Welcome to Eating & Drinking in Christchurch's East Block
The 'East Block' is home to many of Christchurch, Ōtautahi's best bars and restaurants. You will find a various range of cultures to meet every occasion.
Words by: Julia Rutherford
Photos by: Nancy Zhou
The vibrant development of the city centre’s ‘East Block’ is one of the many success stories of post-quake Christchurch, Ōtautahi. There’s a fresh, new energy in this part of town with a diverse range of bars and restaurants on the scene.
The East Block, which centres mainly around Lichfield and High Streets, has a venue to suit different vibes, occasions and palate preferences. From elegant and elevated dining spots to popular watering holes for after-work drinks to spots that celebrate cuisines from around the world.
Dinner with a view at Seven
Level 7/159 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Stepping off the elevator in the Muse Art Hotel building into Seven, you could be forgiven for thinking you have walked into a Manhattan hot spot. The vibe is Soho-chic, complete with mahogany hues, exposed concrete walls and pendant lighting. Bringing you back to reality (in the best way possible), are the stunning views of the city across to the Port Hills. It’s quite the panoramic tableau to accompany your dining experience. Speaking of, the food here is seasonal and exceptional and ‘plates between company’ is how the menu is marketed. Of course, no experience at Seven would be complete without enjoying a tipple from their incredible wine list or an expertly made cocktail.
Casual bistro dining at Earl
128 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Be wowed by Earl the second you walk through the door, it’s an Instagram, Pinterest, aesthetic dream. So much thought and care have gone into the interior details here, and it is this same thought and care that is carried over to the service and what comes out of the kitchen. This is the place to go for produce-driven, casual, quality bistro dining, not to mention a warm and inviting atmosphere. Earl is especially popular on their pasta and wine nights, where the menu focuses on two delicious pasta dishes to be paired with a glass of wine. Additional starters and sides feature too, alongside an always tempting dessert option. So keep an eye on their socials for this!
Experience welcoming hospitality at Smash Palace
172 High Street, Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Beloved bar and icon of the inner city rebuild, Smash Palace is a true Christchurch gem. This family-run business has a real community feel, with regulars and new faces all welcomed with warm hospitality. Head along on a Thursday when it’s bike night - a spectacle for those automotively-inclined. And for those that aren’t just occupy yourself with the beverages and food. The curated drinks list has something for every preference, and the burger menu is plentiful - try a different one every time you come! And if you’re just feeling a bit snacky, there’s sure to be something to take your fancy. If in doubt, go old school with a bowl of cheerios and tomato sauce.
Panoramic drinking at Pink Lady
Level 8/159 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
No matter the weather, when you are at the Pink Lady you will always feel like you are in the sunny scape of 1960s Baja California. This rooftop bar brings its A-game when it comes to providing summery vibes all year round - even on the most dreary of winter days. With 360-degree views of the city, it’s quite the spot to enjoy a cocktail or two with friends, and they really do nail the bar snacks. Rooftop Guacamole and Boujee Fries are pretty hard to beat in the snacking game.
Louisiana, French and South American influences at Soul Quarter
219 High Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
Cosy, chic, elegant. That’s Soul Quarter summed up in three words, and it of course deserves plenty more praise. Louisiana, French and South American influences are clearly on display in this elevated eatery. From the intimate setting complete with candlelight and ceilings to the seasonal dishes and fine wines. The bar is at the heart of the dining room, lit up and well-stocked to conjure up a variety of creative cocktails. So whether it’s date night or a celebration with friends bring your appetites and enjoy the ambience of Soul Quarter.
Dux Central - Slice of classic CHC with pizza, craft beers and a load of live music
144 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Christchurch & Canterbury
There really is something for everyone at Dux Central. After all, the venue beholds multiple bars - there’s the ground-level Brew Bar which stocks over 220 craft beers (can you believe!), then there’s the Emerald Room Gin Bar specialises in - you guessed it - gin, and there’s even a 1920s speakeasy cocktail lounge hiding next door. To top it all off, there’s an upstairs event space, plus plenty of seating both inside and out, making it the perfect spot to catch up with a group of mates. The food menu comes to the party here too, catering for all kinds of dietary needs and wants. Throw in regular live music performances, and it’s everything you could want in your favourite watering hole.
Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar - a taste of the Asian street food scene
144 Lichfield Street, Christchurch Central City
The mission is clear at Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar… to create legendary, world-class dumplings that blow people’s minds. Well, they sure are doing a stellar job at achieving this. Authenticity and seasonality are at the heart of everything the team do at Pot Sticker, from hand-making the dumpling dough every day, to focusing on using the freshest ingredients and coming up with interesting and tasty fillings. Dumplings are the namesake and hero menu items, but their dim sum and bao are also pretty up there in the deliciousness stakes!
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