I love lane-ways. Forever and always I have adored exploring the wee alleys and lane-ways of Melbourne, and in the past few years some of Wellington’s lane-ways have finally become the place to be, rather than somewhere to avoid. The best lane-way in Wellington is undeniably the Eva St/Leeds St/Hannah’s factory precinct area, where this a wide range of both watering holes and tasty joints. Here are some of the highlights:
Downright funky, this Seattle style dive bar is largely decorated from a wide range of recycled materials including plastic buckets for lampshades and enough pairs of skis to compete with a rental shop. It is one of the few craft beer spots in Welly that is not bound to a brewery, meaning they can serve whatever they want, whenever they want. Goldings has a savvy collaboration with Pizza Pomodoro next door, which as a longstanding and integral part of Hannah’s lane-way has been serving up thin-crusted Italian pizza since forever ago. Order your pizza from your table at Goldings and get it delivered across by Pomodoro = winner!
For all those salted caramel cookie fans out there, the opening of Leeds St was a dream come true. An expansion of Ti Kouka Café, brothers Jesse and Shepherd Elliott took it one step further when they opened this cutesie little café with a bakery attached. The coffee is good and the food is simplistic; it’s a perfect spot for a morning read of afternoon muse.
A joint venture by two of our favourites from above, Sean Golding (Goldings) and Shepherd Elliott, this modern and innovative restaurant serves refined yet playful, in a stylish environment with an almost flawless beverage list. The food is fresh, local and ethically sourced and the structure of its menu lends itself to great sharing food, whether you want just a bite, a graze or a multi-course meal.
Aptly named, all the alcohol at Hanging Ditch is strung from the roof. Hanging Ditch is a wonderfully cosy cocktail bar, serving elegant and curiously curated drinks. It is one of the most recent additions to the laneways (although it is well established by now) and being tucked away next to Goldings I find it easy to forget sometimes that it’s even there. It’s always a pleasant spot for a drink though, and probably one of the safest bars to be during an earthquake!
Another drinking hole, Fortune Favours serves a completely different audience to those in Hanging Ditch. Fortune Favours is a brewery, residing in what apparently used to be a dip strippers. It has retained some of the gorgeous décor, such as wooden ceiling rafters and brick walls but has made suitably perfect renovations to give it some extra character. The upstairs component of Fortune Favours is far nicer than downstairs; you can even sit outside on the terrace if it is a nice day.
Conveniently located in the centre of town, WCF is New Zealand’s first bean-to-bar factory that opened to the public. Nothing less than a chocolate emporium, you can watch the melted chocolate being turned into bars, sip on a hot chocolate and even take away one of their iconic blocks of chocolate. These adorable little bars are elaborately flavoured, for example salted brittle caramel and ANZAC, and come in beautiful packaging, designed by local artists.
Wellington’s own boutique peanut butter, being created in the centre of the city! It is merely a window in the wall set-up, where peanut butter is sold straight from the factory. There is only a small range of goods (although six different flavours of peanut butter still makes for a difficult choice) and there is merchandise available for those super keen. Check out their website for some awesome peanut butter recipes.
Lastly, still worthy of a mention despite not being in the same lane-way is Egmont Street Eatery. The lane-way running parallel to the one above, Egmont Street is still relatively untouched. However, for me, this particular eatery is one of the best in Wellington. It wouldn’t be out of place in Melbourne and is essentially a must visit for foodies near and far. It came to my attention after winning the Burger on a Plate competition back in 2015, and it’s been a fan favourite ever since. The donuts at Egmont are strong contenders for the best in Welly.