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By Raima Harding
July 09, 2018

Four of the Best Winter Bars in Wellington

Cosy watering holes which will have you merry and defrosted in no time.
By Raima Harding
July 09, 2018

If you are looking to defrost from residing in your (hopefully now insulated) student flat or the perfect alcohol blanket to compensate for your insufficient actual blanket; get yourself to one of these cosy local bars. Our best winter bar picks are based off three important factors: the quality of the drinks served, the ambiance and how toasty we felt during our stay. The following spots are first class which will have you merry and defrosted in no time. We recommend going to all of them for enjoyable evenings out this winter.



With its bar upon stacks of logs, wooden tables and timber décor, Arborist has a sincere cabin vibe. The warmth of the dulled lighting and low ceiling creates an intimate space. The snug vibe makes Arborist the perfect spot for a date or a romantic night with the flatmates. There is also a wall fish tank which is pretty gnarly. The Arborist is not only one of our top winter bar picks but also a great place for a function like a 21st birthday, graduation party, engagement or any other celebration.

If you do decide you do want to be outside, there is a rooftop bar with blankets and hot water bottles. Although the rooftop winter hours are from 4pm till late on Monday and Tuesday, and 12pm till late on every other day. There are also wintery specials available like hot toddies and keep your eye out for mulled wine, winter special broths and delicious soups. They also have a great evening menu to fill you up and warm you up. With the dinner menu split into proteins and greens, both paleolithic diets and vegan lifestyles will be satisfied. The Arborist encourages you to get a few plates to create your own balanced meal.



We have been to Havana possibly too many times in the past year but it's because they are one of the best in Wellington at what they do. The Latin vibe of Havana is the perfect counter to the icy wind outside. The unique space, just off of Cuba Street, conjures a cosy, homely environment. What makes Havana Bar one of the most iconic joints in Wellington and a perfect place to forget the horrors of the winter weather is the innovative drinks list. The connoisseurs, Sam and Fisher are perhaps the best and fanciest bartenders we have encountered. They know a heck of a lot about what makes an outstanding cocktail. Their new cocktail menu is made up of exclusive Havana drinks that are so inspired, you will want to try everything on there.

The Swan Song is a Collins-style drink with an intense summery twist. The house Crème de Mure combines blackberry liqueur, lemon, mint and walnut bitters to create a divine fusion of sharp flavours. The gin based drink is a refreshing but sophisticated cocktail that will trick your brain into thinking it is not winter. The Import/Export is perhaps the perfect drink to help you through even the coldest winter. The burnt butter-infused rum, homemade oak bitters, Californian chardonnay syrup will have you warmed up and feeling extremely snug.



Husk is a modern bar with an edgy atmosphere. The space has an outdoor courtyard alley and cosy indoor bar. Husk has a sophisticated selection of great wines from New Zealand and their own in-house brewery, Choice Bros. The Reet Petite is a red IPA with touch of ginger and the Serious Moonlight which is 9.5 percent imperial stout with spiced rum and cacoa are very popular. They also have twelve taps and two English hand-pulls of beer that change on the daily. Again this bar prides itself on providing local New Zealand beers and ciders of quality. The best thing on offer at Husk and perhaps the best thing we have ever heard of is the barrel-aged cocktails. These classic but matured cocktails are only $14. The Vesper has a European touch with the aromatised French wine Lillet Blanc as well as gin and vodka. The sazerac has spicy undertones but is a great wintery cocktail and one that will show you aren't here to muck around. Husk also offers some great winter-style drinks that are non-alcoholic and served hot. There are eight different types of tea available including alternative flavours like pomegranate oolong tea, coconut green tea, hot cinnamon sunset tea and a fruity black Paris tea. Husk's $5 lemon, honey and ginger has become known for its delicious quality and medicinal kick.



Southern Cross is a spacious, heated and distinguished Wellington bar at the top of Cuba Street. It has more drink options than any other bar in Wellington. This makes Southern Cross a great choice for almost any accompanying companion in this cold season. There is honestly something for everyone here because the possibilities to choose from are almost endless. Their cocktail list consists of 28 cocktails including the Ginger Spice and Gingerfather which can concurrently cure your cold. Why not make the most of being ill? There are 17 beers on tap as well as guest taps which are a variety of craft beers from their own nitrogen charged and hand pump taps. If you love your coffee, there are 13 different ways to drink your java. There are also 11 diverse types of tea for your consumption. A great winter date activity is coming for a free game of pool on Fridays at 4pm or catching the music quiz at 7pm on Thursdays.

Southern Cross promises your classic roast with trimmings that change weekly. There is even a complimentary chocolate brownie. It gets even better if you come on the second Sunday of every month there are free salsa classes. Definitely a fun way to learn a new skill and burn off some of that roast you just ate. Typically on the first Monday of every month is the Southern Cross' famed Outdoor Movie Night. The free screening of a popular film is our top winter activity. It gets even better as you can relax into bean bags with hot water bottles, blankets, popcorn and other specials that are available.

Southern Cross is famous for its hot chocolates and take them extremely seriously. There are some high quality options available: Whittaker's 72% Ghana Chilli hot chocolate, Tim Tam Slam which of course is served with two Tim Tams, a Coconut milk hot chocolate and your classic hot chocolate.

Published on July 09, 2018 by Raima Harding

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