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

Wellington's coolest courtyards

By Greta 11 Aug 2015 • 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, Arthurs and there's Enigma and Espressoholic too.

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

My picks:

Go oriental at Dragonfly

dragonfly 1

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

olive 1

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

ancestral 1

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

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 1

Matterhorn - a Wellington classic. Matterhorn is utterly fantastic on a 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 I can't recommend their white bean dip enough - they serve it with salty warm flat breads. Get a spot by the fire and order two with a bottle of red. Divine. 

Add your comment

  • CarlosC on 02 Apr 2016


  • Alana Hepburn on 08 Sep 2015

    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 on 02 Sep 2015

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

  • Woody on 11 Aug 2015

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

Discover more

Find your perfect slice

Autumn brings out the pizza in Heather, so here's a few of her recent favourites....

Eat & drink By Heather 21 Mar 2017

Fine eats at the Tinakori Bistro

Heather checks out what Aaron Stott is doing at the Tinakori Bistro.

Eat & drink By Heather 7 Mar 2017

Popular tags

  • Close
  • Show nearby