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February 20, 2006 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Wellington by Night

So you’re in Wellington. Maybe you’re in a crappy hostel and you’ve got nothing to do now that you’ve figured out who you will apply for a Uni-hall flat with in October. Maybe you’re in a shitty flat in Newtown, which you’ve just figured out is miles away from uni and is host to a brothel across the road and hordes of unwashed Massey students. Maybe you’re reading this while you’re lying on the ground after drunkenly falling down your stairs. Wherever you are, settle down for a little low-down on what to do at night in Wellington when you’re just getting acquainted with the place.

So here it is…

A Capital Time in The Capital City.

Aside from shamelessly prostituting ourselves to tourists, Wellington is actually ‘the home’ of culture in New Zealand. Check out for about a zillion theatres to go to (often with discount student prices) and also keep an eye out for Victoria University productions which are advertised around campus and at hostels. When the opera or ballet’s in town it’s awesome to get suited up and go swank at the St James Theatre (on Courtenay Place). Everyone will look at you with great admiration for being so cultured AND being the only people under thirty in the audience.

The city council seem to have gone berserk sponsoring cultural events all over the city- go to for the latest foray into ratepayers pockets. You can go along and bitch about the extravagance of it all, but secretly really enjoy it. If the thought of being cultured hurts you like hip hop tours, go and get some fish and chips from Te Aro Fish Supply (on Aro Street) and then go and sit in the botanicals or go to Oriental Parade – it’s got imported golden sand, a playground, and the best gelato ever from Kafee Eis. I once heard a rumour about a VERY BAD thing to do if you were ever in a large public space, like the botanical gardens or a sports ground, which was covered in grass. This was to buy a big bag of salt and cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag and then spin in circles, holding out the salt bag so the salt made pretty circles and patterns on the grass. You should NEVER do this though as it ruins the grass and is very annoying for those that care about the grass… A better option, if you’re feeling somewhat active, is the Ceroc classes at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre on Vivian Street. Ceroc is a type of dance which combines traditional French dancing with that bad-ass rock and roll dancing which the U.S soldiers brought with them to Europe during the Second World War. Partners are provided so you can go along solo, and they also have discounted student rates. If you do manage to pick up a partner at dance classes and decide to take them to the movies so you can get a grope in the back row, always go on Tuesday nights because that’s when us poor students get a $9.50 ticket price. Most video places have cheap student nights too, so check them out if you’re ready for a night in. Lastly, as much as it pains me to say this, check out any sporting events that are going on. I had a fantastic time at the races and I believe there is some sort of ‘Melbourne Cup’ later in the year which I’m sure will be just as good. I often hear people cheering from the stadium (often referred to as ‘the Cake Tin’) so do the decent thing during the year and go to some Super 14 games where you can find other weird people from your weird province to cheer with when your home team is playing.

If you want…

An ‘Absolutely Positively Pissed in Wellington’ night:

I suggest starting off at a BYO restaurant. Here you will be able to kick off your drunkenness, yet at the same time line your stomach for when you get it pumped at 5am. You’ll be able to trace back to where you left your keys/wallet/girlfriend. Can’t you imagine it now… “Oooh! Oooh! I see chunks of naan bread! He must have been at Tulsi, that great Indian place on Cuba Street, with the best butter chicken in Wellington!” or “Hey! It’s a piece of linguini. She must have been at La Casa Pasta on Dixon Street!” Then your night will start coming back to you…

After leaving a BYO restaurant (and it is expected that by this time you will have: a job there, set bets with all of the waiters, and pretended it’s your best friend’s birthday so everyone in the restaurant claps and sings), you will want to keep riding the drunken wave as quickly as possible. Because you’ve been sitting down whilst drinking, you will have suddenly realised that you’re actually quite drunk when you stand up. For this reason it is best not to head anywhere too active yet; I recommend going to an Irish bar where you can put on ridiculous accents and nobody expects anything much of you. There’s JJ Murphy’s on Cuba Street and Molly Malone’s and Kitty O’Shea’s on Courtenay Place. Molly’s has a guy who plays the piano upstairs on Friday nights, which makes you feel like you’re slightly more worthy than the drunken student scum you are. If you get jealous of piano man’s singing prowess and decide you too would like a go, Club K Karaoke is also on Courtenay Place, or so I’ve heard. I’ve never actually made it to Club K because of some bizarre place called ‘The Shot Shack’ beside it (this may not be its actual name, but the name I have drunkenly given it). The Shot Shack is like a small barn with nothing in it except a bar with about 25 variations of ‘jungle punch’ alcohol, which you can buy shakers of and then shoot back until you forget all about karaoke. Probably a good thing.

You then have two options, and these are crucial: you either turn back towards Cuba Street and The Big Kumara, or you continue on down Courtenay Place. The Big Kumara has live cover bands and lots of platforms/tables which are about the right height to get up and dance on. If you do go to ‘The Big K’ and decide to hook into someone on the dance floor, you can scoot across to the ‘80s Pash Room’ (as I call it), which is to the left when you go up the stairs. It has Gloria Gaynor and cosy couches, and possibly smoke machines – all key elements to a decent drunken pash. If you have decided to feign some sort of class and not go to the Kumara, then be prepared to either use all of your course costs or find a sugar daddy for a boozy tour around Courtenay Place.

Over-priced drinks can be found at any of the bars along the left of Courtenay Place, but they do come with a free chance to dance with all the young professionals who have got trashed at office drinks and then used office taxi chits to deliver them to you; drunken, lithe students. Particularly notorious for this is Jet Bar, which gives these suits back rooms enclosed by curtains to which you can be lured into with a jagermeister and Red Bull combo, or perhaps a mojito (the ‘j’ is replaced with an ‘h’ in pronunciation – useful if you grew up south of the Clutha). If you’re particularly lucky maybe they’ll take you down to Vespa Lounge on Allen Street for a Quick Fuck. If you don’t want to sell your soul to someone who’s sold theirs to an accountancy firm, then take your booty to either Coyote’s or Shooters where you can either participate in the meat market or quietly select some trashy rump from a dark corner. For the sake of ALAC and also your liver in 25 years, it is important that you know two vital things: first, there will undoubtedly be someone who you can scab taxi money off at Burger King (on the corner of Courtenay and Tory Street), and they may also buy you a cheeseburger. Second, there’s a big taxi rank opposite the Kumara on Dixon Street. The taxis are full of people who are just dying to cart drunkards like yourself home and listen in on your voicemail messages to your ex/the sound of your vomit for $5.60, which is the average fare to get up to Weir House if you get off by the zebra crossing. Anyway, always remember to: be safe, look after your mates and buy something with lots of carbs and melted cheese. Fried chicken is also fine.

Top Five Night Time Tips:

1.Hostels have an emergency phone which you can you use to get in if you lose your key card. This is handy because you will probably not be able to call your room mate’s cell phone and get them to wake up at 4am, even when you throw coins at their window.

2.Wednesday night is cheap drinks night in town. Most places reduce drinks down to around $3.50, so a G&T for you and your pal will cost a mere $7.

3.It IS possible to make money/win bar tabs/win food at quiz nights or by doing amazing karaoke at bars.

4.The Cable Car runs until 10pm. It is highly forbidden and dangerous to walk up the Cable Car’s tunnel at any time.

5.Taxi drivers charge a lot if you vomit in their cab. Always roll the window down.


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