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.

Words by: Julia Rutherford

Photos by: Nancy Zhou

LONDO

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Unit 6/2 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch

On the edge of the city centre on Papanui Road, you will find LONDO, a wine bar and restaurant that is tiny in size but certainly packs a punch. While known around town for their natural wine offering, this impressive two-person team also serves up some incredible cocktails, plus an ever-changing food menu celebrating local produce. Harry is responsible for mixing up the drinks and his skills lure in other bartenders and hospo workers from around the city. In one of the city's tiniest kitchens, Robert produces phenomenal food which landed him a Cuisine hat in 2023. We think it’s pretty clear that this is the spot to head to with your best mate or partner, share some dishes and have a drink shaken up.

Pink Lady

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Level 8/159 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Two words: Spectacular. Views. No other bar in the city centre can quite compete with the Pink Lady when it comes to providing 360-degree visuals of Ōtautahi, from the hubbub of town to the Port Hills to the coast. Found at the top of the Muse Art Hotel, this rooftop bar is buzzing with energy from early afternoon to the wee hours of the morning. Taking inspiration from both the Hamptons and Miami, their range of cocktails is on point and will suit whatever kind of mood you’re in – whether you’re meeting a friend for a cheeky drink after work or you’re looking for somewhere to kick off your night in style.

The Last Word

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Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

The Last Word on New Regent Street is a whiskey and cocktail lounge that is warm and inviting, with a cosiness that will make you feel right at home. With over 350 whiskeys lining the shelves The Last Word are experts when it comes to this spirit but they are also master cocktail creators and like to put their own spin on the classics. With an extensive cocktail list, we wouldn’t blame you if you have trouble making up your mind. Have a chat with one of the team and they’ll guide you to the right choice every time.

gin gin

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4 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

One of the prettiest places for a cocktail in the city is hands down gin gin on New Regent Street. If aesthetic vibes are one of your main criteria for picking where to go for a drink, then this is it. Not surprisingly based on the bar’s name, gin is the hero on the cocktail list and there are so many to choose from. Go classic with a variation on a G&T, try a seasonal creation or – if gin isn’t your cup of tea – you'll find plenty of other creations to suit your tastes. If you're feeling peckish, make sure to order some of their pizzettas or the cheeseboard.

Austin Club

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161 Cashel Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

If you are looking to be transported back in time to the prohibition era and the world of speakeasys, then make your way to Austin Club. Located in an alleyway between Cashel and High Street, step down to the basement and come prepared to give the password at the door (check out their socials as it changes monthly). With its moody lighting and low ceilings, the club is intimate and often has live music, stand-up comedy or a vintage film playing. Some of their cocktails are inspired by musical trailblazers and are unlike any you have come across before.

The Victoria Free House

779 Colombo Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

The Victoria Free House is a quintessential British-style pub and while its cocktail offering may be concise, there is an excellent pedigree behind that shortlist. Owner Luke Dawkins is the former co-owner of gin gin – so naturally, he's no stranger to a good cocktail. Growing up in the UK, his family owned a pub and The Victoria Free House is his opportunity to showcase what he holds dear to his adopted city of Christchurch. So if you love a pub atmosphere but still want an elevated cocktail this is the spot for you.

Rascal

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225 High Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

If you like to experiment with flavours and push your taste buds’ boundaries then you must immediately make plans to visit Rascal for some cocktails. Located on High Street in the city, this modern bistro is all about inventive food and drinks, with both the kitchen and bar staff embracing their creativity and producing some magical concoctions. If you need further convincing, one look at Rascal’s Instagram feed will have you 'oohing and aahing’ over their cocktail creations.

The Poplar Social Club

6 Poplar Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Found on Poplar Street and known as Dux Central’s little cousin, The Poplar Social Club embraces speakeasy vibes and is dedicated wholeheartedly to the art of the cocktail. While Dux Central next door is bustling with people, live music and big energy, The Poplar Social Club is perfect if you want a more intimate spot to enjoy a well-made cocktail or two.

OGB

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28 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

OGB is one of the city centre’s most popular after-work drinks spots – and for many good reasons. Located in one of the city’s remaining Neo-Renaissance buildings from the 1900s, the bar oozes charm and style. Whether you choose to find a cosy spot inside or revel in the sun-drenched tables outside, the atmosphere is always spot-on at OGB. Most importantly, the cocktail list caters for all palates here. The bartenders are expert mixologists – even offering cocktail masterclasses if you are looking to indulge your love of cocktails further.

Midnight Shanghai

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101/96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

If you find yourself at Riverside Market and the need for a cocktail arises, head upstairs to Midnight Shanghai. Specialising in elevated modern Chinese cuisine, they are also well known for their ability to shake up some amazing cocktails. They even have some dessert cocktails, so for those with a sweet tooth, this is the spot for you. Enjoy your drinks (and some people-watching) out on the balcony – and after a few cocktails, you may feel brave enough to try one of Midnight Shanghai’s karaoke rooms.

Monarch

Level 1/79 Cashel Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

The Terrace is a destination for food, drinks and good times in the city centre. One of the finest spots to go for a cocktail along here is Monarch, found inside the renowned King of Snake restaurant. With an opulent and luxe interior, great views looking out across the Terrace from the balcony and a cosy fire on chilly days, there's no better spot to enjoy a creative cocktail. Tasting notes accompany each cocktail, so even if you’re not quite sure of all the ingredients you can be guided by your taste bud preferences. Monarch also offers a selection of flavour-packed bar snacks, or you can move next door to King of Snake for a bigger meal.

Kong

76 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Another popular spot along The Terrace is cocktail lounge Kong, the experts when it comes to mixing up the perfect drink and delivering a sophisticated environment to enjoy them in. There is something to tempt everyone in your group, from the classics to signature specialties to cocktail flights for those who can't make up their mind. Options and plenty of them are what Kong does best!

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Bessie

A table setting at Bessie, Christchurch's steak house.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Dark, a little brooding and faultless in its theme, Bessie is an immaculate display of fine dining in the inner city.

The Mediterranean Food Company

View of the outdoor dining area and brick courtyard under the shade sail at The Mediterranean Food Company, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Cafes key icon. Goods key icon. Restaurants key icon.

 Down the industrial eastern end of Tuam Street in an old brickery is a secluded slice of Italy.

Akin Café

A man working on a laptop in a brightly lit cafe.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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Akin is as clean-cut as a café can be.

The Rabbit, Ashburton

A man and woman standing in the entrance of The Rabbit restaurant, cafe and bar in Ashburton.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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The Rabbit is an exciting eatery in the heart of The Triangle in Ashburton.