Don’t let anyone go telling you Christchurch bars aren’t the same since the earthquakes… well perhaps they’re partly right, but only in a positive way.

If ever there was an example of a city that chose to reinvent it’s nightlife, Christchurch is it. As in all good cities, Christchurch bars are the go-to spot for old mates wanting to catch up over a pint, new dates settling in for a cosy night and groups of young dancers wanting to show off their swagger.

Whether you’re here for a night only, or have made Christchurch your home, don’t be content to stick with just one bar for the night, as there are too many great options to experience. Wandering the city centre is a good way to get a first impression of a city, and come evening time there’s plenty of reason to stay out longer as Christchurch bars put on a show. Watch for where the crowds are and know that the more people look like they are having a good time, the more likely you are to too. Don’t blame us if you wake up with a dusty head the next morning though, Christchurch bars and nightlife can be such a good time that it’s easy to forget when a sensible bedtime is. 

Bear in mind though there’s plenty in the suburbs to keep you entertained too.  Lyttelton, Sumner, Lincoln and Woolston (to name a few) are all home to some fine establishments that have grown a firm following over the years. Wanting to know where to go while you’re in Christchurch? Head along to one of these local favourites and strike up a conversation with someone at the bar, as they’re sure to know the best spots to camp, tramp, fish, swim, ski and shop.

Christchurch's Finest Places To Go For A Cocktail

Bartender adding purple pansy as a garnish on top of a cocktail
No matter the weather it's always the right time for a cocktail. It could be the height of summer, the sun is shining, you’re with good friends and fruity concoctions are flowing. Or perhaps the temperatures have taken a dive, cosy vibes are key and your drink of choice also has the job of providing some much-needed warmth.

Two Thumb Brewing on Colombo

An indoor seating area with 'Two Thumb' printed on a brick wall.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

On the edge of Christchurch’s city centre, just as Colombo Street crosses into Sydenham, you’ll find Two Thumb Brewing Co.’s brewery and taproom.

Two Thumb Brewing Company on Manchester

The dark interior of a large warehouse bar.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

Everyone needs a good local pub in their lives, a place you can go with a relaxed atmosphere, where you are guaranteed to run into a few mates and, most importantly, enjoy a...

Cleavers Corner, Ashburton

A fake green wall inside a large restaurant.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Cleavers Corner is the locals' go-to in Ashburton.

Eruption Brewing

The front counter inside Eruption Brewing in Lyttelton.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Located on the main drag of the harbourside township of Lyttelton, Eruption Brewing is a destination for good beer, good food and good vibes.

Castro’s Tapas & Bar

The inside of Castro's restaurant in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Named after its owner-operator and chef extraordinaire Richard Castro, this Riverside Market top-floor restaurant is an experience not to be missed.

Nikkei

Coloured lamp shades hanging down over tables and chairs at Nikkei.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Home of Christchurch's only Japanese Peruvian fusion restaurant, Nikkei is a unique foodie destination.

Downstairs Bar

Image of the bar with bar stools with big feature lighting above the bar.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

What do you get when you marry the cosy vibes of an intimate pub with the sophistication of an inner city wine bar? You end up with the best of both worlds and the result is Downstairs on New Regent Street.

Sumner Social

Outdoor seating area at Sumner Social, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

The arrival of Sumner Social warrants high fives all around because, at last, the coastal suburb has a top-notch bar and restaurant with ocean views.

Best of 2023: The Neatest Newcomers of Christchurch’s Food Scene

A large window looking into Kokomo cafe and restaurant in Christchurch.
Sandwich shops, spritz bars, the return of old favourites, churches converted into pubs and open fire cooking. This year was arguably one of the most exciting times to be dining out in Christchurch Ōtautahi, as we were treated to an influx of new cafés, delis, wine bars, pubs and restaurants. From flashy riverside venues to humble hidden gems, here are 17 notable newcomers who opened their doors in 2023.

The Old Vicarage

Coloured glass in the sunroom at The Old Vicarage, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Cafes key icon. Restaurants key icon.

The Old Vicarage is exactly that, the former home of the Vicars from St Mary’s Church in Halswell.

Paddy McNaughton's

Exterior of Paddy McNaughton's, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

Paddy McNaughton's is a pint-sized pub with Guinness and Magners on tap. It’s the closest thing to a Dublin pub this side of the equator. Live music every week.

Austin Club

Austin Club green neon sign.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

If you like your bars secret, check out Austin Club tucked in a basement, down an alleyway. Oh, and you'll need the password, too.

Six Ounces

Avi pouring a glass of wine at Six Ounces, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Cafes key icon.

There’s nothing quite like a cosy neighbourhood haunt and six ounces is exactly that.

Pink Lady

Close up of cocktail on a table.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

At the corner of Manchester Street and High you’ll find Muse Art Hotel, while at the top of the hotel, you’ll find Pink Lady.

The Last Word

Close up of liquor bottles on a shelf.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

Prepare to be charmed by The Last Word’s relaxed, friendly environment and impressive drinks offering

Exploring The Terrace: An Insider’s Guide

Buildings lined up alongside a river on a sunny day.
Unearth the hidden gems of Christchurch Ōtautahi's most vibrant dining and entertainment precinct. Just a stone's throw from the picturesque Avon River, The Terrace is a hub where authenticity meets creativity, a meeting point for the intimate and the avant-garde.

Midnight Shanghai

Interior of Midnight Shanghai, a modern Chinese restaurant on Oxford Terrace.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Midnight Shanghai offers Christchurch elevated, modern Chinese fare with karaoke, handcrafted cocktails and a menu designed for sharing.

Cellar Door

Row of wine tasting glasses outside on a table at Cellar Door in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

The Cellar Door focus is on approachable wine drinking, seasonal fare and free flowing conversation. It feels like your ‘local’ but has a distinctive, exciting element, sans pretentiousness.

Three Boys Brewery

Worker pulling a pint using large wooden handles.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Goods key icon.

Pop into Three Boys Brewery and fill a rigger, order a keg for that next bash or sit down and enjoy a cold one right here – there’s a comfy space upstairs to set down your tush and watch the brewers at work.

Canterbury Brewers' Collective

People sitting on chairs around the counter  at Canterbury Brewers Collective.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Goods key icon.

Canterbury Brewers’ Collective at Riverside Market is your CBD spot for takeaway brews, cold pints and free-flowing chat over which to find your new favourite pour.

gin gin

Woman pouring a cocktail at gin gin in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury Editor's Pick
Bars key icon.

gin gin's the spot whether you’re keen for an after work bevvie, a boogie, a place to host your own party, seriously good food, a night on the town, or some combination thereof.

Dux Central

Dux Central exterior, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

If bars could be left or right handed, Dux Central would be ambidextrous. There’s nothing this place can’t be.

The Birdwood

Customers eating breakfast at The Birdwood, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Cafes key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Much-loved neighbourhood cafe by day, knock-out contemporary Italian eatery by night – The Birdwood might just be the dream local hospo joint.

The Craft Embassy

Man ordering a beer at the bar at Craft Embassy.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

Great beer, great food, great views. Craft Embassy is the whole package and more.

Table For One: The Best Solo Dining Spots In The Garden City

Sardines on toast on a table.
Go on, free yourself.

OGB

A man pouring a cocktail at OGB in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

A speakeasy-style bar, OGB serves up an old-school approach to hospitality.

The Laboratory

Seating area with exposed brick wall.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

Offering an excellent range of craft beer, wood fired pizzas and tapas-style plates that are designed to be shared, this pub is a Lincoln local’s favourite.

Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn

A full bar inside the British-style pub.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury Editor's Pick
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Pomeroy’s has been the catalyst of the Christchurch craft beer scene for years, with its ever-changing blackboard showcasing over 31 beers on offer.

The Tannery

Plants lining the hall of The Tannery outside the plant shop.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Cafes key icon. Fashion key icon.

Prepared to be wowed by the sophisticated one-stop-shop that is The Tannery.

Brew Moon Brewing Company

Close up of two burgers on a table at Brew Moon.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

An independent family-run craft beer brewery and pizzeria, the Brew Moon is a much-loved hospitality spot in Amberley.

Boo's

Plated food and drink on the table at Boo's.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Inventive in its approach to dining, Boo's draws from the savant of comfort food: Southern American cuisine.

Seats in the City: Best Seats in Ōtautahi Christchurch

A big wooden building in the forest at Christchurch adventure park.
People watching and view gazing are among life’s small pleasures, and there’s nothing quite like walking into your favourite café and seeing the prime table empty and beckoning you. Now while this may seem like a bit of an exaggeration, anyone who has ever ended up seated by the bathroom or a swinging kitchen door will be nodding their heads in agreement.

Smash Palace

Lots of customers seating outside on tables.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury Editor's Pick
Bars key icon.

For the novelty of having your local beer served from the window of a bus, look no further than Smash Palace.

Civil and Naval

The building exterior of Civil and Naval in Lyttelton
Place Christchurch & Canterbury Editor's Pick
Bars key icon.

This Lyttelton spot offers a well thought-out sharing menu dotted with memorable plates along with excellent wine, beer and cocktails.