WellingtonEat & Drink
Three cocktails sit in line on a wooden bar. Bottles of alcohol sit on shelves on the wall behind.

When you walk through the doors at Elixir, the predominant colour is green. There are plush velvet couches in forest green, and the walls are a warm chartreuse. Elixir is Wellington’s premiere bitters and Chartreuse bar, so it makes sense to theme the décor to the liqueur.

Found down Chews Lane off Willis Street, Elixir provides a cosy oasis among the busy office and apartment blocks. It also boasts the only full kitchen attached to a cocktail bar. The menu is short, but action-packed with striking flavours. Te Matuku oysters with elderflower foam, and duck parfait are two standouts.

Two people sit at a circular table on green velvet seats holding cocktails.

Owners Alex Grumball and Lexi Kealey are passionate about cocktails and wine. They wanted to create a bar for aficionados but also cater to people keen to learn about unusual wines and the subtleties of spirits.

There’s a hefty bookcase taking pride of place on the back wall. Alex has plans to extend it around the bar. “We’re building up the reference library of books about drinks, food, and bar techniques. I want people to be able to sit down, read something, and chat to us”.

Conversation with the knowledgeable bar staff is encouraged. The aim is to personalise the cocktail for you. The wine list is eccentric and asks to be discussed. “We don’t have a sauvignon or pinot gris on offer but have other options that are designed to scratch an itch.” Negroni is Alex’s favoured cocktail. At the end of the bar, there’s a large Negroni barrel that’s been kept ‘alive’ for six years. It’s regularly added to, and the flavour continues to mature and develop.
Alex thinks of Elixir as an apothecary. Traditionally Campari, Chartreuse, Fernet, and Negronis were all dispensed thinking they had medicinal qualities. “In an old drugstore, you’d come in and talk to the chemist. They’d pull down something off the shelf to make you feel better.” That’s what the bar staff at Elixir do.

A bartender pours liquor into a cocktail shaker. Alcohol bottles line the illuminated shelves behind them.