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Riverside Reinvention

Riverside reinvention: Oxford Terrace comes alive again

Few developments signify the greater rebuild in the way the bars opening up along the Avon River in the central city do.

Riverside Reinvention

Although the post-quake incarnation of ‘The Strip’ was conceptualised by Antony Gough, it was the building alongside on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Hereford Street purchased and developed by Richard Peebles and Max Bremner which was first off the starting block, with three businesses now raising the bar for nightlife in the city – both in the figurative and literal sense of the expression.

Riverside Reinvention Fat Eddie’s, a popular jazz and blues bar in Sol Square before the tremors, while downstairs two new businesses – upscale restaurant Original Sin and 1930s-themed cocktail bar Kong are taking a big bite out of the hospitality market.
With extensive experience running clubs in both Sydney and New York, Manager Stuart Black is charged with the running of all three venues, while Executive Chef David Nicol utilising ideas from his 20 years working in Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and the Middle East. As such, cuisine is at the heart of this hospitality trifecta, with pizzas the piece de resistance upstairs at Fat Eddies.

Riverside Reinvention Architectural Designer John Ayers and the clever hand responsible for translating his vision into the art and theming, Dean Johnstone, have created a space of many faces.
Twice the size of its former incarnation, Fat Eddies can accommodate 320 customers within its confines, that feature a dark interior, velvet-covered booth seats, wrought iron, high ceilings and chandeliers all tying this Christchurch institution to American jazz legends and prohibition-era rebellion, layered with slices of New York and New Orleans.
Although original Fat Eddies style pays homage to the scarfie flat, its latest incarnation has given this concept an upmarket makeover, with the use of fabric and colour, hand-blown neon, poster originals, and a 1960s television cabinet, all designed and made by Dean and his Dream It team.
Meanwhile, taking its name from the 1933 movie King Kong, Kong is a swanky cocktail bar, with an art deco feel designed to reflect the glamour of the 1930s. Purposing an escape from the 21st century mundane, John and Dean lose you in a glamourous age when style and panache peaked.

Riverside Reinvention The back of the bar is designed as a radiogram, and the lobby doors are the doors to a 1930’s lift, complete with lit floor indicator dial. Brass beading on furniture, authentic lighting and the general essence of luxe will have you screaming like Fay Wray at closing time.
Seating 140 people, inside and out, Original Sin is a powerful temptation, offering a fine dining experience in the heart of the city, with an immaculate fit out and menu to match.
Although the Christchurch earthquakes dealt the city’s nightlife a serious blow, with iconic hotspot affectionately known as ‘The Strip’ perhaps the biggest casualty, the riverside reinvention is reinvigorating the city’s social scene in no small part.

Terrace Tavern

Triumph at the Terraces: checking out Dux De Lux Group’s latest venture Terrace Tavern

I recently joined Richard Sinke and Lisa O’Brien Sinke, owners of the Dux De Lux Group, for a chat – and a taste – of the new Terrace Tavern at 134 Oxford Terrace, the area once known as ‘the strip’.

Terrace Tavern

The style of TT reminded me of a great mid-west bar and restaurant. Straying far from the standard restaurant fare, the menu features the likes of crayfish ravioli, Kaikoura octopus, crispy zucchini, Wakanui beef short rib and truffle fries.
The Dux Deluxe brought fresh vegetarian food to Christchurch, but the TT has extended its range of vegetarian and fish to include meat. “That was then, this is now,” Richard says. “We don’t want to exclude anyone now. Even though Lisa and I are vegetarian, we want to provide an all round great place to eat.”
BBQ Chef extraordinaire Tristan Anderson is creating something pretty special in the kitchen with ‘Beatrice’, the real wood BBQ which uses pure oak. “We’re keeping it real in the kitchen and bringing fire to the food with a great range of fresh steak and meat options every day. I’m always looking for opportunities to challenge the customers but keep them happy.”
‘South Pacific bistro, from the sea, plains and alps. It’s local food with a twist’, the menu states. With the true BBQ flavour Beatrice brings and the team’s eye for food, beverage and service, it’s so good to see some heart retuning to such an iconic area of the Garden City.
The Sinke family have added a “Barsterant” – their word not mine – to the central city’s ‘must-trys’.

Dream It

Creating places with punch: meet the imaginationologists at Dream It who are designing clever new spaces in our city

As our new city starts to develop and people slowly make their way back into the central city, it will be interesting to see where the winners and the losers of the social scene will be. A bar that just pours beer will simply not make it any more. There need to be other reasons to go to that bar and stay there.

For graphic design and theming company Dream It Ltd, listening to its hospitality clients, consulting fully on ideas and actually delivering the product are the keys to both its success and to the success of the bars it designs and builds.
“I view myself as an imaginologist – but my team and I at Dream It also make what I imagine,” owner Dean Johnstone says.
“We build what we design. We don’t hand it over to someone else to implement and risk compromising the original concept.”
Dean’s imagination is seemingly limitless and not always conventional. “I once designed an in-home movie theatre in the form of a submarine wreckage ‘submerged’ in three-dimensional faux rocks with dramatic effects that can be pre-programmed and controlled.”
It’s this calibre of ability that has made Dean sought after in New Zealand, Australia and even the United States. Experienced Christchurch hospitality owner Max Bremner made sure he secured Dean and his team for the fit-outs of his three bars in The Terrace complex.

“Each bar has its own unique personality. That’s what we do. We took architectural designer John Ayers’ floor plans and added the character and identity. Fat Eddies is a ‘blues’ bar reflecting America in the 1930s and 40s; Kong is an art-deco styled cocktail bar reminiscent of a 1930s movie set where you wouldn’t be surprised to see Humphrey Bogart; Original Sin on the other hand takes those two words and plays on them with ecclesiastical architecture – a serpent, an apple and an Adam and Eve themed mural painted on carved concrete to resemble an old cracked oil painting.

Dream It
These bars were the first on the new ‘strip’ and have set a high standard. If you are wondering how they are doing, all you have to do is go there any night of the week and see places full of people having a great time.

The Terrace

King of the rebuild: we talk to Antony Gough about The Terraces and his take on post-quake Christchurch

The recent opening of The Terraces represents a formative moment in our long rebuild process. Replacing our late-lamented ‘Strip’, not only literally and physically, but viscerally in both hearts and minds, it symbolises the awakening of the city from its developmental coma.

The Terrace
Antony Gough

One of so many wonderful new builds in the city, the very public yet very personally passionate, process of bringing The Terrace to life gives it a talismanic feel, symbolising the strength and confidence, leadership and faith it has taken to get to this point.
Forged in the fire of Antony Gough’s vision, The Terrace, a glamourous and aesthetically pleasing precinct featuring innovative, thoughtful design, has brought this city section to life again, with twenty different hospitality environments open with minimum hours of 11am – 11 pm seven days, plus commercial space.
It wouldn’t be out of line to describe Antony Gough as the King of the rebuild. We talk to Antony about his milestone.

The Terrace has been a labour of love for you, how does it feel to have all that hard work and dedication now coming to fruition with the new bars now starting to open?

A huge relief and very exciting seeing it all come together.

How do you think the overall rebuild is going?

The private sector is going very well, though it has taken longer than any of us would have expected. The Anchor Projects however need to get a hurry along.

What are some of your favourite buildings or developments – both old and new?

The Terraces – particularly the wooden building – The Arts Centre, Deloitte House, The Crossing with its variety, Stranges Lane and the Bus Exchange.

What do you see as some of the challenges facing the city as we move forward?

I worry that all the cycle lanes may make travel by cars, trucks and buses too difficult. The Anchor Projects and the CBD housing are progressing too slowly.

What do you think we’ve done well at as a city throughout the rebuild process?

The Avon River precinct and Earthquake Memorial are excellent! Getting our sewerage and water systems back to normal as well.

What do you love about Christchurch and, as a developer, what makes you choose to stay here?

Christchurch is a city of huge opportunities. A brand new CBD surrounded by an exciting housing population, it is now getting a real sense of vibrancy.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you?

I have a car parking building to build and then I need to bed down The Terrace Precinct. This won’t happen by accident, it needs lots of planning and hard work behind the scenes.