9 New Discoveries in Ōtautahi

View of shelves with produce at Frances Nation Grocer.

After all that 2020 has been, we couldn’t be happier to welcome this new crew of hospitality venues to Ōtautahi.

Words by: Olivia Sisson


While summer doesn’t technically start until the 21st, long days and the need for a holiday are well and truly here. Our centre city’s iconic flower beds have all seemed to pop in the last week and a host of new hospitality spots have emerged alongside them - or are just about to. From outdoor dining, to handcrafted sundowners, to NZ made food and bev - these small businesses are exactly what this summer, in particular, requires. They celebrate this city, its people and what they produce and remind us that summering here and supporting local is, after all, quite a special way to spend the season. Not just one but two rooftop bars are amongst the new kids on the block and after all that 2020 has been, we couldn’t be happier to welcome this crew to Ōtautahi.

Frances Nation Grocer

The Arts Centre Ground Floor, Christchurch Central

Head to The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora to experience specialty food made here, and only here, in Aotearoa New Zealand. After opening on Tuesday, this wee shop has already won our hearts with the same commitment to NZ made that’s given Frances Nation its good name over the years. The home and lifestyle shop is still located upstairs but now the scent of freshly baked bread, just brewed coffee and other delights waft up the stairs from below. At Frances Nation Grocer you can grab a flatwhite (or whatever your go to is), lunch and do a quick shop, too. They stock an array of locally produced pantry items like cheese, eggs, honey, jams, bottled fruits, flour, vinegar, olive oil - all of the little things that can elevate your home cooking in no time flat. The tidy shelves and colourful products are a joy to explore and make beautiful, thoughtful gifts, too. You’ll also find Kiwi faves here like fresh fruit ice cream and picnic-ready options. So pop in, choose a few treats and take them across the road to the Botanic Gardens for a uniquely local afternoon.

Image provided by Frances Nation Grocer 

Pink Lady Rooftop

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Level 7/159 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central

 Welles Street, Bottle and Stone and Earl have a few things in common. They’re tried and true CBD favourites and they all happen to be the work of the hospo geniuses at Eastblock Hospitality Group. Enter Pink Lady, the newest addition to the already stellar lineup, a rooftop CBD bar that’s bound to become another go-to. Perched atop The Muse Art Hotel, Pink Lady caught our eye several months ago when four palm trees went airborne (with a bit of help from a crane) to land on this top story deck. These breezy trees are symbolic of what Pink Lady is all about - laid back days in the sun paired with quality cocktails and quality mates. This spot is perfect for a spritz, tap beer or whatever bevvie takes your fancy. In keeping with the summer time vibes Pink Lady’s menu is inspired by the fresh produce, flavours, climate and energy of places like Baja, California. If this sounds like a bit of you, head along to Pink Lady this weekend - she’s already open.

Image from @pinklady_rooftop

Austin Club

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Basement Bar 236 High Street, Christchurch Central

O.G.B has been crowned ‘Bar of the Year’ for quite a few years running but they’re not done yet. The team have recently revealed Austin Club - a late night saloon, High Street Club and the new CHCH underground. While this spot isn’t open just yet we have it on good authority that it’s a long way down, oak paneled, has solid rimu doors and an American ash wood bar top. With “brass here and bronze there” the interior alone, much like O.G.B, is sure to be stunning with an environment, and sense of time all its own. While there’s still a bit to be uncovered about this underground spot, proprietor Nick Inkster has confirmed that there will be a house band led by local musician and leader of The Eastern, Adam McGrath. Based on what we know so far, this only makes sense as Adam’s barrelling baritone and soulful range would make the perfect soundtrack for the post war 1946 theme we’re envisioning. Follow along on social media for opening date info. As Nick put it, Austin Club will be, “representative of an almighty era of celebration - when all enjoyed the reward of the hard yards gained those years prior.” 

Image provided by Austin Club

gin gin

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92 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central

 We’ve been missing gin gin since their cosy Victoria Street bar shut for relocation earlier this year. Luckily their New Regent Street spot, gin gin’s second iteration, is nearly here. Gin will, of course, remain at the core of this lovable, local business but with more physical space to work with, a kitchen, an upstairs and a downstairs the potential this new venue has feels limitless and exciting. The new gin gin will even have it’s own exclusive house pour handcrafted by their mates at Curiosity Gin located in Sydenham. If you went to their Victoria Street closing do - you’ll know that a lot of other people are just as excited as we are to check out gin gin’s new form. gin gin’s reopening plus a few other changes on New Regent Street has the row poised to become one of the city’s most unique pockets of nightlife. 

Image from @ginginchristchurch

Arbour Woodfire Pizza

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17 Oxford Street, Lyttelton, Christchurch

With craft beer, Asian fusion, pub eats, coffee shops, a co-op and more - Lyttelton’s hospitality scene is already quite vibrant. Arbour Woodfired Pizza, set to open any day now, is ready to kick things up a notch even further. Even Arbour’s space has a local story behind it. The building has a clear roof and feels like a giant glass house, the bar is a repurposed 120 year old Lyttelton fish boat and the whole space is full of indoor greenery. The woodfired oven will be the star of the show and all of the pizzas will be made almost entirely from scratch. Toppings will follow the seasons and be sourced from around the harbour basin and greater Canterbury. Arbour’s dedicated pizza chefs bring years of woodfired experience with them and are prepared to make the most of the incredible array of ingredients we have at our fingertips here in CHCH. On top of all of this the team is also raising their own pigs for speciality cured meats down the track. Arbour will be home to pizzas you simply can’t get anywhere else.

Image provided by Arbour Woodfired Pizza


The Crossing, Christchurch Central

Inati had a great night at the 2020 Canterbury Hospitality Awards taking home Emerging Front of House and Outstanding Chef. On the back of this owner operators, Simon and Lisa Levy, announced the opening of Hali, a concept that’s sure to feature the same level of commitment to flavour and service. This new bar bistro in The Crossing will be a place to enjoy fine bistro dining but with a side of relaxed sophistication. With funky cocktails, boutique wines, a splash of the ocean and a taste of the land we simply can’t wait to check it out. If you really can’t wait to get a look at Hali plan to dine at Inati soon, they’ve recently added a sleek lounge to the restaurant which is an excellent spot for an elegant cocktail with a friend, a first date or a pre-dinner drink. If you’ve not sat at the chef’s table before and watched Simon and the team work their magic, we absolutely recommend it for any and all foodies.

Image provided by Hali 

Mr. Brightside

Level 4 152 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch

The Public Trust Building and this rooftop bar concept along Oxford Terrace were under wraps (literally and figuratively) for quite a while. As the scaffolding came down, this heritage building's stunning facade, coat of arms and massive windows were revealed once again after being fully restored. At the very top you’ll find Mr. Brightside a rooftop bar with views of Durham Street and the Avon River below. This spot has an indoor outdoor feel with a retractable roof for outdoor dining and drinking regardless of weather making it an ideal spot for the best summer days as well as the inbetween ones, too.

Image from @mrbrightsiderooftopbar


Sockburn, Christchurch

Bacon Brothers got their start at the farmers’ market. Eight years and two central city locations later - Little High and Shaka Bros at Riverside Market - the Bros still haven’t forgotten their roots. You can still find the team at Riccarton Bush every Saturday morning slinging the super juicy, generously sized burgers that have won them such a loyal following over the years. Just last week the team announced that they’re branching out into the world of beer and barbeque. BEERS is set to open in February 2021 with fresh, small batch beer plus BBQ meats cooked low and slow on their custom built, Flaxton Iron barbecuing set-up. We can’t think of a better team to execute the burgers, beers and BBQ combination.

Image provided by BEERS 

Two Thumb Brewing Co. and others at The Yard

173 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central

The Yard has popped back up just in time for summer with plenty of excellent food and drink options. Local craft beer masters, Two Thumb Brewing Co., are leading the charge and hope to bring great beer (obviously), live gigs, casual eats and new energy to this iconic CBD space. So head on down grab a beer and get some food from other local businesses who also call The Yard home like Ceylon Kitchen, Kung Fu Dumplings, Nanny’s Food Truck and Billy Jack's.

Image from @twothumbtheyard

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Coffee Embassy

Outdoor Coffee Embassy signage on a brick wall.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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This flagship café is the best place to try adventurous coffee coupled with house-made lunches and coffee accompaniments like their delicious doughnuts.

Herba Gourmet

A painted Herba Gourmet sign.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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If you thought fast food was served greasy treats, think again. Herba Gourmet has rethought street food to bring fresh, healthy, fine food to diners on the go.

South Town Club

Person squeezing lime on tacos from South Town Club.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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South Town Club is a sweet collab between the old owner’s Supreme and Dan Hobson, an absolute champion of top-notch hospitality.

Canterbury Brewers' Collective

People sitting on chairs around the counter  at Canterbury Brewers Collective.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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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.