The Best Rooftop Bars in Wellington, New Zealand

Photo of Thalita Alves
11 March 2019

In recent years, Wellington has experienced somewhat of a rooftop bar boom, with a growing number of newcomers vying for a coveted spot among the New Zealand capital’s hottest food and drink establishments. If you relish the idea of unwinding in an open space, here are the top venues to put on your radar.

Dirty Little Secret

Bar, Oceanian, $$$
Map View
Dirty Little Secret was inspired by the snazzy laneway bars you’ll typically find in Melbourne. The venue offers the perfect combination of rustic chic aesthetics and naturally wonderful views – you get quite a good glimpse of Wellington’s bustling city centre from the outside seating area. Burgers and sharing platters are the norm when it comes to food here, and the bar is known for offering a vast selection of New Zealand craft beers too. On cold nights, you can cosy up to the patio heater and wrap yourself around some snug fleece blankets.

The Arborist Rooftop Bar

Bar, Oceanian, $$$
Map View
Cocktails
Cocktails | © Neha Deshmukh/Unsplash

Perched atop Wellington’s Trinity Hotel, The Arborist prides itself in being an urban escape that’s shrouded in great views and a healthy dose of greenery. There’s a wide range of drinks available, but frozen cocktails is what The Arborist does best – there’s a regular assortment of ‘flavours of the day’ to try. On the food side of things, this is the place to share some platters with your friends (there are vegan and gluten-free options available). Get in before 5 p.m. to snap up one of the prized seats out by the deck – keeping in mind this joint can get quite busy.

Basque

Bar, Oceanian, $$$
Map View

A laid-back rooftop bar with a distinctive Northern Spanish flair. Basque is a place to relish the city vistas from high above while you sample a large assortment of craft beers and sink your teeth into a delectable selection of pizzas, croquetas and tapas. If you have a soft spot for Spanish vino, there are nine different types of sangria on the menu.

The Hop Garden

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Oceanian, $$$
Map View
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The Hop Garden, Wellington, New Zealand

Tucked within the lower slopes of Mount Victoria, the Hop Garden is a sanctuary for those wanting a bit of downtime without venturing away from the city. As its name suggests, there’s a strong emphasis on New Zealand craft beers on the drinks’ menu. The garden-patio bar is lined with vines and a glass roof, giving the venue its unique garden-like atmosphere whilst also protecting patrons from the capital’s infamous winds. And a wholesome bite to eat is always a given – just take your pick from a selection of tapas-style small plates and European-inspired a la carte mains.

Bethel Woods

Bar, BBQ, $$$
Map View

Live music, a vast array of tap beers and an interesting American-style food menu are some of the features that attract Wellingtonians to this hip venue. Bethel Woods provides a contrast to the corporate setting that surrounds it, with an airy rooftop space that’s set to make any evening that much more dynamic. The bar is also quite close to the Westpac Stadium – making it a nice go-to for those eager for a pre- or post-rugby match drink.

Queen of Jackson

Bar, Oceanian, $$$
Map View
Drinks
Drinks | © Jez Timms/Unsplash
Queen of Jackson enjoys the best of two very different worlds. Downstairs, you’ve got a nostalgic, English-style pub setting; venture up to the roof and you’ll find yourself in a garden-like bar with an artsy ambiance. The bar and restaurant serves an array of fruity ciders (there are 12 different kinds to choose from) plus a wide selection of tap beers and an enviable selection of shared meals.
These recommendations were updated on March 11, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.