5 of the best bars in Wellington

Wellington is a lively city with an array of unique bars to suit absolutely everyone’s taste. Take a stroll down Courtney Place, explore side roads and alleys around the city and uncover hidden gems or simply follow this list to discover five of the best and most unique bars to be found in Wellington.

CGR Merchants & Co

People often wonder why it’s called CGR, it actually stands for Coffee, Gin and Rum, which they specialize in. When you enter you are captivated by the fascinating collection of infused liquors behind the bar. Some personal favorites like the Salted Caramel Rum and Mango & Chilli Gin are must tries. Their imaginative and unique infusions have earned them a place as one of the best bars in Wellington.

CGR Merchants & Co

The Library

Once you walk through the book case door you’ll be astounded by the extensive book collection, relaxing lounge seating and of course the luxurious bathtub, often filled with champagne during private functions. Take a look at their unique cocktail list and indulge in one of their infamous desserts to sweeten up your night.

The Library

Matterhorn

This luxurious bar is tucked away in the off-beat & lively ‘Cuba Street’. Relax in the spacious outdoor courtyard or pop over to the indoor bar and indulge in one of their award winning cocktails. If you feel like segwaying into dinner, you’ve come to the right place; Matterhorn also happens to have many awards for its fine dining restaurant with unforgettably decadent meals.

Matterhorn

Motel

Private, Luxurious and intriguing are the first words that come to mind when I think of The Motel. Much like a 1920’s speakeasy, the entrance is discretely tucked away in the quiet Forresters Lane alleyway off Tory Street; ring the bell to enter and the door will unlock. Motel constantly reinvents itself with a new theme accompanied by extravagant decor and cocktail menu. Most recently I walked into see a Tiki theme, I can’t wait to see what they think of next!

Motel

Ancestral

A chic Asian inspired Lounge bar with a lively vibe most likely fueled by a stellar wine and beer list. The moody indoor bar is a great contrast from the bright and airy courtyard. Feeling a bit peckish? Order some yummy tapas from their Yakitori grill or indulge in East Asian Cuisine with a twist.

Ancestral

Lizi Oldham is the Digital Marketing Manager at Amazing Accom.

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Comments (4)

  1. Hans says:

    I haven’t been to New Zealand yet, but I always love having a drink in a classy establishment when I travel. As such, I’ll be trying out a few of these places that you’ve mentioned here!

  2. Lash says:

    Hi Lizi,

    THanks for this great list of unique bars in Wellington!

    Ha ha ha – CGR for Coffee, Gin & Rum. What a funny name! Despite that, this sounds like the place I’d most like in your list. I love tasty cocktails and some of their creative concoctions sounds delicious!

    I spent 1 week in Wellington in May. Even though I searched for cocktail bars and asked for recommendations from locals, nobody seemed to know any! Clearly I was asking the wrong crowd!

    I did find a few, thanks to a guidebook, but of your list here I only found The Library. It was a bit too dark & serious feeling for me, though.

    One thing I was taken aback by in Welly, though, were the astronomical prices of cocktails! $18-20NZ was standard. Far out! That’s 3-4 times the price in US and double price of cocktails in the top bars around SE Asia. Why so expensive?! …to be honest, it made me want to head to the bottle shop instead and mix up my own.

    Luckily a local girl who loves cocktails, too, finally told me about some good happy hour deals like 2 for 1. That brings the cost to a somewhat reasonable level at least.

    In any event, thanks for your suggestions! I’ll be back in Welly in mid Novemeber. I’ll be sure to check out at least CGR bar. :))

    cheers, Lash

  3. Being Wellington-born, but a UK resident for the last 20 odd years, I only wish there had been bars like this in the capital when I lived there. Every time I return, Wellington looks better than it did on my last visit. Although the original architectural plans were reputedly laid down in the wrong place (they were designed for a flat area, i.e. Petone), the curves – now that architects have learned to work with them – make it far more interesting. But why did I leave? As ‘Lash’ notes, the costs were too high altogether. Which is OK if you’re in the diplomatic service, business operations, hairdressing or advertising, but not, say, for teachers and freelance journalists.

  4. Lizi Oldham says:

    Thanks Lash & Vivienne. CGR is by far the most affordable out of the list. You can enjoy an infused gin for around $9. Bars like the Library and Chow have 2 for 1 specials on Wednesday nights so they are perfect for an after work cocktail. I’m glad this post was useful.

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