photos by Dockside Restaurant & Bar
15 Best Wellington Restaurant Venues
by Raashka Mannie | 02 Apr 2020
Whether you're dining at the waterfront or surrounded by historic art deco buildings, Wellington knows how to make your experience feel like a spoonful of sugar. The city is filled with award-winning restaurants, cafés and eateries that also double as fantastic venues - because nothing is better than planning an event and knowing that your catering is going to be perfectly tailored to. We've handpicked some of the best Wellington restaurants in the city, from relaxed and cosy to light-filled, enormous spaces that are ideal for gala dinners. Whatever your function, this list of Wellington restaurants is sure to give you a healthy serving of inspiration. For a more comprehensive guide of Wellington's venues, click here.
Dockside Restaurant & Bar
Image by Dockside Restaurant & Bar
Your event can overlook lapping waters and the golden horizon at Dockside Restaurant & Bar, a Wellington restaurant that doubles as a fun venue. This flexible space features one of the largest outdoor dining areas over water in the Southern Hemisphere, with a deck that can be covered with a large retractable roof in preparation for Wellington's mercurial weather. Their menu emphasises some of the best New Zealand has to offer, drawing inspiration from local and seasonal ingredients. Dockside Restaurant & Bar can host up to 350 guests, offering 3 function spaces to choose from: the Main Deck, Upstairs Restaurant and Private Room. The Main Deck offers panoramic views of the harbour, with a natural appeal and oodles of light, whereas the Upstairs Restaurant has 2 balconies, a private bar, and views of the city and water. Finally, the Private Room is their cosiest space with a maximum capacity of 18, overlooking the waterfront and catching the afternoon sunlight just right.
Image by Athfield Architects
The Bresolin is a cool, modern space that offers a diverse menu and a fun location to host your Wellington event. With a shiny brass bar top, polished wood floor and planetarium of lights, this restaurant is all about creating a sleek space to wine and dine. They have a total of 4 areas to choose from when deciding where to host your event. The Courtyard is their outdoor option, featuring a retractable roof to let in the sunshine or keep out the rain, as well as an open fire and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for up to 100 guests. Their dining rooms are split between the Main Dining Room, seating up to 50 and featuring wooden tables, lush carpets and natural light, and the Private Dining room, a private space for up to 12 guests that makes for a great spot for meetings. Finally, their Bar is a colourful space with enough beverage options to keep, and your guests occupied, making for a nice option for everyone to chat and have a good time.
Image by Wellington NZ
The Arborist is one of the most beloved Wellington restaurants, featuring a downstairs function space that can host up to 65 standing or 45 seated guests. With a diverse menu and committed team, this restaurant venue serves as an ideal space for more intimate gatherings such as meetings, smaller dinners, and so much more. If you're keen to expand your event, they offer an outside area for an indoor/outdoor floor that allows for a longer guest list. The Arborist can provide any equipment you need for your event, and also offer on-site catering courtesy of their amazing in-house chefs. Their experienced team of function experts can help you during the planning process of your event to make the whole experience a breeze.
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A unique combination of Hanoi and Paris, Apachè is a Wellington restaurant with a unique menu that presents a wide variety of treats. This eatery blends popular Northern Vietnamese hawker street food with a touch of French influence to create something truly spectacular. They're also bookable for private functions, making for a unique space for dinners, cocktail parties and more informal meetings. They can cater anywhere from 20 to 60 guests, featuring a banquet-style menu that can be tailored to your requirements. With dedicated and lively staff on hand, as well as a flair for the creative, Apachè is a Wellington restaurant venue that can make your function as sensational as their menu.
Foxglove Bar & Kitchen
Image by Steemit
Foxglove Bar & Kitchen was opened in June 2010 and is located in the centre of Wellington's Queens Wharf, having grown into a popular restaurant that doubles as a venue. As a heritage building that was once the Union Steam Ship Company's Wellington store at Greta Point, Foxglove Bar & Kitchen is full of charm and history. There are 3 dining spaces within the venue, all exuding that sense of 1940s glamour and with lovely views of the ocean. Their main event spaces include Queen Wharfs Ballroom, with a private deck, private entrance and audiovisual equipment, accomodating up to 350 guests; Foxtail Whisky Den, for exclusive parties of no more than 100 guests; and The Games Room, the most casual space and with access to the main bar, perfect for up to 70 guests.
Image by Fratelli
Fratelli is an Italian restaurant specialising in serving fresh eats with a welcoming atmosphere. Located in Wellington's CBD, this restaurant venue makes homemade pasta, gnocchi, risotto, and pizza from the wood-fired oven. They opened in 2009 and have been thriving ever since. Fratelli also serves as a great spot to host events, with 2 separate dining spaces for private hire. They can cater for anywhere from 6 to 60 people, offering several set menu options (that may be tailored to your needs upon request) and incredible service to boot. Their private dining rooms are wonderful spaces to host more intimate events, such as dinners, cocktail gatherings and more.
Image by Wellington City Heritage
Have the time of your life at New Zealand's oldest surviving tavern and restaurant, Thistle Inn. This venue was the second space to receive a liquor license issued in all of New Zealand and has stood strong in the same location for over 175 years. Situated in downtown Wellington, Thistle Inn now serves as a famous landmark, venue and restaurant in the city. Their private dining spaces include George's Room, Katherine Mansfield Room and private dining room, respectively accomodating 42, 28 and 36 guests each. They offer 3 set menus for you to choose from, with room for adjustments. Their rooms feature plenty of natural light, wooden floors, and privacy for your event, making for lovely choices for cosier gatherings and dinners. Thistle Inn specialises in pub food with a modern twist, combining comfort and sophistication throughout their menu.
Poquito Café & Bar
Image by Poquito Café & Bar
A cosy space available for hire for your Wellington event, Poquito Café & Bar is an eatery and bar with plenty of character. They regularly hold meetings, birthday parties, cocktail evenings, live music and gatherings of all kinds. Near the gorgeous waterfront and Te Papa National Museum, Poquito Café & Bar rests in all its charm and personality with an inspired menu and incredible drinks to boot. They pride themselves on their genuine staff, warm atmosphere and ensuring you and your guests have a good time. As a family-owned business, they are experts with tailor-made events and evenings. During the day, a café with delicious eats; at night, a tapas and cocktail bar to unwind at as you listen to live music. Talk to their helpful team about on-site catering options, putting together a drinks menu and choosing live entertainment for your Wellington event.
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Noble Rot is a wine bar that has an award-winning chef on hand to ensure that your dining experience is unforgettable. In 2018, this Wellington venue achieved a '2 Hat' rating in the 2018 Cuisine Good Food Guide Awards - they are one of the handful of New Zealand restaurants to have ever received this honour. They have also been awarded the Cuisine Magazine's Award for the '2018 Negociants Best Wine Experience in New Zealand.' As a venue, their spaces include The Martinborough Room, their largest space that seats up to 40 guests, The Wellington Wine Country Room, catering for up to 15 guests, and The Bar, comfortably fitting up to 30 guests. Each space has a unique charm and purpose depending on your event, whether you're looking to host a dinner for your coworkers or an intimate cocktail party with canapés and drinks.
Image by Concrete Playground
Settled in one of the oldest wharf stores in Lambton Harbour, Shed 5 is at the water's edge and boasts an in-house fishmonger, making it one of Wellington's best seafood restaurants. With enormous windows facing the harbour, Shed 5 is filled with natural light and dark wood beams. On sunny days, this restaurant expands to include an outdoor courtyard for further dining options. This Wellington restaurant was once a woolshed and now regularly hosts functions for up to 220 guests. The private dining room seats 160 people while the main dining room can entertain up to 220, with a bar that can be set aside for further mingling or smaller gatherings. Their menus change weekly, depending on the season and fresh produce, so bespoke dishes can be arranged when you chat to a Shed 5 team member.
Prefab Eatery & Hall
Image by Nouba
Centrally located, Prefab Eatery is an award-winning space that features a venue attached and known as Prefab Hall. A light-filled, flexible venue, Prefab Hall can seat anywhere from 160 to 250 guests, suitable for gala dinners, cocktail functions, launch parties, corporate events and so much more. The venue has been decked out with state-of-the-art equipment and has a ton of audiovisual gear available on-site, as well as the option of catering by Prefab Eatery. This Wellington venue is a premier option when it comes to hosting events. When it comes to Prefab Eatery, they're all about providing fresh, seasonal delicacies and an informal atmosphere for their diners. Their entertaining space is as adaptable as you'd like, so you're free to host a relaxed party for your colleagues or a productive meeting over coffee.
Pravda Café and Grill
Image by First Table
Having carefully crafted a fabulous dining spot in the heart of the city, Pravda Café and Grill is more than equipped to host your next Wellington event. Their space features grand vaulted ceilings, marble-topped tables and crystal chandeliers, combining this with the simplicity of an Italian-inspired café. This Wellington restaurant can host up to 150 guests, specialising in hosting dinners, cocktail functions and other exciting events. They can put together bespoke menus for your event, with enough space for up to 80 guests if you decide to have a seated dinner. They're a stroll away from Queens Wharf and offer a vibrant atmosphere. Pravda Café and Grill is a restaurant venue that outdoes itself in terms of impeccable service and tasteful decor.
St John's Bar & Eatery
Image by First Table
St John's Bar & Eatery is settled on the waterfront inside a lovely art deco building and features stunning views of the harbour. Their newly refurbished interior gives a modern, plush feeling to every event they host, with a dedicated functions team for your convenience. Their spaces include The Lounge, hosting up to 30 guests and perfect for smaller meetings and dinners; The Conservatory, a private dining space for up to 16 guests; 1/2 Eatery, which acts as a semi-private function area for up to 50 guests; and, finally, The Eatery, a totally private space with an indoor/outdoor flow, audiovisual equipment and capable of hosting up to 150 guests. Exclusive use of St John's Bar & Eatery is also an option, with this Wellington restaurant venue able to accommodate up to 250 guests.
Southern Cross Garden Bar
Image by Zomato
Southern Cross Garden Bar is the Wellington restaurant venue that serves as a relaxed space for your event. They have been around for over 100 years and are deeply rooted in the community, with plenty of event experience and all the facilities to host a fabulous time. They regularly host quiz nights, live gigs, art classes and so much more, with on-site catering options and a series of spaces to choose between. The Guest Room, The Porch, The Lounge and The Gallery are their 4 function areas, hosting 25 to 100 guests depending on which you pick. If you're looking to accommodate more, you can combine spaces to suit your fancy. Decked out with audiovisual equipment, a gorgeous garden nearby, fireplaces and plenty of natural light, the Southern Cross Garden Bar has so much to offer as one of Wellington's premier eatery venues in the middle of the city.
Tussock Bar & Café
Image by Tussock Bar & Café
In the heart of Massey University's campus, Tussock Restaurant & Bar is here to give your event a modern feeling in a hub of education and activity. This Wellington venue specialises in hosting cocktail parties, conferences and so much more, with spectacular in-house catering and a professional events team to help with the planning and running of your function. They will help you with the fine details, such as audiovisual equipment hire, menu design, styling and themes and more. Tussock Bar & Café can host over 800 guests, making it one of the more extensive and comprehensive restaurant venues in Wellington, offering facilities that go above and beyond. If you're looking for a venue that can help you do it all, Tussock Bar & Café is the ideal option.