It's an exciting development, made all the more so by what it represents.
For those of us who used to hang out in the CBD, the Hop was one of the stalwarts: that delicious beer, that cozy snug at the back, those weird terra cotta benches in the courtyard with the bizarre sculpture and the embedded upside-down planters ... oh, and the chips. Ah, the Hop's hot chips.
The Hop was our local, our stand-by, our go-to favourite.
After our registry office wedding (a ceremony that took place above another former icon, Drexel's CBD), my husband and I walked down to the Hop, put some cash on the tab and invited our friends - and a few lucky strangers - for a beer.
The Hop escaped undamaged in September and December 2010; after my company was red-stickered from our Cashel Street location on Boxing Day, we shouted a few drinks at the Hop for the incredibly generous volunteers who helped us move.
The building managed to survive February okay, too, although their Poplar Lane location placed them right in the heart of the CBD Red Zone. But they managed to turn even that into a virtue, as described in the Beer for a Year blog.
When the brewers were eventually able to get back into the building and rescue their neglected Barley Wine, they found the extra six months in the tank had done all sorts of wonderful things to it.
They named it 'Red Zone Enigma' and bottled it for sale.
And guess what? It is FRICKEN delicious!! Not to detract from the serious tone of this post and go overboard with exclamation marks or anything... But Oh! My! God! ...It's the best barley wine I've ever tried."
You can see why the re-opening of the Hop is a special milestone in the Christchurch recovery.
As is the re-opening of C1, to be located in the former Alice in Videoland premises and currently scheduled for November 12.
(Sam Crofskey, the owner, is allowing Ministry of Awesome to have a sneak peek there the week prior, thanks, Sam!)
Last Saturday's LUXCITY, the launch event for the Festival of Transitional Architecture, marked a further milestone in our social and societal renewal.
Thousands of us thronged the streets, staring as much at the buildings - those that remain and those that are now mere architectural ghosts - as we did at the stunningly beautiful installations.
We also stared at each other, reminded of what it is like to be in a city with crowds of people, to be jostled and prodded, to enjoy the serendipity of bumping into friends and the discovery of new entertainments and refreshments at every turn.
That sense of re-learning what it means to live in a city together is perhaps what makes the feeling in Christchurch so unique right now.
We are all wide-eyed children, actively experimenting with our urban experience.
As with children, in some cases this experimentation has gone dismayingly, depressingly badly - but in others, it has generated a whole new way of approaching our city and our roles in it, a whole new way of delighting in each other and in our environment, an embracing of creativity so profound that Lonely Planet had no choice but to put the post-apocalyptic deconstruction zone we call a city in its Top Ten places to visit.
Thanks for being awesome.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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