The Best Sports Bars in Wellington, New Zealand

Pub Sports | © Sam Howzit / Flickr
Pub Sports | © Sam Howzit / Flickr
Photo of Joe Coates
10 February 2018

When it comes to reasons that are considered genuinely acceptable for missing work in New Zealand, having sports on at your local alcohol dispensary is normally considered pretty up there. A pub with a pool table and big TVs to watch rugby is essential in any town. Here is our guide to the best sports-bars in Wellington, New Zealand.

Public Bar and Eatery

Bar, European, Australian, $$$
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Courtenay Place
Courtenay Place | © Phillip Capper / Flickr

There are certain criteria that a sports bar must meet to find a place in the heart of the die-hard sports fanatic. Firstly it must be open as continuously as possible to allow for the time differences for sporting events taking place all over the globe. Secondly, the alcoholic offerings must be plentiful and decently priced. Thirdly, there must be a pool table / dart board to allow pub sports to be played during breaks in live sport on the TV. Public has all three of these essential criteria covered. They even have four bars over two stories to ensure you’ll never miss a play whilst you’re getting a fresh beer. Wonderful stuff.

Brooklyn Bar

Bar, Pub, European, Australian, Italian
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The Suburb of Brooklyn
The Suburb of Brooklyn | Chris W / Flickr

The Brooklyn Bar is your classic Kiwi neighbourhood pub. Decor-wise it could be one of a thousand similar bars around the country, but the beer is cold and the lines are clean. The food is typical pub fare, but it’s really well done. The steak is as good as you will get for an astoundingly good price. It’s just a really nice environment to be a part of. When you’ve finished a hard day at work, or spent nine hours walking about and seeing the sights, and you know that a particularly good game of rugby is on, well, go and grab a handle of lager at Brooklyn Bar.

J.J Murphy and Co.

Pub, Pub Grub, Beer, $$$
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When in Wellington
When in Wellington | © Irish Jaunt / Flickr

If Wellington bars were likened to animals, it could be accurately said that J.J Murphy’s is the tuatara. It crawled out of the primordial ooze long, long ago, way beyond the memories of mortals and, apart from a few tweaks, it seems to have changed very little. It’s a comfortable place to shelter from the wild Wellington wind. It has open fires, a dark wooden bar that seems to have been petrified with the passage of eons and polished by millions of elbows. There are a few big screens dotted about for the rugby and football (this is an Irish pub after all and regularly screens the EPL).One of the best ideas implemented by the staff is the 20-dollar pool deposit. Basically, you can pay 20 bucks deposit and then play all the games you want, returning the white ball after you’ve finished to receive your money back.

The Old Bailey

Bar, Pub Grub, Beer, $$$
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Beer, the game, and a mate
Beer, the game, and a mate | © Paul Joseph / Flickr

The Old Bailey is in the heart of the financial district of Wellington, so it’s nice when you walk inside that all the hustle and bustle and pretentiousness that is synonymous with this part of town is left at the door. It’s a little more refined than some of the other bars on our list, and you wouldn’t get looked at twice for ordering a nice side of fish with a lovely crisp sauvignon blanc whilst you watched the footy with your partner.

The Welsh Dragon

Pub, Pub Grub, Beer, British
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The Welsh Dragon Bar
The Welsh Dragon Bar | © Ewan Munro / Flickr

You’d be forgiven for passing this obscure little pub without a second glance, passing it off as a public toilet block maybe. This is quite understandable as it did, in fact, used to be a council public loo. Don’t let that put you off though. The porcelain was long ago traded for pints, and now the Welsh Dragon attracts visitors from all over to watch the live sports, partake in the famous pub quizzes and listen to some cracking live music.

Four Kings

Bar, Pub Grub, Beer, $$$
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F&C | © / Flickr

Let’s just start off by saying that this is possibly the most sports-bar of sports-bars on our list. A haven for sports purists who want to sit and watch sport and have a pint or two, and maybe a spot of lunch or dinner. The decor might be a little sad and in need of refurbishment in places, but the thing is the money used for those sort aesthetic frivolities could be used for buying more or bigger televisions. You can see where the enigma lies. That being said, there is a classic vibe about the whole set-up; from the giant televisions that you can watch football on until 6am, the menu that proudly revolves around the deep-fryer and the distinctive lack of anything that might even resemble a craft beer. This is a place for sport watching. Period.

Lovelock's Sports Bar

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Lovelock’s is another typical bar that you can find all around the place. However, there are some sports bars that are run with just a touch more panache, and we have to say that this is one of them. There’s always something on here, and we’re not just talking about the sporting events on the television. There are Happy Hours galore, Spin the Wheel deals, quiz nights and drinks specials. They really try to mix things up here and it shows. This is probably one of the sports bars in town that you could bring a lady friend to and not have them leave in disgust within a quarter of an hour.

The Green Man Pub

Bar, Gastropub, Pub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Steakhouse, Irish, Beer, $$$
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Lovely Steak
Lovely Steak | © Jessica Spengler / Flickr
The Green Man Pub is another Irish pub serving hearty pub grub and proper pints. This is as good a place as any to go and catch a game of rugby, and worth a visit if you’re particularly seeking out a good steak whilst you watch the game. It can get busy at times, but this is a good sign. The lamb shank and rib-eye are particularly good, and usually exceptionally tender.