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The Guide to Wellington Nightlife

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Great Nights Out in Wellington

In New Zealand’s cool little capital, one of the most cultural cities in New Zealand, you’re bound to have a night out like no other! Whether you’re looking for a place to dance on the tables, somewhere to sip with sophistication on cocktails, drink some famous New Zealand craft beer, get your gay on, or watch some raw comedy, there’s something for everyone in Wellington’s nightlife.

The main party district in Wellington is along Courtenay Place with a mix of nightclubs, bars, cocktail bars and pubs. A few “underground” alternatives can be found along Cuba Street. The waterfront also has a host of nightlife venues with spectacular views of the harbour.

After your night out in Wellington, get home safely with Wellington Cab Fares: Taxi Prices in Wellington. Also, remember you need a valid ID to drink or even go into bars in Wellington. Check out What ID is Valid for Buying Alcohol in New Zealand? for more information. Plus, have a place to stay at the end of the night by checking out The 50 Best Accommodations in Wellington.

Cheap Eats in Wellington

Before or the morning after your big night out in Wellington, you don’t have to break the bank to find an affordable snack in Wellington. Check out:

  • Rogue & Vagabond – NZ$2 taco Tuesday or make that NZ$4 or NZ$6 by adding more toppings. On Garratt Street
  • Little Beer Quarter – NZ$10 lunch menu? Yes, please! On Edward Street
  • Phoenician Cuisine – Get some kebabs, shawarma and falafel for around NZ$10 on Cuba Street
  • Fidel’s – Take away a NZ$10 lunch box with a hearty pastry and salad on the side. On Cuba Street
  • Chef’s Palette – In the JB Hi-Fi food court on Woodward Street, check out their NZ$6 steak/chicken/pork noodles with generous servings.

For more options, see Cheap Eats in Wellington.

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Pubs in Wellington

Craft Beer in Wellington

The Malthouse on Courtenay Place boasts more than 80 different beers to choose from. Golding’s Free Dive on Leeds Street is a colourful and snug craft beer bar that’s great for those cold and rainy days in Wellington. As for those sunny days, you have to get to The Rogue & Vagabond for a craft brew outdoor on a bean bag. To give you the illusion of being outside, check out The Hop Garden on Pirie Street with its burst of natural lighting and plants.

Hashigo Zake on Taranaki Street prides itself on having beer you’ve never even heard of. Finally, Little Beer Quarter on Edward Street will keep you warm and cosy with its leather seating and fireplace.

Irish Pubs in Wellington

A city is not a city without an Irish pub and Wellington has quite a few! Treat yourself to breakfast and live music every Friday and Saturday at The Green Man on Victoria Street. D4 on Featherston is named after the owner’s Dublin postcode but aim for subtlety in its Irish theme. You can grab yourself a craft beer from here too. On the other hand, J.J. Murphy & Co on Cuba Street is unashamedly Irish in its decor, food and drinks.

Sprig & Fern Tavern on Tinakori Road is of a chain of Irish pubs in New Zealand also selling craft beer.

Sports Bars in Wellington

To catch a game, check out Four Kings on the corner of Taranaki and Dixon Street with more than 70 screens! As well as a place to party late at night, you’ll also find games playing at The Apartment on Allen Street. Bangalore Polo Club keeps you entertained by playing sports games and offering plenty to eat and drink.

Best of the Rest

For those sunny days, head down to Taranaki Street along the waterfront and enjoy the outdoor patio area at Mac’s Brew Bar. Mishmosh Bar sticks out like a saw thumb on Courtenay Place, but you can’t resist its beer and burgers. The Residence on Courtenay Place often has good food and drink deals going on to start the night.

Check out more bars in the 5 Awesome Bars in Wellington.

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Cocktail Bars in Wellington

Courtenay Place Cocktail Bars

Easy to miss on Courtenay Place, once found, Sassy Loves Cash, rewards with cocktails in this sophisticatedly-decorated loft bar. You might think that The Library bar is not really the best place to read, but rumour has it that cocktail drink vouchers are hidden within the pages of its books.

Wellington Waterfront Cocktail Bars

At Queens Wharf, check out Foxglove and sip on some famous Foxtails while taking in the 180views of the harbour. In the Steamship building, find Cuckoo Cocktail Emporium for some quirky decor and more cocktails than you can shake a stick at.

Best of the Rest

Hawthorne Lounge on Tory Street is themed like a 1920’s gentlemen’s clubs, but don’t worry, ladies are welcomed too. Not too far away, down Forresters Lane is the Motel Bar where you’ll need to ring a buzzer to get in.

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Nightclubs in Wellington

Places to Dance Hard in Wellington

Danger Danger on Courtenay Place is everyone’s guilty pleasure. Often blasting all your favourite hits from the ’80s and ’90s, you’ll find you can’t resist singing along after a couple of drinks. While you’re on Courtenay Place, give [Public] a go for more dancing opportunities. Finally on Courtenay Place, don’t miss the Mini Bar on your night out run for a few shots.

Red Square on Blair Street can always be relied on for non-stop dancing into the early hours of the morning.

Backpacker Bars in Wellington

Basement on Cambridge Terrace is priced for budgeting backpackers and has a real international vibe. It’s also the meeting place for Wellington’s only bar crawl every Tuesday and Thursday night at 8.30pm.

Alternative Bars in Wellington

For something a bit alternative, try Valhalla on Vivian Street, often with live bands. Grab a cowboy hat, have a go on the bucking bronco, and dance to country-rock at Dakota on Allen Street.

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The Gay Scene in Wellington

There might not be a huge choice of gay bars to choose from in Wellington, but Wellington’s bars and nightclubs have an integrated and gay-friendly vibe. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a more exclusive gay scene in Wellington, check out the following: Ivy Bar on Cuba Street has a wide mix of entertainment from drag to cabaret, comedy to poetry. Of course, there are always those nights to just dance and party hard.

S&M’s Cocktail and Lounge Bar on Cuba Street stands for the owners’ “Scotty” and “Mal”, a long-standing couple in Wellington’s gay community. Relax with a huge range of cocktails and more in the initiate lounge area. Downstairs is open Friday and Saturday nights to release your inner dancer!

For more tips for LGBTQ travellers, head over to our New Zealand LGBTQ Travel Guide.

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Live Shows in Wellington

Wellington also has a lively calendar of events and live shows throughout the year. Some of the most popular venues for live shows include the TSB Arena on Queens Wharf, which is the largest indoor venue in the city. There’s also the Michael Fowler Centre on Wakefield Street, home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and an iconic landmark on the Wellington city skyline.

Catch a show in dance, drama, opera, comedy and cabaret at the iconic St James Theatre on Courtenay Place with a decorative interior reminiscent of a traditional theatre. [Note that St James Theatre is closed for earthquake strengthening and is due to reopen in December 2021].

Comedy Clubs in Wellington

To find some alternative nighttime entertainment in Wellington, try one of its comedy clubs.

There is always something going on at The Fringe Bar on Allen Street. Watch some raw comedy from local and international stand-ups, as well as nights dedicated to burlesque, karaoke and even some live music now and then. Book your tickets online or pay on the door.

Keep an eye out for comedy nights hosted by the Cavern Club on Allen Street. The club is also a fantastic spot for live music and all those rock n’ roll tunes from bygone eras!

More Things to Do in Wellington

By day, check out these awesome things to do in Wellington:


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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