Top 5 Gig SPOTS
Caroline - 1 Manners Street, Wellington.
Caroline is the latest hip local to host local Wellingtonian gigs, private functions and mean eats. It hits home for those who love everything nostalgic, dig indie music and fresh food. Caroline has filled a much needed space left by the closing of Bodega and Mighty Mighty bar. It harks of dirty cocktails and bad beats. While it may be tucked away down the end of Manners St don't be fooled. This venue is the coolest new kid on the block. Check out what is coming up on their Facebook page of website: http://www.caroline.nz/
Matterhorn - 106 Cuba Street, Te Aro.
Open everyday from 3pm - late. Has been around since the 1960's in Wellington. Recently opened an Auckland joint. Mainly a bar and restaurant, but has excellent DJ and international acts perform on Saturday nights frequently. Fantastic covered outside bar area. Fills up on a weekend night fast so get in and bag a table early. The home of soul and R&B. Good range of cocktails and great food. Check out what is coming up on the Matterhorn Facebook page or website: www.matterhorn.co.nz
TSB Arena - 4 Queens Wharf, Wellington.
Holds about 5,500. Excellent venue for large international acts. Can get a bit sweaty, but for big events holds many more punters. Owned by Positively Wellington Venues, who also own the Opera House, the St James Theatre, the Michael Fowlers Centre and the Town Hall (currently being earthquake strengthened). Check out what is coming up on the Positively Wellington Venues Facebook page or website: www.pwv.co.nz.
Eye Gum House Parties - no fixed destinations.
Eye Gum House Parties is a scheme where people host a band and house party at their place. Events are run through volunteers and organised on the Facebook page. Eyegum describes itself as: “a bunch of musicians, artists, fans and a lawyer who’ve got together with the aim of putting on awesome events.”We have been putting on house parties since October 2014 and since then have hosted over 30 events. We have hosted shows with bands from all around Aotearoa and internationally too, in a mix of house, local halls and bowls clubs."
San Fran Bathhouse - 171 Cuba Street, Te Aro.
Holds about 250 people. Open Tuesday - Saturday, 3pm - late. Hosts international indie bands, international rap acts, comedy and local electronica and indie acts. Check out the new space for eating and drinking craft pizza and beer. Has a large upstairs balcony for fresh air, not covered. Check out what is coming up on the San Fran Facebook page or website: www.sanfran.co.nz.
Top 5 Saturday Brunch Destinations
The queues may get long, but the wait is worth it. Highly regarded as one of the best places in Wellington, Prefab offers top coffee and excellent, modern cuisine in record time. Excellent service and staff always look like they are having a ball. Don't forget your docket when you get up to pay. Also a great place to get Acme Coffee products, doughnuts and spot the odd pop up event in the secret back hall. No bookings taken, and often a bit of a line out the door, but you will be brought a mini hot chocolate if you are patient. Find out more on their website www.pre-fab.co.nz.
The older sister to Loretta, at Floriditas you will find the best avocado on on toast, and the freshest seasonal produce around. Feel like you are in a Parisian cafe, as you are attended to by some of Wellington's best wait staff. I love their fries as well, and they let you get a half bowl if you just can't bring yourself to eat a whole one. Make sure you try their pasta's and risotto's! No bookings taken, so get in early. Check her out on the website www.floriditas.co.nz.
Unlike other Mojo's, the Poneke Mojo serves restaurant quality food with a fresh, seafood flavoured twist. Must be Martin Bosley's helping hand in the kitchen. Personal favourites are whipped mascarpone, stewed figs and granola as well as their great range of healthy salads. If you are in the mood for a treat, have a yummy french pastry, made by their actual french pastry chef. Oh la la! Add beautiful views over the harbour and service for dogs to the list and we have a winner. The website for mojo is www.mojocoffee.co.nz.
Its a 1970's San Fransisco vibe - and Loretta delivers with delicious flair. Vegetarians need not fret, because Loretta dolls out the quinoa salads, cauliflower steaks and green juice, all with a zesty twist. Really dependable service, and lots of good corners you can tuck yourself away in. Come here for a dinner with your oldest girlfriend, and enjoy the feeling of the old arcade and open kitchen. Excellent pizzas too. Check out the website www.loretta.net.nz.
Just say Kegeree and any Wellingtonian will reply "Nikau". Located right next to City Gallery, Nikau, it is fair to say, is a Wellington institution. Besides their most famous dish, Nikau specialise in delicious soups and sweet pastry's. Very good service, plus excellent coffee, is made even more comfortable by the outdoor area. Nab a spot in the sun and curl up with an edition of the New York Review of Books. Check out their website www.nikaucafe.co.nz.
Top 5 places to walk your dog
Brooklyn and top of Willis Street, near Aro Valley. If you want to get a bit more lost, head up from Cuba Street to Central Park. Wander up to the refurbished entrance, right at the bottom of Brooklyn Hill near Nairn Street, and enter a secret garden. Full of pathways, playgrounds, bridges and tracks to keep you occupied for hours! Make sure you do the flying fox (if pup can be trusted off the leash) or walk all the way up to the Brooklyn Shops for an extra adventure.
A dog haven! You will be top of your pooches picks if you take it on a stroll up the Mount, just up Marjoribanks Street off Cambridge Terrace, or entry by Pirie Street, a little further up. A whole afternoon could be spent exploring this gem in Wellington's crown. If you have it in you, take the full track from the lookout, to Roseneath, and then back to to Newtown. Re-live the Lord of the Rings and crouch hiding from the Black Riders. All the hills make it great for the booty. The views are spectacular and if you look hard enough, you will even find a special dog exercise ground!
Between Ghuznee Street and Garrett Street, off Cuba Street. An inner city sanctum and a short walk in the middle of town! For a patch of grass right here in the central city, hit up glover park with Fido. Right next to the Rouge and Vagabond bar, you can sit on a delightful beanbag in the sun and drink a pint! Formerly a bit of a dump, before the council did this space up a few years ago, you can let the pup sniff around while you poke your head into Caughley next door or swing around for an ice cream at Kaffee Eis!
Evans Bay/Hataitai Dog Park
A bit further around, you will find a special designated Dog Park, all fenced off for the dog off the leash! This was set up for dogs to play freely, without worry of running away. While a bit bare, this is the only place in the city that I am currently aware of where your pup can roam around and be safely fenced in to socialise with other dogs.
Waitangi Park and the Waterfront
Who can forget the most iconic part of Wellington - the Waterfront! Let them go wild and hold their head to the wind. With lots of great smells, left over from the markets, he's bound to love the route from Wagamama under the Meridian Building on Customhouse Quay to Oriental Parade, and Waitangi Park in between. Just don't let the boy (or girl) get spooked by the skateboarders!!
(Bonus - Botanical Gardens - if you can make it up to Kelburn, this is a great place to roam for hours!)
Top 5 Cheap Eats
Satay Kingdom - Left Bank, Cuba Mall.
The one and only - the original. As far as I am concerned, my teen years were punctured by Roti Chennai at Satay Kingdom, full of delicious gravy and greasy roti. So good. It remains only $5 a dish.I must admit, I am yet to try anything else from Satay Kingdom, but with such a high turnover of customers I am comforted by the huge number of people that have eaten themselves content over the 10 years that Satay Kingdom continues to be the best. Sit down or takeaway. No liquor licence.
Taste of India - Cambridge Terrace.
This hold in a wall shop on Cambridge Terrace is the SHIZZ when it comes to curry. A perfect dinner, anytime of the week (except for Monday when they are closed). No where will you find more succulent gravy, more perfect garlic roti, more delicious lamb sagwala! This is, in my opinion, the best place to get curry in Wellington. I have been feasting on curry since I was 16 and still sleeping over with girl pals. Make sure you call ahead, or don't mind waiting around for 30-40 minutes, as often the queues can be lengthy to get your dinner. Takeaway only.
Little Penang - 40 Dixon Street, Wellington Downtown.
The most delicious Malaysian, based on the street food from the District of Penang. Clay Pot Rice, Nasi Goreng and Cuff Puffs are all staples here, as well as some delicious deep fried veggie balls. No liquor licence, but it doesn't matter when the food is this good. Rates highly for it's fresh, busy and high energy environment. Sit down or take away.
Arashi Sushi - 41 Courtenay Place, Wellington Downtown.
Not quite CHEAP cheap, but still an excellent place onto grab some of the best sushi in town for a BYO dinner with friends. Get amongst the excellent tempura, the tasty Sake, the succulent don buri! With a wide range of choice on the menu, you won't be able to stop at just one thing! Make sure you bring a party of friends who are happy to eat and drink the night away!
Ram's - 171 Cuba Street, Wellington Downtown.
Ram's does delicious Chinese food, with all the trimmings. Make sure you grab a table as there is not a huge amount of seating in this joint. Get amongst the Chilli Dumplings - which are to die for (Google reviews agree)! Make sure you stop eating before you explode, otherwise you may find yourself rolling down Cuba Street home. Sit down or take away. BYO.
top 5 Places to Go Alone
Wellington City Library - 65 Victoria Street, Wellington.
If you want to have some down time, head to to theWellington City Library. You are unlikely to see anyone you know here, as it is generally filled with students or people seeking quiet time themselves. With three levels of books, and free wi-fi, its a great place to just chill out and read some magazines, browse DVD's and CD's, or catch a lunchtime event. If you need a coffee, head upstairs to Clark's for a mouthwatering Hot Chocolate and Sausage Roll.
Any one of Cuba Street's Op Shops
If you like shopping, take a trip down Cuba Street and peruse the wide array of vintage clothing, without the hassle of other people hanging around, telling you to hurry up while you feel the soft calico of a 1950's debutant dress. You can go to Ziggurat, Emporium Vintage Boutique or Hunter and Collectors. Vintage shopping is a perfect activity to do by yourself, and so rewarding when you find a real treasure!
Lamason Coffee Brew Bar
Tucked down an alleyway off Manners Mall, Lamason is the type of coffee spot where you can order a long black, and curl up in a corner with a magazine or notebook. No one will bother you, or ask you to leave. Ask for a gold-filter coffee, which will be one of the most delicious drops you have tried in a long time, if you like black coffee. Excellent staff and an incredible range of coffee make this coffee shop a place where you feel welcome just being quiet, on your own.
Lyall Bay (to get out of town)
When you just can't hack the city centre anymore, head to Lyall Bay, by bus or by car, and sit by the sea. Here you will find a great beachy vibe, chocca with cafes from the Legendary Maranui Cafe and Queen Sally's Diamond Delito Spruce Goose. Great food all round! But mainly, just enjoy the rough, rocky surrounding, and watch the surfers while you contemplate life. Take the number 3 bus from town.
Unity Books - 57 Willis Street, Wellington.
Sticking with the books theme, Unity Books on Willis Street. At lunchtime, you will find hard nosed business men buried in volumes of history. The staff here are very accomodating, and will let you sit and read to your hearts content. They even open sealed books if you ask! Unity are one of the last independent book shops left in Wellington, so I love going in there and filling up my book card with stamps for a free book to support their business! They also have a wonderful range of books on fashion, philosophy and economics.