The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Spotlight on a local: Dirty Little Secret

As the hospitality industry continues to bounce back from the upheaval of last year, The Shout NZ is dedicated to supporting Kiwi locals.

Dirty Little Secret is Wellington’s first rooftop container bar, offering near-panoramic views of Courtenay Place and beyond.

It is an industrial chic hideaway inspired by the laneway bars of Melbourne and serves a range of premium and craft beers and high-end wine and spirits.

Venue Manager Leah Hughes shares some insights into Wellington’s newest and most cutting edge venue…

How would you describe Dirty Little Secret and its atmosphere?

Dirty Little Secret is a hidden away rooftop bar above Courtenay Place. The bar has a very grungy, slightly industrial Melbourne rooftop vibe with graffitied walls with casual seating and beanbags to a few leaners dotted around, the bar quickly adapts from a perfect ‘Welly on a good day’ hang out spot to a bustling club vibe.

We have a killer cocktail list and a newly launched fried chicken menu which has been an instant hit! We’re well known for our amazing resident DJs who do a top job of keeping everyone dancing throughout the weekend, we’ve also launched Sundown Sessions on Sundays with local acoustic artists and Drag Bingo every Thursday with the talented host Felicity Frockaccino.

How do you ensure that Dirty Little Secret stands out from the crowd?

Authenticity is what ensures we stand out. We provide an experience that we enjoy, not one that’s catering to what we think customers will enjoy. We like to keep things fresh, so revamping the cocktail menu regularly and we also have a variety of local artists’ artwork on the walls in a ‘Melbourne graffiti style’ that we try to update often which keeps things interesting for customers and staff alike. We have managed to create a bar that can quickly transition from chilled days to pumping Friday and Saturday nights too, which I think is often difficult for bars to pull off well but DLS seems to nail it.

What is your signature drink?

Our signature drink is the Welly Zombie – a fruity mix with Malibu & Kraken. We also do a mean espresso martini that can’t be faulted.

What are you most looking forward to about the hospitality industry for the remainder of 2021?

Being back – we’re not taking it all for granted how lucky we are to be back in business and bringing people together again.

What do you look for when hiring staff for your venue?

Staff being able to hold a conversation is pretty crucial – so someone bubbly and keen to learn are important traits, everything else can be taught.

What are your top tips for being a great bartender?
Willingness to learn is key and doing some of your own research finding out your own dislikes and likes will give you a huge advantage when dealing with customers as everyone loves a good recommendation and seeing a staff member really talk about something they enjoy, whether it be a particular drink/food/item/ beer preference it will really stand out to the customer.

If you have a local you’d like featured in The Shout NZ, please email your suggestion to

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