It seems you’re using a browser that is a little past its time and our website might not be able to perform as it should.

If you’d like to have the best experience on, you can easily update your browser to get the most out of our website and many more for that matter.

dismiss this message

Inspired by Wellington: a top barista's guide

As 2013’s fifth best barista in the world, we figured Nick Clark, Director of Flight Coffee, met our criteria of a ‘top barista’. We cornered him for a chat to get the lowdown on his guide to Wellington.

The Hangar Dixon St 04
Nick at The Hangar

Where do you head for a great cup of coffee?

It's all about what kind of mood I'm in. If I'm after a bit of hilarious banter I'll pop down to our shop, The Flight Coffee Hangar. We've got an incredibly talented team running that joint that also happen to be gut-holding hilarious. I also really enjoy what Supreme has on offer down at Customs and Memphis Belle has, and always will be, an ol' favourite of mine. 

Where do you go to feel inspired?

Down to the beach. It's just as much about finding new inspiration as it is finding some quiet time to think and let your mind wander. Lyall Bay is my jam, a great mix of different things all happening in a little community - surfing, planes landing and taking off, hospitality and the dogs. Louie, my pup, is also a big fan.

Best picks for a night out with your partner or a friend?

On warmer evenings we grab takeaways from the Mt Vic Chippery, pick up a few beers from Garage Project and make our way down to Oriental Bay. It's a classic but let's be honest, still the best when you get the right night. During winter, I hit up Ombra, Charley Noble and WBC. For drinks, depending on the mood, Golding’s, LBQ, and Matterhorn BUT, Garage Project have just opened up new digs and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't going to become a favourite.

Where do you like to take people from out of town when they're visiting?

I end up playing tour guide a lot. When you're involved in a global community like specialty coffee, you have friends visiting all year long. I give them two options:

  1. We can hit the hot tourist spots like Te Papa, Mt Vic, Parliament, Queens Wharf and a few other classic landmarks.
  2. What I like to do on my day off. It's essentially a day revolving around eating, drinking and hanging outside. We start off with some brunch, the coffee crawl, then around the bays for milkshakes at Maranui and pies at Blue Belle Café. We then drive out to Petone and then Eastbourne for a stroll around the beach. To top things off we usually swing down to Garage Project for a little sampling and stocking up, then work out a plan for dinner.

Describe your perfect Saturday/Sunday?

Ha ha, the above!

What's your favourite place for a walk or to get into nature?

Lyall Bay, followed very closely by Eastbourne.

The Garage Project 68 Aro St 01
Garage Project Cellar Door

What other Wellingtonians inspire you and who do you love working with?

I could name a lot but I'll stick to one that I've already dropped a few times above - the lads at Garage Project. They are continuously smashing expectations of what beer is and should be. They've done huge amounts for the craft beer scene in New Zealand, Wellington and even helped lift the profile of the suburb they're situated in, Aro Valley. They stick to their guns when it comes to quality and you can tell it's not just about doing cool stuff, it's also just as much about adding value.

My team at Flight and The Hangar. We've always been, and always will be, about our people. They're the ones who really make things work and grow and we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are without them. We're very focused on building a particular culture of fun, coffee geekdom, curiosity, and progression. Naturally these things make a pretty cool environment and attract what we consider to be out favourite types of people. It really is a privilege to have them as our crew.

Where do you go to get your culture fix in Wellington?

A stroll down Cuba St, then down towards Oriental Bay will always set you right. 

Time for a visit?

Check out more must do’sbrowse and book accommodation, search Wellington’s sights and activities, see what events are coming up, have a nosy at all the incredible bars and restaurants, and start planning your trip with our handy experience planner.

If you’re heading over from across the ditch, Wellington’s just a three hour flight away from the Eastern Seaboard (sometimes even less!). We’ve compiled a Wellington Essentials guide just for you with suggested itineraries, weather details, maps and more.

  • Close
  • Show nearby