Where to Dine Outside in Christchurch
Ahh, the glorious joys of a lazy afternoon lunch, cocktail in hand, sitting in the summer sun. Christchurch is celebrated as the garden city after all, and relishing in the hidden verandas, patios, and balconies are summer’s sweetest pleasures. Our friends at Neat Places have been on the hunt for the top inner city spaces to dine al fresco.
A true Christchurch institution, Smash Palace is the place to be on a sunny day. When the owner’s original pub fell down during the earthquakes, they decided to open another place, so people could gather and be a part of the new Christchurch. Smash Palace is that place, essentially a bus bar parked in a courtyard, serves up delicious burgers and a rotating tap list. Although the area surrounding is now being redeveloped, the location allows for patrons to take a step back into time, post-earthquake, and watch the city rebuild. As if you needed another reason to go, they also host dance parties (to a wide selection of records) in the courtyard on weekends. You’re welcome.
The Craft Embassy
If you want to see what The Terrace is all about but aren’t ready to get amongst the hubbub, we suggest an outdoor table on Craft Embassy’s balcony. You’ll look down from your sheltered (great for a rainy day!) spot onto The Terrace’s most popular spots, offering a safe distance to people watch with a craft pint. We highly suggest settling in for a session - their rotating taps are sure to make any beer aficionado swoon.
If you don’t know where Smokey T’s is, just follow the smell of BBQ to the edge of the city. From there, let your tastebuds guide you on what to order (pro tip: everything) and then find a spot at their upstairs bar, offering a unique view of the Port Hills. If there’s a better way to enjoy a heaping plate of BBQ, we don’t want to know about it.
The Astro Lounge is the perfect place to settle into after-work drinks on a Friday. Soak in the live music, fairy lights, and cushy couches, all while perusing the extensive drinks list. This secluded courtyard in the Arts Centre is flanked by large trees and greenery, making you feel miles away from the city centre.
OGB sits opposite the Cathedral and is a beacon of live music, speak-easy style drinks, and high-class service in an oft-forgotten city corner. Their large patio features heaters and blankets for chillier nights, but if there is live music or a warm breeze, be sure to get there early - those seats fill up fast!
The Last Word
Located on New Regent Street, The Last Word is an impressive whisky bar with an equally impressive and knowledgeable staff. From their mid-century modern furniture to their cosy, just-like-grandma’s knitted blankets, the extensive whisky menu (and plenty of other libations!) won’t be the only thing keeping you warm. The street front spot allows you to people watch and be a part of all the action.
A place made for the sunny summer days, Riverside Market leaves you spoiled for choice with outdoor spaces. Enjoy the rooftop views and modern Chinese eats from Midnight Shanghai, or park yourself at the picnic tables for a feast from El Quincho or Herba Gourmet. For scenery that will make you feel like you’re in the centre of a major city, look no further than a spot in the brick alleyways while chowing down on a Shaka Bros burger, we swear the scenery will make you feel like you’re in the centre of a major city.
The perfect place to meet up and savour a drink in the city, Fiddlesticks offers great views of the Art Gallery and plenty of opportunities for people watching. With outdoor seating spilling out onto Worcester, you’ll enjoy the sights of Christchurch’s tram, all while sipping from an extensive wine list.
Cosy, historic, and sophisticated, it’s hard not to instantly fall in love with Cellar Door. Nestled into the historic Arts Centre, you’ll sip and dine amongst heritage brick buildings and gaze out into the grass courtyard. With a wine list several pages long and a menu that’ll make a Michelin starred chef blush, we can’t think of a single reason why you’d only have one drink.