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The 10 Best Bars In Wellington, New Zealand

The 10 Best Bars In Wellington, New Zealand

Picture of Matthew Clark
Updated: 9 February 2017
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 (for which it has been named ‘Windy Wellington’), and its bars and restaurants – regarded as the best the country has to offer. Read on to discover the best bars in this small capital city.

The Library

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 drinks 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.


The Library, Level 1/53 Courtenay Place, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-382 8593

Drinks and literature | Image courtesy of The Library
Drinks and literature | Image courtesy of The Library

Hawthorn Lounge

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 all 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.


Hawthorn Lounge, 82 Tory St, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-890 3724


Foxtail is one of Wellington’s most exciting venues, serving a range of fine wines and rare whiskeys, as well as an intriguing choice of original cocktails that have a basis in 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.


The Foxglove, 33 Queens Wharf, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-460 9410

Foxtail | Image courtesy of Foxtail
Foxtail | Image courtesy of Foxtail

The Malthouse

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.


The Malt House, 48 Courtenay Pl, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-802 5484

Vinyl Bar

Let’s take it back to when your music collection took up more space than just the size of your smartphone, when music was something more than just what you hear at the press of a button. Music is what’s important at Vinyl Bar, which boasts an ever-growing collection of vinyl records, already exceeding ten thousand. Everywhere you look there are records, even above the bar. Come along, wind down and enjoy some great tunes and a couple of pints.


Vinyl Bar, 66 Courtenay Pl, Wellington, New Zealand +64 21 645 154

Vinyl Bar | Image courtesy of Vinyl Bar
Vinyl Bar | Image courtesy of Vinyl Bar

The Establishment

One of the best and classiest entertainment venues in the city is The Establishment. The corner of Courtney Place and Blair Street is lit up by this bar, which is pumping with the resident DJ’s tracks. If you’re looking for a place to go for after work drinks, look no further than The Establishment, where the list of beers has everything you’ll need and the classic bar food will convince you to stay all night long.


The Establishment, Corner of Courtney Place & Blair Street, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-382 8654

Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium

Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium is located in Wellington’s center, and is a throw-back 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, 3 Swan Ln, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-385 2240

Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium | Image courtesy of Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium
Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium | Image courtesy of Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium

Motel Bar

Polynesia is brought to Wellington by Motel Bar. Tiki motifs are the points of interest in the interior, and you’d never guess what’s on the inside of this bar if it weren’t for the impressive tropical street art out front. The great selection of cocktails represents the feel of the bar, where you can get tropical twists on the brilliant traditional Polynesian cocktails.

Motel Bar, Forresters Lane, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-384 9084


Conceptualizing the traditional values and culture of Shanghai in the 1930s, Ancestral offers a dining and drinking experience that brings people to share food, drinks, stories and time between friends and family. The Hanpai dining room is where you can find the chic Ancestral, 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.


Ancestral, 35 Courtenay Place, Wellington, New Zealand +64 4-801 8867

The Apartment

Fitted out like a New York loft apartment, The Apartment is a stunning bar in central Wellington where you can find leather couches as well as an uptown, modern fireplace, which really sets the mood in this unusual bar. You will feel like you’re starring in an episode of Sex and the City while you indulge in one of the classic American cocktails on offer at The Apartment.


The Apartment, 25 Allen St, Te Aro, New Zealand +64 4-385 9771