This 'city of opportunity' mentality has spawned a new wave of small bars.

This article is part of our series on the diverse highlights of NZ's Canterbury region, from city to snow. To book your Lake Tekapo trip, visit the 100% Pure New Zealand website.

While those wanting to open bar in Melbourne or Sydney might have to settle for managing one, in Christchurch having your own place is entirely possible. This 'city of opportunity' mentality has spawned a new wave of small bars, each one taking its place in this new cultural landscape of Christchurch. The burgeoning bar culture has been vital to the reinvention of the city, as it will continue to be as it grows, rebuilds and evolves in the years ahead.

From local wine and craft beer on New Regent Street to margaritas and Mexican on the north side of the city, here are our five favourite bars in Christchurch.


The Institution

Literally the newest bar on the New Regent Street block, The Institution has only just opened the doors to their upstairs craft beer haven little over a month ago. The space is small, but don't be fooled — these guys pack a lot of beer. The five beers on tap are constantly rotating, and at the time of our visit they were pouring a Raindogs Brewing Wee Bairn Bitter and a Four Avenues Amber Ale, both of which are brewed in Christchurch. If you can't choose (the bottled list goes on), the bar staff will be able to make a recommendation. Beer cocktails are also on the cards — just let them know you're game.