12 Hours Underground at Willis Lane
For a city renowned for its eclectic food scene and spirited nightlife, Wellington's latest venture, Willis Lane, sets a new benchmark.
Nestled beneath the iconic Aon Tower, at the intersection of Willis Street and Lambton Quay, the avant-garde dining and entertainment district promises a dawn-to-dusk sensory voyage.
Are you ready to fill your weekend with irresistible delights? Join us as we guide you through 12 unforgettable hours at Willis Lane.
As you descend from the bustling Willis Street, you'll find the familiar energy of Wellington seamlessly blending with the gritty, industrial vibe of New York, thanks to the vision of award-winning interior designer Paul Izzard. The labyrinth of weaving tunnels and vaulted brick archways make every corner of Willis Lane feel like a discovery in itself.
Words by: Katherine Dewar
Photography by Ashley Alexander
Fresh from a morning jog along Oriental Parade? Minimalism is the mantra of Wasabi Sushi, echoed in every mouthful of freshly-made katsu, donburi or sushi. Here, mid-morning snacks are an elegant affair - a blend of nourishing tradition and contemporary craft. An ideal start to the day in the heart of Wellington's bustling cityscape.
A Playful Rendezvous
Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
We all want to run away to the circus. Post-breakfast, immerse yourself in the whirl of energy at Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq. With echoes of laughter, the clatter of arcade games, and a cheeky round of ten-pin bowling, this is a playground of nostalgia. It’s the perfect place to lose yourself - if only for a while - before the city beckons you back.
Rick’s Cheese Steaks
After a spot of retail therapy on Lambton Quay, satiate your midday cravings at Rick’s Cheese Steaks. Beyond its unpretentious facade lies a culinary haven boasting the much-loved, authentic American Philly Cheese Steak. A bite into their hot-off-the-grill delights takes you on a transatlantic journey straight to the streets of Philadelphia. This homage to the American classic is everything you could want from your midday meal - hearty, tasty, and incredibly satisfying.
No afternoon is complete without a sweet treat. Hailing from the humble Waikato, Duck Island has quickly become a Wellington institution with innovative ice creams that flirt with whimsy while paying homage to the classics. Here, indulgence is elevated to an art form. Each scoop is made up of dreamy, locally-sourced ingredients and creative flavour pairings that will make your afternoon sing with sweetness.
Foo Du Dumplings
These delightful little flavour bombs are the perfect late-afternoon, pre-dinner bites. Originally a tiny restaurant in Northern China’s Shandong province, Foo Du’s dim sum, shumai and dumplings carry a rich heritage of traditional, time-honoured Chinese recipes. But don’t forget to leave room for the main course.
Churly’s by Behemoth
With a contented sigh, slip into the evening with a drink at Churly’s, the home of Behemoth Brewing Company - the kind of local, salt-of-the-earth place that promises big craft beers, delicious bites, and staff that know your name. Returning to their Wellington roots after rising to Auckland fame, Behemoth’s Churly’s is the perfect spot to grab a pint, soak in the evening and sink your teeth into their finger-licking charcuterie.
As the sun sets, indulge in an authentic Italian feast at Corso Pastaria. Brought to you by the maestros behind Wellington’s iconic venues Astoria and Atlas, this new hotspot serves up incredible handcrafted pasta, paired with a curated selection of fine wines. Prepare yourself for a meal that will leave you full, satisfied and smiling.
Holey Moley Golf Club
And finally, top off your evening with a friendly (or heated) mini-golf match at Holey Moley. The neon-lit putting greens and energetic atmosphere are the perfect endnote to an evening well-spent at Willis Lane. And if you’re after one last nightcap, don’t worry. Grab a classic cocktail or a boozy shake from their fully-stocked bar, and toast to an unforgettable day.
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