New local eats

Treat your tastebuds at one of these new cafés, restaurants, and bars in Wellington

Remarkably Excellent – Humdinger and Turnspit

89 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington

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On an inconspicuous corner of Ghuznee and Victoria Street, you'll find a bar with a twist.

With the perfect mix of high and low, Humdinger will turn everything you think you know about cocktail bars on its head. Wood paneling and skull-lined walls would lead you to believe this is your typical dive bar, but the cocktail-centric drinks menu will make you think again. All the classics are on offer, and you can browse the jukebox's curated music selection while you wait for your drink to be mixed up.

Brought to you by the same people behind the likes of Puffin, Concord, Golding's, and Shepherd, you can bet the food (and drinks) are top-notch. Focused on kebabs and Middle-Eastern bites, this is late-night eats at top restaurant quality. Make sure you order the felafel bites, or if you're feeling adventurous, the spam nuggets.

uptheghuzz.co.nz

Auntie Social Lounge

4 Rintoul Street, Newtown, Wellington

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Take a trip to Auntie Social Lounge where it's all groovy, baby.

Newtown's 70s-themed bar is all about furry walls, red velvet booths, lava lamps, and retro furniture. Nostalgia is on the menu in spades, with gourmet popcorn, crudites, and delicious sharing platters. Pop in on a cheesy Tuesday for a melting pot of three cheese fondue served out of retro fondue pots.

The colourful cocktail menu is as fun to look at as it is to drink, with a rotating margarita flavour and regular cocktail specials on tap.

Auntie Social Lounge often has live music on Thursday nights, and on a clear evening you can sit outside in their tucked-away courtyard and soak up the Newtown atmosphere.

auntiesociallounge.com

The Champagneria

8 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington

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Wellington's first champagne bar, The Champagneria, is fun and un-fussy, allowing punters to enjoy a glass of fizz without having to crack open your special bottle from the shelf (but they have bottles too). Mix it up with a champagne cocktail, champagne beer, a regular beer, or still wine.

They've got every way to enjoy champagne covered. Head in for a champagne breakfast, high tea, flights of champagne, champagne yum cha, and even a dog menu – chardognay, anyone?

Grab some tapas or a platter that's matched to your wine's region, and enjoy on the rooftop bar.

thechampagneria.co.nz

A roaring start at Rex Tremendous

200 Daniell Street, Newtown, Wellington

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Wellington Zoo has welcomed a newcomer to the family, and this time it's not a furry friend. Rex Tremendous has moved into the zoo's café space, and whether you're off to visit the animals or just looking for a weekend brunch, you'll want to meet Rex.

Sister to city-favourite restaurant Capitol, owners Tom and Kate Hutchison and Cheryl Jolly are bringing seasonal brunch fare and an all-day menu to the upmarket café. Alongside Kiwi classics like creamy mushrooms on toast, diners can expect lots of plant-based, raw, and gluten-free goodies, including an entirely plant-based smoothie menu. Their extra cheesy scones are a hot contender for Wellington's best scone, and zoo-goers will welcome their excellent coffee options to fuel a day with the animals. The drinks menu offers organic wines and local brews. Lions and tigers and beers, oh my!

rextremendous.co.nz

A slice of Italy at Bottega

Shop 12/105 Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington

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Bottega is an Italian bistro serving up delicious meals and cabinet food for the perfect working or weekend lunch. Already an eastern suburbs favourite, they've just opened a second location in the city, tucked in Dukes Arcade.

They have a select number of dishes on their menu, including all your Italian faves like gnocchi, pasta, meatballs, arancini, and gelato. Their pizzas are some of the best in town, with dough made and mixed by hand with quality, fresh ingredients on top. The cabinet is stacked with salads and easy meals to mix and match, and they have a few classic Italian pantry staples you can take home.

Owner Giulio Ricatti will be a familiar face to many. As well as Bottega's Berhampore home, Giulio owns Cicio Cacio in Newtown, and has worked in some of Wellington's best Italian restaurants.

instagram.com/botteganz

Lunch Money

35 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington

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Get your coffee fix on Ghuznee Street at the new kid on the block, Lunch Money.

The café is neighbours with the new Recycle Boutique, keeping you caffeinated while you browse for vintage treasures. Cool and classy interiors make this the perfect spot for a workday refuel or weekend catch-up with friends.

A sister of Wellington stalwarts Sixes & Sevens, Lunch Money's cabinets are stocked with their sibling's familiar faves like doughnuts and scones, along with a few of their own exclusive baked goods and savoury snacks. Skunkworks Coffee, the team's in-house roastery, are providing the coffee goods.

instagram.com/lunch.money.nz

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