Bar hopping: King of Snake

HERE TO STAY: King of Snake is tucked away in Victoria St.
HERE TO STAY: King of Snake is tucked away in Victoria St.

Tucked away in Victoria St, King of Snake is a little difficult to find, but is it worth looking for?

First impressions were positive. Through the window, King of Snake looked busy, shockingly so for a Tuesday night.

Inside, the restaurant, which takes up most of the space, was full of uncommonly dapper people - polished young men in crisp shirts and pretty women in going-out dresses. On a Tuesday night!

The bar itself is tucked back from the bustling restaurant.

It's small, but every centimetre is jammed with gaudy characters and, for what may be a first in my history of bar reviewing, I must mention the wallpaper.

King of Snake's purple skull paper is showy, borderline vulgar, but mix it with the rich beige seats, mirrors and sparkling decor, and it's dramatic and memorable enough to include in a 500-word review.

There are only a handful of tables, but a few bar stools.

Nearby, two young businessmen and woman colleagues shouted at each other.

In one corner, a group overflowing with peculiarities chatted quietly.

In another, a girl with nose piercings and wearing a crocheted T-shirt sat alongside a man whose face was more moustache than face, and an elderly gentleman.

"This could be the only bar in town where you see a greying middle-aged man in a leather jacket," my companion offered.

A bartender, dressed in jet black, greeted us.

And it was onto the booze. There's beer, there's plenty of wine and there's liquor, but the cocktail menu is the star of the show.

The signature cocktail, King of Snake, was first up - a gingery, spiky sensation, full of heat and flavour and very sippable.

Then an Orange Infused Tommy, a fruitier slushy with tequila, lime juice and chilli-infused agave.

When my companion finished her Pink Greyhound, a girly but invigorating combination of vodka, pink grapefruit juice and torn lime leaves, she saw fit to tell me, 'This would be a great place for a first date'."

We had "small bites": deep-fried rice balls, chicken wings and edamame beans from the main menu, but the staff were happy to serve us at the bar.

Everything was quite above average for bar food.

King of Snake is not cheap. Drinking beer is one thing, but doing a round of cocktails is something else entirely.

My lighter wallet aside, King of Snake is quite different from most other bars I've reviewed.

The bar feels tacked onto the restaurant.

It is almost like an afterthought, but it's so unique in Christchurch it is a shame it's not larger.

It's new, but it's not temporary. It's different, but it's not made of containers and cardboard.

It's exciting, but not makeshift. It's the kind of bar that will stay.


145 Victoria St (behind Belle Interiors)

Mon-Fri, 8am-late Sat-Sun, 4pm-late

The Press