Check out the numerous Wellington bars and music scene if you visiting New Zealand’s capital. Wellington is home to tons of pubs, cocktail bars, wine bars and live music venues. If you are searching for a great night out in Wellington’s Cuba street or Courtenay Place you will be spoilt for choice! Venues vary from the pub with live muscician playing the guitar to late night establishments offering a range of different attractions. If you are after something more sophisticated, Wellington’s proximity to the wine-producing Wairarapa region means the wine choice is top-notch. Similarly, most pubs offer plenty of choice for craft beer enthusiasts. Whilst on the cocktail front, expect everything from the classics to the downright quirky.
Locals and tourists enjoying the best of Wellington’s craft beer scene
Although Wellington’s bars and music scene venues are dotted all over town there are two main areas to visit. l The party crowds, cocktail-quaffing bunch and clubbing ’til dawn set’ should head towards Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. Alternatively, those looking for something more cultured, less crazy should go to the harbour and waterfront area. It is here you will be more likely to find your ideal. Some of the hotels are also a good bet for cabaret or music and dining combos. Wellington’s compact make-up means moving from venue to venue is typically a matter of easy walking. A few steps or a few minutes, which may perhaps depend less on distance and more on how much you’ve had to drink!
There are all kinds of themed and unusual venues for those looking for something truly different such as Tory Street’s Hawthorn Lounge which has been styled – with almost unbelievable attention to detail – along the lines of a 1920s gentlemen’s club. The music is invariably jazz while the mood created by atmospheric and yesteryear-styled lampshades, leather couches, an open fire and piano is one of elegance and opulence. The sophistication vibe is helped along by the attentive and genuinely friendly service. If you’re more inclined towards the fun than the swanky head to Alice – as in Alice in Wonderland – and enjoy your choice of cocktail served from a teapot.
There is always live music playing somewhere once the sun goes down covering just about every genre going. If it’s big international names you’re into check out www.ripitup.co.nz for a gig guide or pick one up from Base Wellington hostel. If smaller venues are your scene then check out Olive at 170 Cuba Street with its open air courtyard, perhaps the retro-furnished lounge-bar and music cafe known as Laundry at 240 Cuba Street or head to Matterhorn at 106 Cuba Street – a regular haunt of some of the city’s best musicians. Other places known for their live music with some occasional offerings of comedy too are the Cuba Street located Fringe Bar and San Fran as well as Bodega on Ghuznee Street.
As far as bars goes some of the best don’t necessarily shout their charms the loudest. Real treasure can be found tucked away down the most unlikely looking alleyways and at the top of slightly wobbly wooden stairways without what you and I might describe as a sign in sight. Some of these – such as the Foxglove Bar at 33 Queens Wharf which has a tiny Narnia-esque bar within a bar – you’d never happen upon by chance and rely purely on returning loyal patrons and word of mouth.
One of the newer, more happening and certainly easier to find cocktail bars is Havana on Tory Street which, doubling as tapas joint, is housed inside a couple of extra cute and colourful historic cottages. Here you’ll find musicians both local and international as well as DJ sets three nights every week to get your feet tapping while you sip your cocktail of choice. For something decidedly more chilled make your way to St Johns bar and restaurant where bean bags in the garden are perfect for laid-back drinks and long summer evenings.
Finally, for all those resisting bedtime and who like to shake all they’ve got until the early hours there are a number of excellent nightclubs and dance venues (try the Bangalore Polo Club, Electric Avenue or Boogie Wonderland), again typically centred around Courtenay Place and adjacent streets.
Where after dark fun is concerned in Wellington, the bottom line is this – unless you’re a hardcore party animal of the highest degree you’re almost certain to run out of staying power long before you exhaust the city’s choice of party places.
Bangalore Polo Club – Wellington night life
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