NZ travel: Six of the best bars in Christchurch to get cozy in this winter

Set in the historic School of Art building in the Arts Center (Te Matatiki Toi Ora) Cellar Door is a fabulous place to taste wine, chat and share a bite. Photo / Supplied

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The temperatures are dropping and if you’re heading south it’s probably worth packing a few layers, especially if you’re from the North Island, where – let’s face it – we’re all a bit wimpier.

But merino and jackets aren’t the only way to stay warm in a city; one of the best ways to ensure you don’t catch a chill is to hole up somewhere toasty, preferably with a glass of something wonderful and tasty bites to accompany it.

If you’re heading to Christchurch this definitely won’t be a problem – cozy spots abound, and you’ll be truly spoiled for choice. Here are a few local favorites.

Eliza's Manor is an old Christchurch home dating back to 1861, recently restored and reopened as a hotel, bar and restaurant.  Photo / Supplied
Eliza’s Manor is an old Christchurch home dating back to 1861, recently restored and reopened as a hotel, bar and restaurant. Photo / Supplied

Miro

Miro is a regular for many Christchurch locals and for good reason. Right by the river, it’s in one of the few heritage buildings left in Ōtautahi (originally built in 1934). It’s all high ceilings and roaring fires – two – and is a big favorite for brunch.

If you are lucky, you can nab the gorgeous turquoise armchairs right by the fire and have a coffee, a bloody mary or even a glass of bubbles with your mid-morning indulgence. Locals love the brunches here as there are interesting choices, such as pumpkin churros and smoked brisket, as well as more traditional options like eggs benedict. Order the brunch board if you can’t make up your mind.
miro.nz

Cellar Door

Set in the historic School of Art building in the Arts Center (Te Matatiki Toi Ora) Cellar Door is a fabulous place to taste wine, chat and share a bite. It’s a space dear to many locals as it was Annie’s Wine Bar from 1992 until the earthquakes-and new owners Tim and Kate have vowed to keep her spirit di lei alive by making it a place where people always feel truly welcome.
Pull up a pew in the afternoon and check out their incredibly clever wine flights – grouped in fascinating ways. Combos like four gamays, four North Canterbury pinots, four biodynamic wines, four Mediterranean reds, four aromatic whites, four black sheep (lesser-known varieties) and other unique curations.

As winter hits, there’s nothing cosier than a flight of sultry reds and warm local sourdough with a good chunk of something fabulous from their cheese list (local and international from Canterbury Cheesemongers and Maison Vauron). They also do bigger meals if you’re feeling more peckish.
cellardoor.nz

Pomeroy’s Old Brewery Inn

Anyone who has visited, or lived in, the UK will know the joys of a good British pub – and Pomeroy’s recreates that pretty damn well despite being 18,000km from England. Patterned carpet, comfy leather sofas, checked curtains, exposed brick and a good selection of ales – if it weren’t for the Kiwi accents you could almost imagine you’re in Manchester, Newcastle or London.

There’s nowhere cosier at night when the lights are dimmed and the stained-glass lamps glow over you and your friends and glasses of Three Boys English IPA, Cassels English Bitter or Pomeroy’s own Porter. There’s a great range of New Zealand beers on tap that will keep you occupied for hours.
pomspub.co.nz

Eliza's Manor is an old Christchurch home dating back to 1861, recently restored and reopened as a hotel, bar and restaurant.  Photo / Supplied
Eliza’s Manor is an old Christchurch home dating back to 1861, recently restored and reopened as a hotel, bar and restaurant. Photo / Supplied

Eliza’s Manor

The clever team behind Miro, Francesa Voza and James Summer (formerly of Francesca’s fame) took on the enormous project of restoring an old Christchurch manor which has been around since 1861 – and have recently reopened it under the name Eliza’s Manor.

You would totally do yourself a disservice if you didn’t stop by for a drink in their opulent bar with roaring fireplace, wild greenery, opulent furnishings and wonderful art. It should actually come with a warning; once you sit down in one of those velvet armchairs and start soaking up the vibe, you’re never going to want to leave.

It’s equally cozy for a morning cuppa and some baking, high tea or a full dinner in the equally fabulous dining room.
elizas.co.nz

Bar Yoku

It’s hard to say what makes Bar Yoku so cozy. Maybe it’s the dim moody lighting, maybe the option of sunken izakaya-style seating, or possibly the theater of the open kitchen with intermittent bursts of flame as yakitori and kushiyaki are cooked to perfection.

Cozy up with a bunch of friends in a booth in view of the action and indulge in some outrageously good Japanese food. The sushi tacos are legendary (the shell is made from tempura’d nori) and there’s a wonderful selection of perfectly cooked meat (and vege options) on sticks.

If that doesn’t warm you up enough, making your way through the fabulous sake list definitely will.
baryoku.co.nz

Bar Yoku's mood lighting, sunken izakaya-style seating, and open kitchen make it a cozy place for winter dining in Christchurch.  Photo / Supplied
Bar Yoku’s mood lighting, sunken izakaya-style seating, and open kitchen make it a cozy place for winter dining in Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

Salut Salut

In the same complex as Bar Yoku (the Welder- where there are multiple great places to eat and drink) is Salut Salut. Locals love it not only for its super cozy neighborhood vibe, and addictive Spanish-style tapas, but also the warmth of its owner, Tessa, who is extremely passionate about wine and loves helping people find the perfect drop for them.

It’s only a small space so their fireplace keeps it super toasty in colder months.
salutsalut.co.nz

For more things to see and do in the region, go to christchurchnz.com

For more travel inspiration, go to newzealand.com/nz.

Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz

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