New nightlife hotspot emerges

WILL HARVIE
Last updated 05:00 24/06/2013
Christchurch bar
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

BOOMING: Cafe Valentino owner Michael Turner says business is good at his new location in St Asaph St, Christchurch.

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A new city hotspot is developing in St Asaph St and bar owners says it could become a hub for nightlife in Christchurch.

There are currently three bars-restaurants on St Asaph between Colombo and Durham streets - The Irishman, The Baretta Hospitality Company and long-time Christchurch favourite Cafe Valentino.

At least two more bars are understood to be under development in the block and there are other buildings in the area that could become hospitality venues.

"Business is fine and we're full most nights," said Cafe Valentino owner Michael Turner.

"These premises are not quite as large as the old place, but nicer," he said.

Cafe Valentino used to be located on Colombo St, near the Town Hall, and serves mostly pizzas, pastas and New Zealand cuisine.

Baretta too is doing solid business, said director Gregor Ferguson. The recently opened bar, restaurant and nightclub offers mostly pizzas and sharing plates. It has a large outdoor area and Ferguson has recreated Veto, a onetime Sol Square bar, out the back.

The Irishman is an Irish pub serving pints and and sports on TV, with many gigs at night. It sits within the southern frame - part of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's CBD blueprint for the central city recovery.

The cluster contains the only two bars in Christchurch with 3am closing times, Baretta and The Irishman. (Christchurch Casino also has a late licence.)

Turner has a 1am licence, but said: "I'm happy to be gone by midnight."

"We could do it . . . turn it into a destination precinct," said Ferguson.

There's no name yet, although Turner has heard people use "the St Asaph strip".

"We'd like to see Christchurch flourish. A lot of businesses left the city and it's nice to jump back in."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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