Planning a coffee date in Wellington? There are heaps of cafes to choose from, but you can’t go wrong if you start with one of these six.
- Fidel’s Cafe. Dating someone with elaborate facial hair, skinny jeans and a collection of ironic tees? If so, take your date to Fidel’s Cafe, perhaps the ultimate Wellington hipster hangout. The booths are cosy, and if you’re getting on well the sun-drenched courtyard is a great place to linger on a sunny day. Fidel’s serves single-original Cuban coffee, roasted right around the corner, but it doesn’t have to be all about the coffee: try the hot cinnamon sunset tea or the chilli hot chocolate.
- Leeds Street Bakery. Perhaps better known as the home of the salted caramel cookie, Leeds Street Bakery is an ideal inner-city meeting spot if you’re meeting someone during the day (be warned it closes at 3.30pm Monday to Friday). The coffee is roasted in-house, and the cafe has a casual, relaxed vibe. It’s tucked away in the former Hannah’s shoe factory building, so you won’t have to see everyone you know walking past. Even if the date doesn’t go well, you won’t have to go home empty-handed – grab a loaf of sourdough on your way out.
- Big, buzzy and almost always packed, Prefab lets you and your date quickly suss each other out without the pressure you might feel in a quieter, more intimate cafe. The service is fast, and there’s a good chance of seeing someone you know. Order a flat white and two of Prefab’s phenomenal doughnuts – you definitely won’t want to share.
- The Hangar. HQ of the self-proclaimed family of coffee nerds that produces Flight Coffee, The Hangar is a handy central-city date location. The food is generally local, seasonal and organic, and the coffee is superb. Staff are said to have given out free hugs at the door when the business launched, but those days are sadly over.
- Maranui Surf Cafe. You’ll have to queue on weekends, but if you and your date are able to drive out to beautiful Lyall Bay during the week you should easily be able to score a table at one of Wellington’s favourite hangouts. Maranui has a delicious menu, much of it vegan, and a cool coastal vibe. If you’re not good at small talk, the windsurfers outside the big bay window out front are always a great conversation-starter.
- Tucked away in funky Cuba Street, this stalwart of the Wellington cafe scene is a popular location for first dates. Order the stonking pancakes or legendary scrambled eggs and find a seat in the secret garden: a palm-filled covered courtyard hidden out the back. Olive is just the spot to skive off work while you drink your way through the craft beer list and figure out whether you’ll come back for your second date. Olive’s outside blackboard has featured one of Wellington’s most enjoyable customer-attracting homilies: “The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap. Eat cake and stay safe.”