The city of Christchurch
is located on New Zealand’s South Island and is a place full of culture, good food and friendliness. This beautiful city is proud of its heritage and history as well as its local businesses, including restaurants, cafes and bars. Explore Christchurch’s vibrant nightlife with our guide to the 10 best bars in the city.
Bar, European, $$$
The Smash Palace
is everything you would expect and want in a town that has been ravaged by an earthquake of the magnitude of the one that hit the Garden City in 2011. The food is hearty but uncomplicated, the beer selection is limited but thirst-quenching, and the service is perfectly Kiwi if you don’t get too needy. This is the pub to go to when you want to drink in a place where everyone seems to know your name, and everyone’s glad you came.
The Monday Room
Bar, Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Japanese, Tapas, $$$
The Monday Room has previously won the Christchurch Bar of the Year award, and offers a menu of brilliant, fresh Japanese cuisine along with its comprehensive wine, beer and cocktail list. The cocktail list showcases great products and uses classic and contemporary mixology techniques to devise innovative and original cocktails.
The Last Word
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, European, $$$
In central Christchurch, on the perimeter of the city’s Isaac Royal Theatre, is New Regent Street. This is a gorgeous heritage street, established in the 1930s, and home to The Last Word, among many other indulgent boutique businesses and venues. This whiskey and cocktail bar was thankfully able to stay in its original location on this historic street after the Spanish
-mission style buildings survived the 2011 earthquake, and have since been strengthened against future quakes. Over 200 different types of whiskey are served at this classy establishment, making it a must-go for cocktail enthusiasts and whiskey connoisseurs.
The Institution Craft Beer and Cocktail Bar
Bar, European, $$$
This is where you go to relax and get away from the tourist crowd. There’s cracking beer
, and totally dependable bar snacks. Exactly what you want at 1am. The main draw-card, though, is the atmosphere. Day or night, you can walk in here and feel comfortable. For conversations and cocktails, this place is hard to beat.
Bar, Restaurant, European, $$$
Eight months after the devastating earthquake in Christchurch in February 2011 that caused most venues in the city to close, Darkroom was one of the first bars to reopen. As well as having a large selection of spirits, Darkroom also provides a rotating choice of four ales on hand pump taps, as well as around 40 local bottled craft beers. This bar is also one of Christchurch’s biggest music and entertainment venues, hosting regular comedy, theatre and music events from both local and international artists.
The Craic Irish Bar
Bar, Restaurant, Irish, European, $$$
The countdown to next St. Patrick’s Day begins at The Craic Irish Bar, where Irish
culture, music and, of course, beer are brought to Christchurch in the form of a little pub on Riccarton Road, just west of the CBD. You’ll be able to relax and have a pint of Guinness in the friendly atmosphere that is inspired by the Irish tradition that upholds homeliness and acceptance. You can enjoy some live music with friends and chow down on some traditional, heart-warming Irish dishes. Make sure to check their website to find out about their weekly events.
The Dirty Land
Restaurant, Bar, Mexican, Tapas, $$$
Located in Christchurch’s CBD is The Dirty Land, a classy bar with ambient lighting and Victorian decor, that is the place to go to find high spirits and lively patrons. As well as their selection of imported beers, they have some fantastic cocktails. And, while you’re at it, try some of the delicious contemporary Mexican food that they have on offer too.
No. 4 Restaurant and Bar
Bar, Restaurant, European, $$$
If you’re looking for a place to have a Saturday afternoon drink, or maybe a beer with mates after work, No. 4 Bar & Restaurant is the place to go. The outdoor area is a great place to relax on a warm summer day, although even in the winter the courtyards are heated and the indoor areas will keep you snug and cosy. This is a place where you might like to have a laid-back, candle-lit bite to eat. No. 4 Bar & Restaurant
offers a selection of boutique beers and ciders by the bottle, on top of a list of 12 different beers on tap and a library of wines that highlight local options and varieties.
Vesuvio Jazz and Tapas Bar
Bar, Restaurant, Tapas, Australian, $$$
There are bars that you look for, and there are bars that you stumble across. This is one of the latter. It has a distinctly European vibe – that is to say a little bit of the late-night wine and tapas feel to it. Stop in for some quality nibbles washed down with a glass or two of Pinot Noir, and if you’re lucky a band will be playing.
Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn
Bar, Pub, European, Australian, $$$
This is the place to be for all those expats and visitors to Christchurch from the UK. There are very few things in life that equal a UK pub and the guys and gals at this establishment are very aware of that fact. If you’re in need of a Sunday roast or Yorkshire pudding fix then toddle on over here. For a cosy glass of cider, it can’t be beat.