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Neon glasses | © Newsbie Pix/Flickr
Neon glasses | © Newsbie Pix/Flickr
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The 10 Best Bars in Wellington, New Zealand

Picture of Joe Coates
Updated: 7 February 2018
New Zealand’s second largest city and capital is Wellington. Located on the southern coast of the country’s North Island, Wellington is known for its gorgeous harbor, its weather — the city’s often called ‘Windy Wellington’ — and for having some of the best bars and restaurants in the country. Discover Wellington’s best bars.

Ancestral

Bar, Chinese, Street Food, $$$
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Conceptualizing the traditional values and culture of Shanghai in the 1930s, Ancestral offers a dining and drinking experience that encourages people to share food, drinks, stories and time between friends and family. The facility’s Haipai dining room is where you can find the chic Ancestral bar, or if you’re looking for something a little more casual, try the garden bar, where you can taste the delicate cocktails in the fresh, open-air setting.

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Tue - Wed:
5:00 pm - 11:59 pm
Thu:
5:00 pm - 3:00 am
Fri - Sat:
12:00 pm - 3:00 am

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Traditional

Meow

Bar, Restaurant, European, $$$
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This groovy place on Edwards Street embodies the artsy, alternative vibe that Wellington is famed for. The furniture has a retro, mid-century style, and the beer, wine and spirits are mostly independent and slightly different from what you might expect. Even the name, Meow, is typical Wellington. There’s nothing quite like being asked where you’re off to later and seeing a slightly confused expression on the person’s face when you reply, “Meow.” They’re also into their music here, with notables such as as Electric Wire Hustle performing fairly regularly.

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Tue:
3:00 pm - 1:00 am
Wed - Thu:
12:00 pm - 1:00 am
Fri:
12:00 pm - 3:00 am
Sat:
6:00 pm - 3:00 am

Meal service:

Late Night, Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Quirky, Boutique

Good Luck

Bar, Asian, $$$
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Talk about a Wellington institution! Good Luck has been sucking in fresh university students and spitting out authentic Wellington cool cats for time out of mind. This is a bar that you come to for some hand-crafted cocktails, a few beers and then to groove to some funky house beats. If you get peckish you can grab a few Asian-inspired snacks, but really, you’re here to be seen and maybe dance.
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Tue - Sun:
5:00 pm - 11:59 pm

Meal service:

Late Night

Atmosphere:

Cosy, Stylish

The Malthouse

Bar, Gastropub, European, $$$
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At The Malthouse, you can expect a bar where beer is treated with the respect that it deserves, considering its history, which significantly pre-dates the history of wine. You’ll find fridges full of different beers from all around the world, and the bar is lined with taps featuring brilliant artisan brews. Boasting over 80 of the world’s best beers, you’ll be sure to find something new the first time you visit, as well as every time after that.
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Mon - Tue:
3:00 pm - 11:59 pm
Wed - Sun:
12:00 pm - 11:59 pm

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Cosy, Gourmet

The Library

Bar, European, $$$
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Specializing in scrumptious desserts and delicious cocktails, The Library is a low-key, unpretentious setting for a few after-work drinks, and is also the perfect location to start your night out. You’ll be spoiled for choice here, where the drink list extends to almost 20 pages, from single malt whiskeys to beers, rare wines and a list of cognacs. Of course, you can’t name a bar ‘The Library’ without having at least a few books hanging around. So naturally, when you come into this bar and take a seat, you’re likely to be sitting under a huge bookshelf that extends the length of the bar and holds thousands of classic titles for you to admire while you enjoy your exquisite cocktail.

Drinks and literature | Image courtesy of The Library
Drinks and literature | Courtesy of The Library
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Mon - Thu:
5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Fri - Sun:
4:00 pm - 11:59 pm

Meal service:

Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Boutique, Arty, Cosy

Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium

Bar, European, $$$
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Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium is located in Wellington’s center, and is a throwback to the Victorian era when the art of cocktail making made its appearance on the bar scene, previously occupied by mostly beer and wine. As well as offering a wide selection of beverages, this bar and cafe offers hearty food that warms the soul and goes perfectly with the traditional cocktails provided by the skilled bartenders.

Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium | Image courtesy of Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium
Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium | Courtesy of Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium
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Tue - Sat:
3:00 pm - 1:00 am
Sun:
12:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Meal service:

Late Night

Atmosphere:

Boutique, Cosy

Hawthorn Lounge

Bar, Cocktail Bar, European, $$$
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At the forefront of this bar is tradition. Hawthorn Lounge is a cocktail bar with a 1930s style that boasts all the top-quality ingredients needed to make classic cocktails without the modern bells-and-whistles — just good, simple, authentic beverages. Hawthorn Lounge’s decor and feel is comprised of a lot of dark wood and dark leather, where the only thing that may distract the eye from the brilliant cocktail in front of you is the dapper bartender working in front of a wall filled with an incredible selection of spirits and liqueurs.
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Mon - Sun:
6:00 pm - 2:00 am

Meal service:

Late Night

Atmosphere:

Cosy, Stylish

Foxglove Bar & Kitchen

Bar, Cocktail Bar, European, $$$
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Foxglove is one of Wellington’s most exciting venues, serving a range of fine wines and rare whiskeys. They also have an intriguing choice of original cocktails that are based on traditional cocktail making with a twist, that reflects New Zealand’s culture and agriculture. This bar is located behind the secret door of an oak wardrobe in the equally stunning Foxglove restaurant in Queen’s Wharf, where the decor matches the drinks, making this one of the classiest venues in the city.

Foxtail | Image courtesy of Foxtail
Foxglove | Courtesy of Foxglove
More Info
Mon - Sun:
11:30 am - 1:00 am

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Boutique, Cosy, Quirky

C.G.R. Merchant & Co.

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Central American, South American, $$$
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Walking in from a bustling Courtney Place, you find yourself instantly mellowing. When you round the top of the stairs, you’re suddenly transported into a scene out of The Rum Diary. Before we go any further, the bar’s name stands for Coffee, Gin and Rum. This makes perfect sense, as C.G.R. specialises in making their own rum and gin infusions, using a variety of herbs, fruits and spices. The infusions are always changing, depending on ingredients available, season of the year and how long it might take to make a particular one.
More Info
Tue:
5:00 pm - 11:59 pm
Wed:
5:00 pm - 1:00 am
Thu:
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Fri - Sat:
5:00 pm - 3:00 am

Meal service:

Late Night

Atmosphere:

Boutique, Quirky, Casual, Relaxed

Havana Bar

Bar, Cuban, Tapas, Street Food, $$$
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Wine, tapas, beer and cocktails. Go here if you want a taste of la vida loca! With great tunes pumping each day without fail and a truly unique look, Havana Bar will always put a smile on your dial. Rum plays a big part on the drink menu, and this is one of the best spots for a weekend brunch that’s removed from the classic eggs Benedict. They’re big supporters of local music, and have acts performing three nights a week. So get down, and shake your tail feather at Havana Bar.
More Info
Mon - Sun:
11:30 am - 11:59 pm

Meal service:

Late Night

Atmosphere:

Cosy, Quirky