8 Café and Restaurant Interiors that will set your heart aflutter in Ōtautahi

Interior view of gin gin feature green and pink contrast archway.

Forget Pinterest, head to these Christchurch spots for major mood board inspo.

Words by: Kelly Tapper

Photography by: Nancy Zhou

When it comes to interiors we love a spot with a unique, memorable and even a bit quirky, fit-out. Naturally, we’re suckers for heritage buildings, beautiful interiors, good design and great curation, and we’ve put together some of our favourite places to admire;

Seven

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Level 7/159 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Wholly deserving of a place on this list is Seven, a must-visit on the Ōtautahi hospo scene. Located on the seventh floor of the Muse Art Hotel, the space is achingly chic with its dark-hued wood, dusky cream leather booths and exposed concrete walls. Geometric lighting and sleek furniture are reminiscent of the mid-century design we do so appreciate. And to top it all off, you’ll see panoramic views across the city out to the port hills. Heavenly.

Austin Club

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Basement Bar 236 High Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

From dizzying heights to a subterranean speakeasy, Austin Club on High Street is next on our list. The intimate bar exudes a mysterious, clandestine vibe that’s only enhanced by its interior design. Bask in the moody ambience made possible by the low wood-panelled ceiling, art deco inspired lighting, vintage artworks and midnight coloured drapery. A green neon sign emblazoned with “Austin Club” acts as a retro reminder of where you find yourself. Everything has been perfectly considered and the result is a late-night bar you won’t want to leave.

Saturdays

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195 Marine Parade, New Brighton, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Describing Saturdays’ interior is a bit like describing a tub of goody goody gumdrops. A kaleidoscope of pastel colours adorns the walls, table and exposed fixtures to create a joyful (and very stylish) aesthetic. The polished concrete floor adds a utilitarian and contemporary feel that juxtaposes cleverly with the colour. Dimension comes from an embellished counter with a quirky zig-zag pattern made from baby pink and jade green ceramic tiles. Their La Marzocco coffee machine got the memo too, decked out in a suitably appropriate colourway of purple and blue.

Child Sister

277 Manchester Street, Christchurch

Child Sister’s interior was designed by Sydney-based architect-turned-furniture-designer Jun Kim. The interior is a celebration of the building's natural form with minimalist white walls, exposed beams and large windows allowing natural light to pour in. An L-shaped rust coloured bench seat adds a pop of colour, with iconic Marcel Breuer chairs and white metal stools interspersed around. A curved wooden counter adds shape and functionality to the centre of the space which is otherwise a giant-sized box. Unshowy and effortlessly cool.

Interior view of Child Sister with tree in concrete planter and customers dining.

Arbour Woodfire Pizza

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17 Oxford Street, Lyttelton, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Arbour Woodfire Pizza is undeniably in “port”. An old Lyttelton fishing boat – adorned with cast iron mermaid – has been reclaimed and repurposed as a centrepiece bar. This bespoke seafaring vessel makes the space feel cosy and familiar. The architectural design, by Catherine Ellen Goodwin, is thoughtful and modern evoking a sort of wooden greenhouse. The clear roof offers tons of natural light, there’s a jungle of indoor plants and a covetable industrial lighting arrangement. The pizzas are out-of-this-world too.

Gatherings

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5/2 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

Somewhat modest in appearance, Gatherings’ interior is like a fine wine that gets better with age. An eclectic mix of memorabilia and wine bottles can be found dotted around the room serving as mementos to the many collabs and events the restaurant has hosted. They act like a sort of nostalgic memory lane; idiosyncratic and unique to Gatherings. We love the paired back arrangement and the incredible seasonal food. It’s a happy partnership alright.

Six Ounces

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178 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a botanical hothouse when crossing the threshold into Six Ounces on Papanui Road. The place is bursting at the seams with indoor plants, scattered high and low, pots on the ground and shelves all around. Their vintage furniture is punctuated amongst the greenery, and on the walls you’ll find charcoal line drawings created by the owner Lois’s mother, who lives in England. By dusk when the candles are lit, Six Ounces serves wine into the evening and truly encapsulates the feeling of hygge. 

gin gin

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4 New Regents Street, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury

The interior of gin gin on New Regent Street is exemplary. Blessed with swoon-worthy bone structure - in the form of Spanish Mission architecture - the rapture doesn’t end there. The space is elevated to another dimension with its clever palette of pastel and bold colours, textures and shapes. We love the undulating bench sitting, pendant lighting, arched doorways and playful whimsy. And we haven’t even mentioned the cocktails yet - they are excellent too. Well played, gin gin.

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Whisky Galore

Assistant helping customer at Whisky Galore.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury

Whisky Galore's commitment to providing New Zealand’s most unique whisky experience is beyond compare.

Black Estate

View out of window at Black Estate, North Canterbury towards vines.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
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A winery, tasting room and restaurant, Black Estate is famous not only for its organic and biodynamic wines but its refreshing approach to food.

Little High Lanes

View of a laneway with buildings on both sides.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars icon Cafes icon

Little High Lanes is an eclectic blend of food, fashion and industry.

Henry Trading

Anglepoise lamp with candles stocked on the shelves at Henry Trading, Lyttelton.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury

A must-visit spot brimming with homewares and more made by good people.