New Zealand’s capital is divided into a handful of distinct quarters when it comes to nightlife, and each offers a treasure trove of stylish bars and quirky venues to while away an evening. From the chilled out Waterfront to hip and buzzing Cuba Street, this city has a serious helping of kitsch with a generous number of stylish cocktail lounges to see and be seen in too. Clubbing plays second fiddle to bar life in Wellington, though those who want to dance all night will be catered for too.

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Bars in Wellington

Alice (££)

Forresters Lane, +64 4 385 2242

For something a little different, try Alice. Nice for a first date or entertaining your visitors. Order the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and enjoy cocktails in tea pots as you drink from vintage teacups and lose yourself down the rabbit hole. Doilies and Lewis Carroll themed décor ensure this is one of the most unusual bars you’ll find in Wellington.

Matterhorn (££)

106 Cuba Street, +64 4 384 3359

A dark and atmospheric restaurant, live music venue and cocktail bar in happening Cuba Street where ‘attitude is valued over attire.’ The super friendly staff mix up a mean Martini here, and patrons often find it hard to tear themselves away once cosily installed at this multi-award winning watering hole.

Midnight Espresso (£)

178 Cuba St, +64 4 384 7014

Vegan café and juice bar meets late night coffee joint in this Cuba Street institution. Go here for a good cheap feed before (or after) a night in the city.

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Clubs in Wellington

Mighty Mighty (£)

104 Cuba St, +64 4 385 2890

Cheap and cheerful club with pinball machines, live music and DJ nights. A friendly and unpretentious crowd flocks to Mighty Mighty every weekend for well-priced drinks and a range of music to dance to. The club also hosts cabaret and burlesque nights, and is one of the city’s go-to venues for catching up and coming bands on tour.

Famous (££)

24 Courtenay Place

Nestled in Wellington’s busiest, buzziest district, Famous is indisputably the city’s super club and plays host to house music giants like Carl Cox. New licensing laws mean that Famous is now still jumping at 7am on the weekends, so you may want to get a disco nap in before you hit the town.

Shows and events in Wellington

Bodega (£)

101 Ghuznee St, + 64 4 384 821

A happening live music venue that’s as popular for its cheap drinks as it is for its colourful calendar of musical treats. Real ale is a speciality here, and you can catch both up and coming and big established acts here in this intimate venue.

BATS Theatre (££)

Corner of Cuba Street and Dixon Street, +64 4 802 4175

Wellington has a host of opera houses and theatres serving up everything from ballet to art house theatre, but BATS is a little bit different. An intimate space with two bars, this independent arts centre airs contemporary drama, Shakespeare, dance and comedy to audiences of right-on and culturally-sound Wellingtonians.