Jet is a bar and situated on the corner of Courtenay Place & Allen St. It is a smallish spot but with really comfy semi-circle cubicles inside and some tall tables with bar stools outside. The outside seating is great in Summer for relaxing and having a beer while watching Wellington and its people do their thing. Jet is directly over the road from the local Art House movie theatre so a great place for pre movie drinks (not too much though!!) or an after movie spot to discuss the finer points of life.
Jet has the likes of Tiger and Mac beers on tap plus Heineken & Monteiths. You can also buy food here but as I have never indulged (eatin's cheatin' as my Irish friend tells me) I can't comment.
Dress Code: Smart casual at least though, being the cutural capital of NZ, what passes for smart casual here is less dressy than some other cities.
Not sure if he is still there but, back in '99 I happened upon a local busker playing guitar to the late night bar hoppers. He looked very much like Kenny Rogers (hence his nickname) and played his songs. Anyway, he is definately worth a listen and has some interesting stories how he wound up in Wellington by way of Texas, USA.
This is a place where many a famous Kiwi and overseas band have played many a memorable gig.
Apparently the only folks never to come through here were The Finn Brothers (yes, folks there is a NZ pop music life outside of the Finn Bros!) and Shihad/Pacifier. This is where the Chills, the Bats, Michael Franti, Lambchop, The Datsuns, Phoenix Foundation, Dimmer, Chris Knox, The Mutton Birds, etc. have played. Okay, the Indigo Bar on Cuba Mall is getting bigger and better gigs, but thumbs up for the different kinds of rooms at the Bodega.
My favorite Mutton Bird bootleg of all time is a 1998 Bodega show.
Fraser McInnes, the owner, is one hell of a hardworking bar owner/concert organizer/real ale aficionado.
Don't miss The Bodega's nice selection of South and North Island micros. Check out the Bodega's joint venture ale with the Malthouse...the Tautara line and Emerson's Bookbinder.
Dress Code: ??
My Brother MC Rugged does Drum'N'Bass and Hip Hop nights at Sandwiches, and the Pheonix. They're worth a look in. Especially when the big boys are in town. Loads of big names come through welly so keep your eyes open and scan the thousands of posters all over the city.
Courtenay Quarter more than lives up to its reputation as Wellington's entertainment zone. It is renown as NZ's only true restaurant precinct & one of the city's most popular dining areas. It is also the best-known club precinct. This quarter is a 24 hour experience, from early morning brunch to shopping, lattes to champagne, innovative theatre to blockbuster movies. It is home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Nightlife comes in many flavours... So, stay pumping throughout the night
Bars / Pubs
• Irish music, eg. Molly Malones, Kitty O'Shea's
• Live band / music / entertainment, eg. The Grand, Opera Bar, Wellington Sports Café...
• Jazz, eg. Paradiso Bar, Beacon Bar & Woodfire Grill...
• Techno, eg. Coyote Street Bar and Restaurant, Shooters...
There is a plethora of cafés operating in & around Courtenay Place, such as Zing Café, Espressoholic, Wellington Sports Café, Zico...
• Reading Cinemas Courtenay Central on 100 Courtenay Place (www.readingcinemas.co.nz)
• Rialto Cinemas Wellington @ corner Cable Street & Jervois Quay (www.rialto.co.nz)
• Paramount on 25 Courtenay Place (www.paramount.co.nz).
• Embassy Theatre on 10 Kent Terrace (www.deluxe.co.nz)
There is a melting pot of cuisines to choose from... just hop into one of the ethnic restaurants & try Turkish delights, traditional Indian cuisine, Thai cuisine, Malaysian flavours, French cuisine, Italian food, Mexican flavours, Greek food & entertainment, a variety of Chinese specialties, Japanese and so on...
Happy is a must see if you like jazz, or in fact any music because they have a huge variety. They have a bar now and there are some heavy free jazz players around the place.
Dress Code: Very informal- whatever you like
Perhaps my favorite nightclub in all of Wellington (maybe even New Zealand) is Jet Bar. Though there is not a lot of gimics at this bar, it might be the most relaxed and hip place in the city. You walk into Jet Bar through a small door on Courtney Place and immediatly you are transported to what I can only imagine is fashionable New York City or Milan.
It's obvious the creators of Jet Bar have a great sense of style and wanted to integrate their idea of style into their bar. European tones and shapes frequent everything you sit on or see at Jet.
Two levels, Jet Bar continues downstairs where another more low key bar sits with halfcircle sofas and tables. It's also apparent that people watching is important here as everything opens out towards the center. Their is also a semi-private pool table room located just next to the stairs.
Lighting is very dim but seeing is not a problem. People come to Jet to see and be seen by the hip and flashy. Unlike the Matterhorn however, this is played down to a more grounded level.
Dress Code: Your hippest and flashiest. Jeans and a graphic t-shirt work well here but so does your more dressed slacks and button down shirts.
Located on Cuba Street, Matterhorn is known as the place to be for the young and hip. You have to bring your smoothest outfit and sly attitude to the Matterhorn if you want to fit in.
Bathed in red lighting, the Matterhorn is known for great music, djs and beautiful people. Don't visit expecting to drink water or being a loud obnoxious drunk (while there are some that visit, they aren't popular members), but do expect to be seen as everyone here is looking around to see the best and the brightest.
Cover charges are around 10-15NZ, and I believe that is quite cheap for the value of the club.
The chairs and couches sit quite low and give you a very relaxed feel at this place. The music is loud and so is the conversation but you won't have any problem staying for a while. I'd recommend the club for those ages 20-28 and those who feel in that mindset but their drivers cards don't agree.
Dress Code: Your sexiest smooth clothing. Nice jeans and a flash t-shirt. Anything you can find at the store titled Area 51 just down the block would work here.
As we only spent 2 nights in Wellington, and both of those in the Cuba Quarter, that was the only area I knew after dark, but from what I've read, this was the place to be.
Cuba Quarter was an interesting mix - from the shopping mall, to funky cafes, all kinds of ethnic restaurants, bars, and the odd Peep Show or adult shop here and there, but certainly not a dominant presence. I felt like it was a good balance, and there were plenty of people about and I never felt unsafe as we wandered after 10 pm.
For those of you who want to head right into the thick of the action, you don’t need to look any further than the Courtenay Place area of town which seems to attract ever reveller in the city. Home to the pick of Wellington’s pubs and clubs, this place is buzzing into the early hours every night of the week but particularly from Thursday to Sunday. If it is a bit wild for you, however, don’t panic. The city’s compact size works once again to its advantage ensuring that you will never have to walk too far to find a watering hole to suit.
Take a stroll around the Queens Wharf - Fran Kitts Park - Te Papa - city to sea bridge - Civic square area at night and you wont regret it. Some really nice lighting effects have been developed in these areas. It's a lovely place for a quiet stroll away from the hustle and bustle with that someone special.
Dress Code: Nope
Radio Active's Activity Guide is done several times daily and tells you who is one where.....the music's pretty diverse and supportive of the local Wellington scene, too!
The breakfast show with Liam and Shane and Caffeine and Aspirin on Saturday mornings are great fun.
Wellington does not have a live music scene comparable to New York or San Francisco. But the Lido does feature some of the best local talent. And there are some really good bands here.
Dress Code: Casual.
The shack, it's a bar selling shots and shakers, though a bit shabby, but 3 NZ$ for a shot and 7 for a shaker is really cheap, and they taste great.
Dress Code: No dress code.
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