Spring is here, and so starts the party season. Whether you’re charged with organising a 21st for the masses, an elaborate slinky dinner party for a select few, a function or product launch for work, that long-overdue family reunion dinner, or this year’s work party, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find some of the city’s finest venues and where to go for what in the following pages, ensuring your next party, event, or conference goes off without a hitch.
When elegant, intimate venues for smaller gatherings are called for (or you simply want to escape the hoi polloi), Christchurch is blessed with a number of spaces and places. Try the refined ol’ skool charms of No.4 Restaurant & Bar’s The Library – this wooden-panelled wonderland rocks a hunter’s lodge/den featuring its own bar (complete with stuffed marlin head!). Vesuvio’s classy upstairs library/lounge channels some seriously broody charms with it’s newspapered walls, and as an added bonus you’ll likely be treated to some sweet jazz snaking up from the main bar; down there some of the city’s best tapas, cocktails, and wine are just a flight of stairs away. For a full-throttled swank-fest, Bloody Mary’s Whisky Lounge, with its buttery Chesterfield couches and high-back velvet chairs, is a cavern of cool that’s the place to be, while The Residence at The George teams 1950s charms with elegant, modern conveniences – think the Hamptons without having to leave the city. For a private dining experience guaranteed to have your guests talking for months, Chillingworth Road’s GH Mumm room celebrates all things lavish; chandeliers, a private chef (should the occasion call for it) and flutes of France’s finest are all de rigueur. Located on historic New Regent Street, The Grey Robin Restaurant (formally Shop Eight) is ripe for a boutique restaurant takeover, or for smaller parties, try the super private (and hidden!) dining room. Rock the aforementioned Bloody Mary’s private dining rooms, where chandeliers meet glitzy wallpaper, or round up the team at the high-altitude chef’s table, which provides a view into the open kitchen theatrics. For cigar bar chic, Veto Bar at Baretta takes its cues fromthe late, great SOL Square’s Cartel, even replicating the cigar-inlaid bar and shabby chic.
Crank up the fancy at your next soirée at Bessie. Their specially designed dry-aging room is as stylish as it is practical, giving the socially awkward guests among the group a brilliant conversation starter. Top 100 restaurant quality cuisine meets bistro lux sophistication overlooking New Regent Street at Twenty Seven Steps, while the crowd-pleasers at Fiddlesticks have a dedicated functions coordinator who’ll take care of everything! Take the party outdoors at Rogues of Rotherham in their open courtyard (complete with pizza oven) or into the slick vintage cool inside – lux turquoise velvet booth seating, anyone? Looking to make a serious statement? Nab The Penthouse at The George where 182-square metres of gorgeousness awaits.
Keep things casual and rocking at BBQ Brazil (with all-you-can-eat BBQ and a dance floor to work off the excesses), Thai Chef’s and its myriad of private rooms and karaoke den, or the slick chill of The Happening where they can sell you beer by the glass or keg. Hot Havana nights and days are the go at Radio Hauraki fave The Cuban’s bodacious indoor/outdoor space. The great outdoors are also the calling card of Little Neighbourhood, Valley Inn Tavern and the fierce Deck Bar at Freemans, or get out the velvet rope to create your own VIP zone at rocking US-themed dive bar Rockstar Pizza & Drink Parlour or Chic Restaurant. Other venues worthy of the radar include Johnny Sausage, Bishop Brothers Public House, Cornershop Bistro, Duo Dining Room, O’Sheas, Sullivans, Redfire Brazilian BBQ, The Option Bistro and Wines, Francesca’s and Kaiapoi’s CBK.
Create a killer vibe and set the scene to Mad Men levels of cool at the understated chill of Space Academy, tap into the Melbourne scene at Uncommon, and take in the city’s ragin’ Cajun quarter from above at Strange & Co’s upstairs loft. Celebrate under the stars at Stellar, take things to the next level at Empire’s VIP room and, if you’re looking for a creative colab, head to the slickness of Addington’s Town Tonic. In the city, gin palace WHET boasts a bar so cool it’s literally frosty, while bangin’ baijiu and bao emporium Sister Kong offers the oriental edge. Look to TMR for industrial lux and a killer menu, or White House Black’s 1860s glam-over, complete with outdoor patio/seating and private gardens.
Add an edge of the exotic or unusual by taking things to Untouched World Native Garden Café – with onsite fashion store – the rich military history of Trenches, or the former post office turned Sunday School then killer café Hello Sunday. Get a seaside view and more at Salt On The Pier, cheat the space time continuum with Belgian Beer Café Torenhof’s 1920s ‘brown bar’ bent, head to the streets of Mumbai at Mumbaiwala, or host your own Bollywood party (complete with dance off) at Coriander’s Bollywood Room. Rock traditional Middle Eastern right at The Persian Kitchen.
For straight up catering you can’t go past some of the city’s finest party starters at The Lincoln Pantry, Taste @ twenty, Casamassima Italian Fare, Yumm, Mosaic by Simo, Prince of Persia, Tomi, courtesy of their food caravan, and Continental.
Sometimes nothing less than a serious function space will do. If your event will be large or you are looking to create something truly spectacular, look up these dedicated providers whose unique spaces have the capacity, features, expertise and versatility to create a day or night (or both!) to remember, no matter what the occasion.
B-18 – This funky converted warehouse in Addington offers its own onsite café and a beautiful high glass atrium main space with indoor plants and funky seating, fittings and lighting. A shared office space for several businesses during working hours, it morphs into a great function space after hours, with relaxed yet exciting atmosphere. An outstanding location is right next door to the Court Theatre, and Addington’s new bars and restaurants, and there’s plenty of parking. It’s comfortable, spacious, welcoming, and fun.
Rydges Latimer – With an entire floor dedicated to function and conference spaces, the Rydges Latimer can host up to 500 guests in up to 11 rooms of adaptable space, all in the slinky inner-city parkside surrounds of this glam hotel.
UCSA – Located on the leafy of University of Canterbury campus in Ilam, the UCSA’s multiple venues can host a wide range of events, from Christmas parties for some of the city’s largest businesses to student lead snowboard jump events with real snow! A cool, unique, and affordable space, the UCSA function centre is large and flexible, and backed by an experienced events team with a track record of creating amazing one off events.
Sixty 6 On Peterborough – Sixty6 may have started life as a car park, but don’t let that put you off – the space has since undergone a stunning makeover that has left it one of the city’s most spectacular and versatile function spaces. The only limit is your imagination; the room is festooned with colour- changeable LED lighting and offers an in-house photo booth with printable photos, and is run by a team whose motto is “Anything is possible”. Make the most of this amazing space that’s already been transformed into a medieval castle, a jazz library, the Batcave, a Christmas Grotto, a haunted mansion, a circus sideshow and more besides.
JDV Veranda Bar – From intimate dinners for up to 60 to a 120-person party, JDV’s funky function space Veranda Bar offers a super private exclusive venue above their famed restaurant. Tricked out with moody lighting and lush furnishings and its own slick bar, this is one of the city’s finest function spaces for good reason.
Mona Vale – A sense of history and classic elegance can’t help but imbue your function with that touch of class at Mona Vale. Brides arrive by punt, croquet is played, and your guests may gather on a marquee in the Iris Lawn outside the historic and magnificently restored Mona Vale Homestead. The scene is set to exceptional effect for any function with a historic or garden themes (think Great Gatsby cocktails, a Victorian garden party, Mad Hatter’s tea Party, or Teddy Bears’ Picnic, while outstanding catering is provided onsite by the city’s leading caterers, Continental. Roam the grounds or sit down to a spectacular dinner in the upstairs dining area.
The Tannery – Several venues in one, The Tannery has the right space for your event whatever it may be. Blue Smoke is a rustic, beautiful concert space that’s perfect for concerts, private events and casual corporate parties, with extensive decking and BBQ / open fire place outside. The adjoining AGA kitchen can provide buffet and catering for your Blue Smoke function, or hired in itself to host private dinner events. New offering Metropolitan Lounge is a conference room can also be set up as a cocktail or BBQ venue, while the Port Hills-facing Metropolitan Lounge can accommodate up to 160 guests comfortably, and the magnificent Victorian opulence and wrought iron is perfect for larger events that demand a sense of grandeur.
Function 151 – This beautiful new function space upstairs in the stunning new riverside building at 151 Cambridge Terrace offers spectacular river views in the heart of the city. A blank canvas that’s just ready and waiting for you to make imaginative use if it, it’s extremely versatile and backed by the team behind city favourite hospitality Bamboozle, Johnny Sausage and WHET Drinking Room., who have a wide range of catering options available for your guests.
Crowne Plaza –With versatile options for functions of all types, the Crowne Plaza’s Ellis, Gartner and Oram meeting rooms are named after the original owners of the Golden Fleece, the hotel built on the site in 1851. These flexible, naturally lit rooms can cater for anything from a small meeting to a large theatre style event up to 70 guests, and offer “lounge-like” contemporary design features that take things a step above conventional conferencing. High-spec technology and major audio visual capability are also at your fingertips, while a natural flow into the hotel’s own excellent food and beverage offerings mean there’s no need for your attendees to go hungry and thirsty.
Riccarton Park – Riccarton Park’s multi venue space means multiple breakout rooms are an option for your event, and make the complex a very versatile venue for everything from weddings to corporate hospitality, school balls, and seminars. Ample free parking, a handy location, a helpful team and great onsite food options all make for a hassle-free event your guests are sure to enjoy and remember.
The Arts Centre – the historic Arts Centre offers a range of outstanding venues that are suitable for everything from an intimate private dinner to a business presentation in the historic Rutherford’s Den lecture theatre. Wow your guests with banquet-style dining in the stunning, newly-restored heritage venue that is the Great Hall, enjoy the historic atmosphere (and state of the art AV system!) in Rutherford’s Den, opt for a private dinner or meeting with a difference amidst the rich heritage features of the Classics building, or make use of the special Pūmanawa space upstairs in the Old Boys’ High Building, aimed especially at community use and perfect for exhibitions.
Stellar Restaurant and Bar – Stellar’s professional hospitality team, spacious venue and purpose-designed facilities combine to create an ideal venue for your special occasion. They offer an extensive range of delicious menus – classic European fare with a hint of Asian influence – which can be tailored to your specific needs, and their stylish space impresses with its glitzy, star-inspired interior. It’s perfect for any function that demand great eats – look them up for everything from canapés to breakfasts, lunches, birthday parties, wedding receptions, Christmas parties, and corporate functions.
The George – Everything The George– Christchurch’s premiere boutique hotel – does is of the highest quality; little wonder that their function offerings are also some of the finest in the city. Their conference/banqueting facilities are spread across six separate dedicated function rooms that can be used for a vast array of different events – everything from cocktail parties to business meetings, private dinners, presentations, wedding receptions and product launches, with an their experienced team working closely with you to make your event perfect. Take the opportunities afforded for fun or for team-building with the outdoor pursuits available at adjacent Hagley Park or on The George’s private lawns.
Quality Hotel Elms – The five specialty function rooms at the Quality Hotel Elms are geared up for some serious hosting. Unlimited, ultra-fast complimentary broadband and free AV support is available and their 96 top quality hotel rooms are standing by to house your entire national or international delegation (or family gathering)! The hotel’s award-winning Fig Restaurant & Bar makes providing great food a non-issue, and direct garden access in three of their venues is perfect from when it’s time to take a break from your conference, meeting or seminar.
White House Black – White House Black is a magnificently restored Halswell villa that dates all the way back to the 1880s. This historic building is now a truly sensational venue for weddings and celebrations of all kinds. Hire the upstairs function room, or book the entire venue to take advantage of their large seating area and private gardens.
Want to hold a lavish and proper sit down dinner? Here are venue capacitiies for a seated event.
Under 30 The Penthouse at Hotel Montreal (up to 10) • Bloody Mary’s Chef’s Table (up to 10) • Arts Centre Classics (up to 12) • Chillingworth Road GH Mumm Room (up to 14) • Shop Eight The Grey Robin (up to 16) • Francesca’s (up to 18) 20 – 30 The Residence at the George(up to 20) • Baretta Veto Bar (up to 22) • Rogues (up to 24) • Mumbaiwala Bar Area (up to 25) • Table At Monks (up to 25)
30 – 50 No. 4 (up to 30) • Valley Inn Front Bar Area (up to 30) • Fiddlesticks (up to 32) • Quality Hotel Elms City View Room (up to 32) • Quality Hotel Elms Green Room (up to 32) • Hello Sunday (up to 35) • Bloody Mary’s Whiskey Library (up to 40) • WHET (up to 40) • Twenty Seven Steps Back Room (up to 40) • Mosaic By Simo (up to 40) • Tomi Japanese Restaurant (up to 40) • Redfire BBQ Brazilian Steakhouse (up to 40) • Pegasushi (up to 40) • Sister Kong (up to 40) • Mona Vale Downstairs (up to 40) • THE DECK at Freeman’s (up to 40) • Chillingworth Road Larger dining room (up to 45) • Space Academy (up to 45) • Mumbaiwala Function Room (up to 50) • B-18 (up to 50) • The Tannery Brewery (up to 50)
50 – 70 Johnny Sausage (up to 50) • Bloody Mary’s Private Dining Room (up to 50) • Cornershop Bistro (up to 50) • Strange & Co (up to 50) • O Sheas - (up to 50) • BBQ Brazil Papanui (up to 50) • Francesca’s Main Restaurant (up to 50) • Coriander’s St Asaph Street (up to 50) • The Caffeine Laboratory (up to 55) • The Option (up to 60) • Milieu Café (up to 60) • The Tannery AGA Kitchen (up to 60) • JDV Veranda Bar (up to 60) • Untouched World Native Garden Café (up to 60) • Zanzibar (up to 60) • The Happening (up to 70) • TMR (up to 70) • Uncommon (up to 70)
Under 100 Twenty Seven Steps Whole Restaurant (up to 75) • Bessie (up to 78) • Redfire BBQ Brazilian Steakhouse (up to 80) • Duo Dining Room & Bar (up to 80) • Town Tonic (up to 80) • Chic Restaurant & Bar Luxury Pool Lounge (up to 80) • Salt On The Pier (up to 80) •CBK (up to 90) • The Tannery Blue Smoke (45 – 90) • Trenches Poppy Club (up to 90) • Crowne Plaza – Oram Room, Ellis Room, Gartner Room and The Golden Fleece (up to 90) • BBQ Brazil 205 Durham Street (80 – 100)
100 – 150 CBK Kaiapoi (up to 100) • White House Black (up to 100) • Mona Vale Upstairs (up to 110) • Quality Hotel Elms Garden View Room (up to 120) • Bishop Brothers Public House (up to 120) • Mumbaiwala Whole Restaurant (up to 130) • BBC Torenhof (up to 130) • UCSA Bentleys (up to 100) • Arts Centre Great Hall (up to 138)
150 – 200 The Tannery Metropolitan Lounge (50 – 160)
200 plus Arts Centre Great Hall (up to 217) • Thai Chef’s (up to 220) • Riccarton Park (up to 40 – 300) • UCSA The Foundry (up to 300) • Little Neighbourhood (up to 300) • Sixty 6 on Peterborough (up to 300) • The Tannery Atrium (200 – 350) • Function 151 (up to 400 guests) • The UCSA Events Centre (up to 430)
Cocktail Party Capacities
Looking at holding a stand-up affair? Here's the run down on venue capacities for your drinks and nibbles.
Under 20 Twenty Seven Steps Downstairs Bar (10 – 30)
20 – 30 Coriander’s St Asaph Street Bar (up to 20) • Chillingworth Road GH Mumm Room (20 – 25) • Stolen Bagel (up to 25) • Table At Monks (up to 25) • Coriander’s St Asaph Street Veranda(up to 30)
30 – 50 Bloody Mary’s Whiskey Library (up to 40) • Pegasushi (up to 40) • Quality Hotel Elms Green Room (up to 40) • Emperor’s New Clothes (up to 40 ) • Arts Centre Rutherford’s Den Boardroom (up to 40) • Rogues of Rotherham (up to 45) • Strange & Co Loft (up to 50)
50 – 70 Johnny Sausage (up to 50) • The Residence at the George(up to 50) • The Penthouse at Hotel Montreal (up to 50) • Fiddlesticks (up to 50) • Empire The Ronin Room (up to 50) • Quality Hotel Elms City View Room (up to 50) • Bloody Mary’s private dining room (up to 60) • THE DECK at Freeman’s (up to 60) • WHET (up to 60) • Baretta Veto Bar (60) • Valley Inn Front Bar Area (up to 60) • Space Academy (up to 65) • No.4 (up to 70) • Valley Inn Courtyard (up to 70) • The Tannery AGA Kitchen (up to 70) • Hello Sunday (up to 70) • UCSA The Shilling Club up to (70) • Uncommon (up to 70) • Chic Restaurant & Bar Luxury Pool Lounge (up to 80) • The Option (up to 80) • Town Tonic (up to 80)
Under 100 Arts Centre Pūmanawa (up to 75) • Untouched World Native Garden Café (up to 80) • Duo Dining Room & Bar (up to 80) • The Tannery AGA Kitchen (up to 80) • The Caffeine Laboratory (up to 80) • Francesca’s Italian Kitchen (up to 80) • The Happening (up to 90) • Sister Kong (up to 100) • Milieu Café (up to 100)
100 – 150 Salt On The Pier (up to 100) • The Tannery The Brewery (up to 100) • B-18 Studios (up to 120) • The Cuban Main Bar/Restaurant Area (up to 120) • JDV Veranda Bar (up to 120) • Trenches Poppy Club (up to 140) • Strange & Co Main Bar (up to 150)
150 – 200 CBK Beer Garden (up to 150) • Zanzibar (up to 150) • Crowne Plaza – Oram Room, Ellis Room, Gartner Room and The Golden Fleece (up to 150 ) • White House Black (up to 170) • The Cuban Patio (up to 180) • UCSA Bentleys (up to 180)
200 plus BBC Torenhof (up to 200) • CBK Kaiapoi (up to 200) • Mona Vale, Whole Homestead (up to 200) • Quality Hotel Elms Garden View Room (up to 200) • The Tannery Blue Smoke (up to 200) • The Tannery Metropolitan Lounge (up to 200) • Bishop Brothers Public House (up to 220) • Baretta Whole Venue (up to 230) • Stellar Restaurant & Bar (up to 241) • Arts Centre Great Hall (up to 250) • Little Neighbourhood (up to 300) • The Cuban Whole Venue (up to 300) • Empire Whole Venue (up to 300) • Sullivans (up to 300) • Function 151 (up to 400) • Sixty6 on Peterborough (up to 430) • Riccarton Park (40 – 500) • UCSA The Foundry (up to 600) • The Tannery Atrium (up to 600) • The UCSA Events Centre (up to 1000)