The last two years have not been kind to the Port Hills, but Sumner, nestled in their rugged embrace, has managed to hold on to its simple summer charm.
It's still a sparkling oasis of sun, sea, sand, and surf but now there's a troop of colourful shipping containers acting as custodians.
My last visit to Sumner was on December 23 last year. It was terrifying. Almost a year on, I went back for the first time, to Clink Bar and Restaurant, an attractive location in the shadow of the hills.
Clink is rich, homely, adorned with stone and leather and a rustic courtyard.
It's surrounded by hedges, hanging baskets and trees and it brews up memories of a quiet bar on the Amalfi coast.
A glass of Tiki Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($11), was a perfect wine for a leisurely Sunday afternoon. The lovely partner preferred Aspall's Peronelles Blush, a superb berry cider from the UK.
When it was time for cocktails, the "Hillside Strangler" ($12) stood out above all the other daftly named beverages.
Seriously, a cocktail of Tia Maria, lime and Stoke Ginger Beer?
But it was etched with a bite of ginger and was tangy and refreshing. Awesome.
The bar menu includes marinated sicilian olives, flatbread, pork and fennel meatballs, salt and pepper squid, and pricier pizzas. A "homemade" ciabatta - wonderfully light - came out with a tasty selection of dips.
It's easy to be negative about Christchurch. It's particularly easy standing on the sixth floor of an inner city building looking down at the fields of grey desolation.
A simple afternoon in Sumner can make you think differently. With a legion of shipping containers at its doors, Clink offers up reminders of just how much the village, the city, all of us have been through.
But it's summer, and Christchurch still has much to offer.
29 Wakefield Ave, Sumner, Christchurch
Monday to Sunday from 5pm
Friday to Sunday from noon
- © Fairfax NZ News