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro
Welcome to Puffin, a “wine bar with a focus on organic and minimal intervention wines”.
Rogue & Vagabond
18 Garrett Street, Te Aro
A great spot for meeting friends, socialising or just watching the Wellington crowd do their thing.
1/53 Courtenay Place, Te Aro
Hidden behind an unassuming ground floor entrance, The Library is another well-known establishment that overlooks the go-go crowd of Courtenay Place.
The Third Eye
30 Arthur Street, Te Aro
Tuatara's 'temple of taste' gives one of New Zealand's largest craft brewers a claw-hold in the city of beer.