The best of the new Christchurch

Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013

The Press celebrates the best of the new Christchurch. To use our interactive graphic above click on each award to see our "winners" or read the full list in words below.

Best new bar/pub

Volstead Trading Co, Riccarton Rd

''Quietly fabulous,'' as one Press staffer puts it. Tucked away behind a gym and a sushi bar in a converted garage, it offers a fine range of craft beers, friendly staff, a decent menu (finally), and what can top giant roller doors for indoor-outdoor flow? Smugly tell your friends over a pint how the Volstead Act introduced Prohibition in the United States in 1919 and how the irony would be delicious if a thousand bars the world over hadn't had the same idea.

Best place for an over-60s night out

Hollywood Cinema, Sumner

Yes, youngsters go to the movies too, but not here. The Hollywood had cornered the pre-quake oldie market with its regular arthouse programme and discount deals with local restaurants, and has barely missed a beat in the past two years.
The claustrophobic foyer fills up quickly, giving even a half-sold matinee screening a sense of occasion. While we're on movies, filmgoers young and old should party like its 1999 and make the most of the $10 tickets at the Reading Cinema in The Palms Shopping Centre. Comfortably the cheapest in the city.

Best recovery story

Pedro Carazo

Disaster struck Pedro Carazo, the owner of Pedro's Spanish restaurant, two years ago when he lost his business, home and tragically his son, Christian, killed in the Canterbury Television building collapse. He was, understandably, ''a complete mess'', but vowed to stay on the city, even after the Government snapped up his Worcester St premises for its central-city blueprint.
Undaunted, Carazo beat the red tape to open Pedro's House of Lamb in a shipping container in the car park of a bottle store in October. Step forward and take a bow, Pedro, you have done your city proud.

Best place for a first date

The Monday Room, Moorhouse Ave

Always a tough category, as many people think the best place for a first date is the last place they went when they got lucky on a first date.
The Monday Room can't guarantee you a kiss instead of an awkward hug, but it sure is easier with tasty cocktails, a menu that puts in some effort and that rare breed of waiting staff who show up at your table and leave again at the right times, without being asked.
And all set to a super-cool house soundtrack (not too loud). Honourable mention in the best new bar category, too.

Best new event

LUXCITY

Who saw this one coming? Damn if a bunch of architecture students didn't make a disaster zone look mighty pretty for a night, using lights to imagine a rebuilt urban city centre in the red zone. Cantabrians jumped at the chance to be back in the heart of their city and for one night in October it was standing room only on many central streets. It's almost worth a go-slow by recovery workers to give us a sequel. LUXCITY II anyone?

Best new cafe

C1 Espresso

Plenty of options, but there can be only one arbitrary winner. While C1 technically isn't new, it has moved across the street from its old High St premises and given itself a makeover, so that's good enough for ifThe Press nf.
Decked out in amusement hall-chic, sporting a couple of vintage gaming machines, a bookcase sliding door, a Lamson tube for food orders, organic beehives and rooftop garden, C1 has made a decent play for owner Sam Crofskey's aim of ''the greatest coffee shop in the world''.
Lightning-quick service for coffees, usually a sign the barista's made a hash of it, happily means the opposite here.

Best new restaurant

King of Snake

The Press dearly wanted to give the nod to The Brewery in Woolston for ably spanning pizzeria, cafe, restaurant and music venue, but couldn't ignore the noise for Christchurch's hippest nightspot.
With a menu inspired by its pre-quake predecessors Indochine and Chinwag Eathai, the food is delicious, but save yourself for the cocktails. The combination of a King of Snake cocktail and the bar's purple La Muerte-inspired wallpaper will transport you to the land of the achingly hip without crossing into douchebag territory. 

Plus you've ventured down an alley to get there, so you're adventurous, too.

Best thing to stay the same

Hagley Park

No contest. The Earth beneath her shook, but our green lady didn't budge. Hagley is the beating heart no other New Zealand city has and we love her for it. A place of relaxation, refuge, gardens and golf. Perhaps, post-quake, we've realised just how special she is.
Would a pavilion, an embankment and half a dozen decent games of cricket here a year be the worst thing?

BEST GRIPES

Because who wants to be happy all the time?

The road to Sumner

OK, so there are worse horse tracks in the city, but not arterial ones. If you live, work or play east of the Estuary, you have no choice but to negotiate this travesty. And the Ferrymead bridge omnishambles will get worse before it gets better, too.

Roadworks in general

Seriously? Moorhouse Ave? Again? You just did that. We residents tip our caps to the men and women fixing the unprecedented damage to our infrastructure, but reserve the right to complain about every inconvenience.

Our obsession with tiny aftershocks

No story is as sure to rocket to the top of ''most read'' on press.co.nz as the one titled ''Aftershock rattles Chch''. A magnitude-3.1 tiddler masquerading as death and destruction, and we can't get enough of it. The slightest shake sends the GeoNet website into meltdown. One day we will reach the point where a tremor causes us to look up from our work, exchange a glance with the guy at the next desk and get back to what we were doing, but today is not that day.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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