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Five of Wellington's coolest courtyards

1 Aug 2017 • 4 Comments

I can't really articulate why I like to sit outside at cafes and bars - I just do. Maybe it's the chance to keep my favourite coat on, who knows. The thing is, it's not just me! Wellingtonians seem to have a thing about it - and our bars have catered to this. 

There are so many cool courtyards in Wellington it's hard to pick my favourites. I like the kinda secret ones, especially if they're at the back of the building and are abundant in big leafy plant life.

This weekend I cruised around town and checked some of the contestants out - but there are so many more not included in this list! Havana, Fidels, The Southern Cross, and there's Enigma and Espressoholic too.

Hit me up in the comment section - which are your favourites?

My picks:


Go oriental at Dragonfly

Beautiful food, even better cocktails - you can't beat Dragonfly. The restaurant is divine... but if you fancy sitting in a beautiful oriental secret garden then keep on walking down that corridor. Tucked away between the buildings, like any good courtyard, you'd never know it existed from the street front. Gorgeous plants, bamboo, oriental fans, lanterns, pretty lights... The atmosphere is spot on, the service is great and the cocktails go down way too easy. Try the China Girl cocktail and the pork dumplings!

Hang out in the garden at Olive

Not many people know about this one, but Olive's courtyard is simply amazing. Beautiful plants, plenty of heaters, cosy cushions and blankets, outdoor art and even an outdoor bar and kitchen prepping area where you can watch them kneading dough. It's a sweet spot for an afternoon coffee (their chai tea is fab) and would be a great place to take a date.

Warm your bum at Ancestral

Ahhh Ancestral, the purveyors of the heated concrete bench that runs the length of the courtyard, keeping your bottom toasty warm. Get there before your mate and get the bench-side of the table for yourself. With Wellington's biggest array of Whiskey on offer, Ancestral hits the mark in both food and drinks. Check out their Yakitori menu - which they'll cook right in front of you at the bar. Try the mushroom skewers which are epic with a glass of red!

Hop over to The Hop Garden

The thing about The Hop Garden is it doesn't have a courtyard... it IS a courtyard. It's like a big beautiful greenhouse with skylights to let in the sun and the breeze with vines crawling all over the show. Try their amazing array of craft beer in the summer and get cosy in winter with the mulled wine. It's just slightly off the beaten track, on Pirie Street just at the fringe of Mt. Victoria. 

Sit by the fire at Matterhorn

Matterhorn - a Wellington classic, this summer is your last chance to visit Matterhorn as its building is soon to be developed. Matterhorn is utterly fantastic on a summer's or winter's evening, with their big old roaring outdoor fireplace, and intimate setting. Leafy plants and strings of twinkly lights complete the look. Their drinks menu is extensive and the food always divine. Nab a spot outdoors, get stuck into a bottle of wine and relax. 

Add your comment

  • CarlosC 02/04/2016 2:34pm (20 months ago)

    Goldings...

  • Alana Hepburn 08/09/2015 11:24am (2 years ago)

    Love all of these! There's just something special about outdoor settings isn't there... Looking forward to the warmer months, rooftop bars seem to be becoming quite popular!

  • Me 02/09/2015 11:18am (2 years ago)

    How about the one at Baobab in Newtown.....

  • Woody 11/08/2015 2:27pm (2 years ago)

    I love olives courtyard! And I agree with the steamed milk chai tea mmmmhmmmm

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