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Rooftops reign supreme

By Heather 9 Feb 2016 • 1 Comments

If you haven’t enjoyed any of the city’s newish rooftop bars yet, you have approx two months of El Niño left to do so. It was a tough job, but here's my round-up of their different vibes:

Basque rtop sun


On the top of the Trinity Hotel, you can lounge on the ‘grass’ while enjoying a tipple, a light nibble or a game of jenga or connect 4 (normal and giant sized). 

The drinks range though the usual beer, wine and non-alcoholic suspects, with Heineken, Golden Lab, Old Mout Hard Cider and Black Dog Chomp on tap. 

The food menu is a cut-down version of the downstairs 'proteins, greens and tummy-fillers', and crafted off a large BBQ beside the bar. There’s usually only one bloke weilding the tongs, so don’t expect food in an instant - Arborist is all about slowing down and chilling.  

There are pretty fine views of the southern part of the city, and make use of the sunscreen and hats provided as it gets darned hot up here at times. 

To have here – an Old Moult Cider or Chomp, with meat skewers and garlic pitas combined into soft delicious sandwiches. Accompanied by the parmesan fries of course (unprompted by the chip fiend I might add). 

Entry via the Trinity Hotel foyer lift.

Dirty Little Secret

Atop the Four Kings and Five Stags bars you will find Dirty Little Secret (DLS). It has a slightly garage factor (what ever did we do before the Garage Project expanded our vernacular?), a shipping container bar, and pretty spectacular views. A place for either a quiet drink after work, or a great old catchup with a group of friends. 

Again there's the usual range of beers, but with quite a focus on Tiger (to the extent of a separate Tiger bottle bar down one end), a long list of wines, and a fair few spirits tucked up in the back of the bar.

Some of the food dishes actually require a fork and knife up here, but there's also sandwiches and platters you can get right into with your fingers. And various skewers or burgers whipped off the BBQ from time to time for sale directly at the tables. 

Do take a coat as it can get cold, but conversely use their sunscreen on hot fine days (BYO hat), and look out for times when there’s a DJ in the house spinning a few tunes. 

To have here - a Tiger and 'The Couple' halloumi BLAT sandwich (trust me, its smokey crunchy textures and tastes beat the pants off the pulled pork) or a platter if you're in a group. 

Entry via Taranaki street near the Les Mills gym.


Basque on Courtenay is all about blending Spain with Wellington. Tapas-style plates, sangrias, craft beers and a good few wines. As well as their own olive trees growing on the rooftop. 

The tapas cover a delicious range of croquetas, meaty bites, light salads, pizzas, platters, Mediterannean-style brunches, and of course churros. And the sangrias range from ginger (pictured) to peach to classic to kalimoxto. Clearly return visits required!

Basque have a smaller and more weather-protected space than the two above, but if you get a seat at the front balcony railing, you'll feel much more like you're in the front row of the improv theatre over the street below. And ditto the hats and sunscreen up here on fine days.

To have here – sangria, croquetas and any of the tapas. 

Entry via the rear of the downstairs bar.


Not strictly a rooftop, but a new balcony on Courtenay in the prior Kitty O’Shea premises, brought to you by the Hummingbird and Public folks. 

Siglo is Spanish for 'century' or 'hundred', so you will find food and drink inspired by the last one hundred years here (and it looks like every bottle produced in the last hundred years is behind the bar!). 

The downstairs is a little sports-like with a dance floor for busting a move from 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, while the upstairs is a slightly more sophisticated loft style. However the music is still piped up from downstairs if you feel like getting your groove on.  

The beers range from the house Siglo amber lager to mainstream stalwarts like Emersons and crafty locals like Garage Project. The wine list is also considerable, but the feature here are the classic cocktails from the last hundred years, some done with modern twists (like agave in the margaritas), but all iconic. 

To have here – the classic beef burger or philly cheese steak with a Garage Project beer downstairs, or a cocktail with a couple of the small plates upstairs (the up/down being personal opinion, not their requirement!). And don’t skip the three house sweets, excellent value at $3 each to finish with.

Hop Garden

And not to be left out, the Hop Garden too are building a rooftop bar. It'll be above the restaurant space of the current bar, and have the same taps and beers up and down. The stairs are in and it should be open in the next month or so.

Hop Garden rooftop

Add your comment

  • Monique O'Meley 22/03/2017 5:56pm (8 months ago)

    How about checking out Queen of Jackson in Petone. Pretty sure it was "officially" the first rooftop garden bar built in 2014. It's rooftop garden bar is now a celebrated & integral part of the Petone skyline which embarks yearly themed transformations to keep the excitement alive. Snuggle up during the Winter or lounge in the urban heat during Summer.
    Come rain or shine you'll be able to enjoy a little slice of "rooftop life".
    Follow the calorie counted staircase and look for the thrills sign, then immerse yourself in the rich culture and colours this year oozing English tea-garden charm with Gin, romance and relaxation being the order of the day!

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