Bar hopping: Brickworks
Once upon a time, Christchurch's bars had a consistency of clientele. The city's suburban bars were generally for local people, with the city centre acting as a melting pot.
Merivale's bars were inhabited by men happy to show off shiny suits and shiny watches. Riccarton was full of students happy to show off a terrific ability to drink, and the city centre's bars were full of young girls happy to show off a lot of thigh, and, later in the evening, the contents of their stomachs.
The earthquake changed things and I reckon remaining bars became something of a collective. With the city centre gone, everyone had to try something different. And everywhere became a melting pot.
I've travelled 30 minutes in a cab to check out a bar in Woolston. Before February 22, I didn't even know where Woolston was.
These days, many Christchurch folks are more likely to travel around to check out a bar. With this spirit of discovery in mind, I hopped off to Brickworks, a bar at the foot of the Cashmere Hills.
A friend describes it as his "reliable local" and it is warm and inviting with a lovely brick fireplace (topped with a huge TV) breaking up the bar and restaurant areas.
But the ambience was damaged by over-bright lighting. Harsh lighting is for fast food restaurants at 2am, not bars lazily tumbling towards midnight.
There's a good selection of bar food, beer and wine and there are themed nights (curry and pint; ribs and wedges; roasts; steak).
The restaurant offers a selection of inviting looking salads, entrees, meat dishes, and desserts but this is a bar review so we went for the bar menu, which includes a curry, fish and chips, a pork burger, breads, and deep fried potato variants.
A $8.50 warm loaf, served with garlic and rosemary butter, was simple but nevertheless tasty and all I want when eating in a bar. We'd ordered a Devil's Staircase Pinot Noir ($10) and a Lake Chalice sauvignon blanc ($8.50) from the bar and later in the evening, although tempted by the Guinness tap, I ordered a Speight's Old Dark, which is a ridiculously good mainstream beer.
Christchurch may have changed, but the Brickworks feels like a local. It's homely, warm and a great place to enjoy a rugby match. But just not memorable enough to warrant a hike across town.
Monday to Thursday: 11am- 12am Friday to Saturday: 11am-1am Sunday: 11am-10pm 69 Centaurus Rd, Cashmere, Christchurch.