Article from the Winter 2010 edition of TNT New Zealand.
Londoner turned Christchurch local Katherine Kearsley gives us the insider’s guide to going out in the South Island’s biggest city.
Finding the happening places in a new place is always a challenge and Christchurch is no exception. However, Christchurch is not just the Garden City. Hidden down alleys and back streets are a suprising number of awesome bars and clubs.
I often come across people who have stopped briefly in Christchurch and think the nightlife is nothing to write home about. Invariably they had ended up on ‘The Strip’, as Oxford Terrace at 2am in the morning is so-called. This little city, however, has just about something for everyone, as long as you know where to look.
An area called SOL Square (stands for South Of Lichfield) has become the place to go in recent years. Found between Minx and His Lordship’s Pub on Lichfield Street, it rivals some of the laneways of Melbourne and Europe. Live music can be found just about any night of the week, ranging from jazz to trance, while the food on offer includes everything from homemade pizzas to teppanyaki via fish and chips. Each bar has it’s own history, whether fact or fiction so it’s definitely worth a look.
Also worthy of pub crawl inclusion is another laneway-type area called Poplar Street, just off Lichfield Street – the other side of Manchester to SOL Square. It’s similar to SOL Square with plenty of variety all within a quick stumble, including a Russian vodka bar, a German beer bar, an English micro brewery and my favourite, the mod bar Vespa – complete with a real Vespa scooter on the wall. This area tends to attract more of the late-20s crowd (compared to SOL’s youngsters), so it tends to be quieter during the week but has a real buzz on the weekends.
Other popular haunts are:
- Sullivan’s Irish Bar – Manchester Street – great live music on the weekends.
- Cruz on Lichfield Street is the city’s best gay club.
- The Bog Irish Bar on the corner of Cashel Mall and Oxford Terrace. Great live music and an awesome Monday night quiz.
- Pomeroy’s on Kilmore Street near Fitzgerald Avenue. Great English pub.
- The Bangalore Polo Club on Oxford Terrace. Great food and a funky place.
- Christchurch Idol on Manchester Street is the place to go to for karaoke.
- Boogie Nights on Manchester Street. Tunes guaranteed to get you dancing.
- Shooters, on the corner of Manchester Street and Cashel Street, goes off.