Samuel Flynn-Scott's Wellington
I’m one of the singer-songwriters in The Phoenix Foundation and I make music for film and TV with Conrad Wedde and Lukasz Buda as Moniker. On top of that I write about food for The Spinoff and Cuisine magazine and am generally obsessed with anything delicious.
Join the grumpy banter at Slow Boat Records
183 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
I’ve been coming since I was teenager and now my kids love it. I hope it’s there forever. Great instore gigs, and the best grumpy banter on earth. Just go there and zorb into the record bins for a few hours. It’s meditation for music nerds.
Other-people’s-dog Walking at Lyall Bay
I don’t have my own pooch and I therefore tend to do this with friends and their mongrels. It’s a surprisingly social part of Wellington. You might bump into Hamish Mackay walking his dog so you can have a good art chat, or maybe Jeremy Taylor from Slow Boat Records and talk about music or rugby.
Pretentious wine trail
Ghuznee Street, Wellington
Wine snob your way down Ghuznee. Maybe start at 1154 for some pasta to line the stomach before all that acidic natural wine. Then get something really classy from Puffin Wine Bar before heading over the road and up a few stairs to Ascot for several really well-priced local wines. Ascot is no-frills, great music, all vibe. The bar scene has changed a lot in Wellington in recent years, and I love these places that are selling really great drinks but in a setting that feels very comfy and come-as-you-are. It’s a world away from the secret knock, cocktail bar, spot-the-LOTR-star nightlife of Wellington in the 90s.
Art at The Dowse Art Museum
45 Laings Road, Hutt Central, Lower Hutt
The Dowse is worth visiting no matter what is on. It’s a great home for emerging artists, giving them leeway to be more experimental and conceptual, but also puts a lot of value on practices like ceramics, glass blowing and textiles that might get lumped in as “craft” and left out of the art conversation at times.
Eat the menu at Mason
3 Wilson Street, Newtown, Wellington
This is my favourite spot in Wellington right now. A great one. Exceptional food and service and relaxed as heck. The food is a modern take on Lebanese and every dish is worth trying, so it pays to go with friends and order EVERY SINGLE THING. And it’s in Newtown, my stomping ground. You can check out some second hand vinyl at Creeps next door while you wait for your table.
Vegetables from The Highwater
54 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The duck is amazing, the crudo out of this world, but what Highwater does best is vegetables. The crudite is cosmic, which a plate of raw vegetables shouldn’t really be. Is there some kind of hypnotism going on here? Equally, the vegetable plate lunch special is from an alternate dimension, where hari-krishna’s serve the most delicious food on earth.
Celebrating ingredients at Rita
89 Aro Street, Aro Valley
Kelda and Paul do everything right. The food changes every day and it’s always a perfect balance of celebrating the ingredients and putting refined cooking front and centre. The Russian honey cake would be on my death row final meal order. It’s also next door to the Garage Project bar where we try to have as many “band meetings” as possible.
Glorious reubens from Scheckter’s Deli
38 Fitzherbert Street, Petone, Lower Hutt
A bit of a drive out to Petone but the reuben sandwich is the best in NZ and well worth venturing out a bit. All other reubens should bow in shame at the glory of the Sheck.
Clambering the rock pools
Fitzroy Bay, Wellington
Wandering around the rock pools on the South Coast is better than anything else I’ve mentioned, and it’s free. A summer evening picnic at Princess Bay with a bit of bonus rock clambering, is as good as life can possibly be.
Explore the Museum of Wellington City and Sea
3 Jervois Quay, Wellington Central
I recommend getting lost in the attic at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea. I love this museum. It’s weird and pokey and unsettling but also lovingly curated and thoughtful. The top floor feels like a 1950s monster movie with its stuffed animals and Tesla Coils. It’s like the sleeper indie movie hit to Te Papa’s superhero blockbuster.
Great views from the Gun Emplacements
Hawkins Hill Road, Brooklyn, Wellington
This is just a great spooky landscape. The Brooklyn Gun Emplacements are a concrete temple in the shadow of a lone windmill. You might spot dog walkers or perhaps some young folk on a journey to open the doors of perception in their minds. Weird, mystical and the greatest views on Earth.