Raise a glass to Volstead
We have done the rounds, checked the reviews, added up the points and name Volstead Trading Company as the Best Bar for Zest Food Awards 2014. Nine other finalists are also to be congratulated.
VOLSTEAD TRADING COMPANY, 03-343 6688, 55 RICCARTON RD
This is the bar you take your out- of-town mates to as a demonstration of how cool you are. It's got vintage couches, killer bar snacks and a moody laid back vibe. Volstead, soon to be turning three, is all about craft beer (and cider) and they certainly demonstrate the passion with an endless range of regular beverages and guest list adventures. Co-owner Pete Henderson says since they bought the place a year ago, they've doubled the tap and hand pull beers and the bottle range. These days, they're urban cool meets beers in the sun on a paisley lazyboy, seven days a week. Henderson says the win is an honour and a reflection of the team's hard work. "We like to think of ourselves as a craft beer sanctuary." Volstead, complete with beef fries and friendly, super-knowledgeable staff, is the place to be this summer. Somewhere "non-pretentious".
DRAGONS DEN SOCIAL LOUNGE, 03-366 3338, 357 COLOMBO ST
They're a newcomer to the bar scene but Dragons Den is ticking all the boxes. Ladies, you can dress up - really dress up. Guys, bring your A-game. This is a place for slick platters of bar food and a glass of wine with your girlfriends (or boyfriends). The bartenders are top notch and the decor is fanciful (Asia-inspired murals) but stylish, a true nightlife spot for the discerning drinker.
FIDDLESTICKS RESTAURANT AND BAR, 03-365 0533, 48 WORCESTER ST
A glass of bubbly and a plate of fried chicken goes down a treat at Fiddlesticks. Whether you're after that long work lunch or a wind down after a long week, Fiddlesticks will take care of you. The bar decor is corporate elegance and efficient service and the perfect spot for impressing those hard-to-impress socialites. It's warm, friendly and professionally polished.
POMEROY'S OLD BREWERY INN, 03-365 1523, 292 KILMORE ST
Pomeroy's is a comfy pair of slippers after a long week. A cold beer slides over the bar and the staff stop by tables to refuel drinkers with free bread and cheese. It's hospitality-plus and cosy to boot. A true local and much-loved member of the Christchurch nightlife scene. Pomeroy's is the place you go, time and again, because it's just so good.
SMASH PALACE, 03-371 7496, 185 VICTORIA ST
Behind the graffiti canvas and parked-up motorbikes is a post- quake survival story, Smash Palace. Serving drinks straight out of an old bus and cheap burgers from a tiny kitchen, Smash Palace is catering to a crowd of bar lovers intent on a good time in the fresh air. Thankfully, the heaters and mini- outdoor rooms make up for the lack of proper walls and ceiling and the cheerful coloured lights set the mood.
THE BREWERY, 03-389 5359, 3 GARLANDS RD
Fancy some live music, woodfired pizza and a cool pint? The Brewery has you covered, pretty much any hour of the day. Set in the front of The Tannery, The Brewery is arguably the heart of the bustling new complex and attracts all sorts of live acts and performances to entertain its eager regulars. Perfect on a Sunday afternoon or a late Saturday night.
THE DIRTY LAND, 03-365 5340, 131 VICTORIA ST
TDL is a little corner of Christchurch where style, opulence and service coincide for a great night out and wicked cocktails. It's compact, classy and all about making your night memorable. The staff are a cut above and TDL is the perfect venue for adding a few more to your social circle. If you're hungry, the tacos come direct from Mexicano's. Make no mistake, the cocktails pack a punch!
THE INSTITUTION, 28 NEW REGENT ST, NO PHONE NUMBER
Quaint and quirky, this is a bar delivering blackboard tables for drawing on alongside the best cheese board in Christchurch. The Institution rocks the after work drinks crowd like no other and with it's cosy venue location above New Regent St shops, keeps the atmosphere intimate and friendly. The Insitution is another craft beer kingdom but they also serve good wines and cocktails. Pop upstairs for a little evening tipple.
THE MONDAY ROOM, 03-377 5262, 367 MOORHOUSE AVE
Late night drinks have never been so classy thanks to The Monday Room. Inside, it feels like a posh gentleman's club with a whimsical bent. There's carpet on the walls, the fire is on and the staff are busy whipping up delicious cocktails behind the bar. They're known for their DJ sets and intimate nights out for those after something a little bit special.
THE TWISTED HOP, 03-943 4681, 616 FERRY RD
Formerly of Poplar Lane, now of Woolston, The Twisted Hop is a character pub with impeccable service. Craft beer in Christchurch can chart its beginnings back to The Hop and owner Stephen Hardman continues to run it with the passion he has for his front and centre product - beer. Sit back in a booth, surrounded by polished wood and impassioned beer- related chatter, and enjoy an evening chatting with mates over a bowl of nachos.