Books, cocktails and dessert at The Library

With book-lined shelves, cosy nooks a-plenty and a comprehensive cocktail menu, you’ll wish all libraries could be like this. This is one library where you won’t get shushed and don’t need a library card


Courtenay precinct


Level 1, 53 Courtenay Place
Te Aro




Calling all introverts, do we have the bar for you. (Keep reading extroverts, you’ll like it, too.) Step out of the bright lights and swift pace of Courtenay Place, ascend the flight of stairs, push open the door and you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped out of a wardrobe into a new world.

The bar is comprised of intimate booths and cosy nooks, each with its own set of shelves lined with books (we’re talking real, actual books). Oozing warmth and old-world charm, with red crushed velvet seating, soft (i.e. flattering) light from table lamps and the walls adorned with retro vintage framed prints.

Dapperly attired staff – forget turtlenecks and pens worn on a necklace – will greet you at the door and find the perfect spot for you. Brought your book along to read while you sip a negroni? No problem. A date for dessert and cocktails? Right this way. Got a crew together for late-night cocktails? Follow me.

The Library opened in 2009 and has built a reputation for its cocktails and decadent desserts. Award-winning mixologist, Peter Lowry has been with The Library from the beginning and has become a well-known face for Wellingtonians.

Why a library-themed bar? Peter says that it provides constant inspiration, as well as giving an excuse to have books everywhere. “It suits Wellington as Wellingtonians are just a little bit geeky and the idea of fun, frivolous cocktails that are inspired by your favourite book about zombies, really appeals to them.”


A classic first-time-in-Wellington error is to be asked out to The Library and to head to the actual library, looking for the bar.

Metro magazine

These cocktails tap into memories of time and place, books read, movies enjoyed and destinations visited. With cocktails referencing popular cultures, such as the vodka-soaked strawberry creation called How I Met Your Mother, popular literature, such as the Alice in Wonderland which combines shiraz gin and raspberry soda, and historical literary figures, namely the Hemmingway Mai Tai, which has a limit of three per person, per evening.

Peter says that his favourite cocktail to make is the one that you’re going to enjoy the most. The Library staff love to talk to their customers to find out what they like and make a bespoke drink that will be just the thing you didn’t know you felt like.

With live music every Thursday, Friday and Sunday evening, two-for-one desserts on Tuesday and cocktails specials every Wednesday, you’re about to discover your new favourite library.

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