Best Venues in Wellington for Cocktail Parties
by Luke Ellery | 19 Jan 2022
Cocktails parties are a must on many yearly social calendars, and the corporate social calendar is no exception. Show your team how much you appreciate them by throwing a function where they can dress up and enjoy canapés and cocktails. Wellington has several great cocktail venues suitable for large or small events. From oceanside cocktails at the Wharewaka Function Centre to sophisticated morsels at the Academy Galleries, here is our list of the best venues in Wellington for Cocktail Parties. For more venue options, check out our complete guide to Wellington venues here.
The Opera House
Image by The Opera House
The Opera House is one of Wellington’s historic landmark buildings that still bears many of its original features, including a lavish marble staircase, proscenium arch, domed ceiling, and raked stage. You can find this cocktail venue a short walk from Wellington’s famed Cuba Street - the heart of the city’s vibrant nightlife. Be aware, because this cocktail venue is a historic building, it does not have an elevator to reach upper floors - accessibility is something you will need to consider if you choose to book with this gem of a Wellington venue.
Image by Academy Galleries
One of Wellington’s venues most suited to a cocktail party, Academy Galleries, is an ample and flexible space that, as an art gallery, is already impressively decorated. The cocktail venue comfortably fits up to 250 guests in its free-flowing space. Academy Galleries' ambience is bound to provoke thought and result in lots of engaging conversation. This cocktail venue's convenient location is strung along the Wellington Waterfront, right beside Te Papa, making it impossible to miss. You and your guests can sip champagne and nibble on hors d'oeuvres in sophisticated style at one of Wellington's favourite venues.
Michael Fowler Centre
Image by Michael Fowler Centre
This striking cocktail venue is in the heart of Wellington and has won numerous architecture awards for its innovative design. Michael Fowler Centre is more than a pretty face: it will not disappoint when it comes to service and corporate hiring, cocktail functions included. A total of 5 rooms are available for hire in the Michael Fowler Centre, giving you flexibility and space to plan your upcoming Wellington function. The largest room (the Theatre) seats over 2000 guests, while the other rooms can host between 20 and 1000 in a cocktail setting. A testament to the beauty and love of art in all its forms, this Wellington venue will bring your cocktail night a distinctive charm.
Image by Thistle Inn
Warm and welcoming is the cornerstone of this fabulous Wellington venue, Thistle Inn, a historic space that offers delicious on-site catering, tons of natural light and option after option for your upcoming cocktail party. Choose between a series of rooms for your Wellington cocktail party, including The George's Room, Marquee, The Katherine Mansfield Room, Main Bar and The Courtyard. Mix and match these spaces at your will, accommodating anywhere from 14 to 180 guests and transforming into an ideal location for your cocktail party. Thistle Inn is a Wellington venue that prides itself on versatility and its rich past, with a sunny atmosphere and team that will only heighten the experience.
Shed 6 (TSB Auditorium)
Image by Wellington NZ
Shed 6 is the cocktail party venue you've been looking for with its pillarless floor and soundproof walls. Arrange the room in any way you please because the open space has next to no obstructions. This Wellington cocktail venue also boasts the latest in audio-visual technology, making entertainment, speeches and more a seamless affair. As the home of the annual WOW Arts Show (World of Wearable Arts Show), it needs to be continually ahead of the game in lighting and sound display. Shed 6 is a part of a trio of venues that include TSB Auditorium, TSB Arcade, and TSB Arena. The latter is Wellington’s largest indoor event space and can host over 1000 people in a seated banquet setting.
Old St Paul’s
Image by Wellington NZ
A former cathedral, Old St Paul’s is a celebrated piece of Wellington’s history with stunning stained glass and a warmly wooden interior. Celebrated as one of the finest examples of timber gothic revival architecture, Old St Paul’s provides a perfect venue for your next cocktail party. It has a capacity of over 400 guests and is located minutes from the centre of Wellington City, making it as convenient as it is beautiful. With a dedicated team to help you with planning and organising your cocktail night, as well as the options of on-site catering and audiovisual equipment, Old St Paul’s is a beloved venue choice for any Wellington cocktail function.
Image by WellingtonNZ
New Zealand's most famous museum, Te Papa, has a handful of event spaces perfect for corporate cocktail functions. The surroundings are inspiring and sophisticated, and the venue is easy to access, given its landmark status. There are 5 function spaces available: Te Marae, Oceania, ICON, Amokura Gallery, and Wellington Foyer. This iconic Wellington venue has space for up to 1000 people, so if you’re leaning towards a large-scale cocktail function, then Te Papa in Wellington could be the perfect venue for your cocktail night.
Image by First Choice decorators
The French know how to throw a good party, and Sofitel maintains the well-established tradition of French cordiality. They throw sophisticated cocktail nights, equipped with mouth-watering canapés and luxurious interior design to boot. Sofitel will set the tone for your event, leaving you and your guests to simply unwind over flutes of champagne and conversation at this Wellington venue. The experienced events team at Sofitel will ensure that your cocktail party runs to perfection, helping you plan everything from necessary accommodation, catering to audiovisual supplies and styling.
Image by Intercontinental Hotel Wellington
Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington promises an insider experience when it comes to cocktail parties. Their seasoned and helpful team can arrange professional local celebrity speakers, local produce for the catering, and insider information on what to see and where to go in Wellington. They can fit up to 400 people in a cocktail setting inside their Lambton room; other room options provide space for smaller groups of 20 to 50 guests. Your cocktail party at this Wellington venue is sure to be a classy affair, put together with the expert help of their staff.
CQ Hotel Wellington
Image by CQ Hotel
Another one of Wellington’s versatile hotel venues, the CQ Hotel, is in a great location and surrounded by ample parking. One of CQ Hotel’s most valuable benefits (particularly regarding cocktail parties) is that its spaces are all air-conditioned and sound-proofed - that means no overheating on the dance floor and no concern for noise complaints from neighbours. The Cuba Rooms in CQ Hotel feature exposed brick walls and concrete beams, creating an urban-chic appeal that blends seamlessly into contemporary cocktail functions.
Wharewaka Function Centre
Image by Wharewaka Function Centre
Up to 800 guests can enjoy the excellent facilities at the Wharewaka Function Centre. Being a purpose-built event space, Wharewaka Function Centre has rooms suitable for all sorts of events - cocktail parties included. When it comes to hosting a fabulous cocktail function, this Wellington venue outdoes itself with its views of the water, floods of natural light and theming options. This cocktail venue is right on Wellington's Queens Wharf and is one of the city's favourite options when it comes to hosting events of every kind.
St James Theatre (Currently Closed)
Image by Venues Wellington
St James Theatre is a sophisticated venue, which means it's entirely perfect for a cocktail party. First built in 1912 and undergoing delicate refurbishments, this Wellington venue brings you style in spades; it promises to maintain its old-world elegance but also be able to offer the latest in audiovisual technology. This cocktail venue is the current home of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (they, unfortunately, don’t come with the venue hire) and is centred in a busy and cultural part of Wellington, near the public art gallery and Wellington’s museum, Te Papa. Bring elegance to your cocktail event with St James Theatre.