Al’s Bar

Also known as:

Location: 31 Dundas Street, Central Christchurch

Center map

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake, replaced by commercial buildings

Active as a live music venue: 2004 – 2011

Bar Manager: Al Park



Capacity: –

All-Ages: Occasionally

Mid-sized venue on the South side of Central Christchurch operated by long-time fixture of the Christchurch music scene – Al Park. Al had been a notable figure in the pub rock and (eventually) punk music that sprung up around the Mollett Street performance space in the late 1970’s, but it took until 2004 before Al had a venue of his own.

Al’s Bar had (at one point) two stages at opposite ends of the venue and a small outside courtyard.

Al’s Bar exterior, taken from Al’s Bar facebook

This was a popular venue up until the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 / 2011, with touring bands, popular local acts, and even double-header shows by A Low Hum using the ample space. Legendary US grunge act the Melvins played Al’s on February 21st 2011, the day prior to the fatal earthquake which eventually claimed the venue itself. Trouble seemed to follow the group, as immediately after Christchurch they traveled to Tokyo, just before the Japanese earthquake of 2011 struck.

Along with Al Park, sound-guy Dave Mitchell was usually on-hand, and the bar was known among local performers for being a bit of a struggle when it came to asking entry fees – thanks to a large volume of ‘regulars’ that insisted their connection to Al got them free entry!

The venue had some nice features, with a good not-too-expensive bar, polite bar staff, a decent, high-powered PA system with great monitors and stage sound, and a projection screen above the larger stage, which made for some pretty great photos:

Mike Ellis of the Insurgents at Al’s Bar


  • 2004: Opened as a live music venue’
  • 2010: Damaged in 2010 Earthquakes, but re-opens soon after’
  • 2011: Earthquakes permanently close the venue.

Contact Details


All Plastics

Also known as:

Location: 430 Tuam Street, Philipstown

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Current Status: No longer a venue/studio

Active as a live music venue: 2004 – 2012

Bar Manager: –



All-Ages: House-Parties

A former plastic manufacturing business located in industrial Philipstown, All Plastics was originally leased by Nick O’Keefe of the Undercurrents some time in the 2000’s. O’Keefe, along with his band members (which included local sound-men Marcus Winstanley and Mikey Summerfield, plus Phantom Billstickers’ Jamey Holloway) began using the site as a recording studio and practice space.

Anthony Drenthe playing inside All Palstics in 2012

O’Keefe eventually moved out of the premise, with Summerfield the prime occupant for a period – during this time more and more groups started using both the recording and practice facilities.

John Harris and Ben Dodd performing outside All Plastics in 2012



Several house-party type shows were put on both inside and outside the studio space, before the last occupant (Rhett Copland of Doctors etc) left around 2013.


2004: Nick O’Keefe of the Undercurrents rents the former plastics factory at 430 Tuam Street, starting construction of a home studio to record his groups material.

2007: Mikey Summerfield (also of the Undercurrents) moves in, becoming the main occupant. More bands begin using the practice and recording space, and subsequently house parties with live music are held at the site.

2012: Rhett Copland (the last occupant) moves out.

Contact Details


Blue Smoke

Also known as: Gustav’s

Location: The Tannery, 3 Garlands Road, Woolston

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Current Status: Running!

Active as a live music venue: 2015 –

Bar Manager: –



Capacity: 200

All-Ages: No

Lovely live music venue that replaced Gustav’s Kitchen and Wine Bar within the Tannery complex in 2015. Adjoined to the Tannery complex and next to the Cassels and Son’s The Brewery, Blue Smoke is a reasonably-sized traditional bar with a nice all-wood interior, plus some outside seating.

Regularly holds live music events (taking over from The Brewery, which now appears to function mostly as a bar and restaurant) and has hosted some great events in its short history, including most notable Fred and Toody Cole of legendary US underground group Dead Moon in December 2016.


1874: Building constructed as part of the Woolston tannery complex.

1994: Alasdair Cassel purchases tannery site.

2009: Alasdair Cassel opens the Cassel and Sons Brewery as part of his new retail complex on the old Tannery site, brewing beer and distributing to local outlets.

2010/11: After the Canterbury Earthquakes, the Brewery re-opens as a venue.

2013: Gustav’s Kitchen and Wine Bar re-opens as a new venue within the Tannery site.

2015: Gustav’s becomes Blue Smoke, now a bar and live music venue.

Contact Details

  • Blue Smoke
  • 3 Garlands Road, Woolston, Christchurch

Links [Main Venue Website] [Facebook] [Instagram]

Dux de Lux

Also known as: Llanmaes, Canterbury College Student Association

Location: 41 Hereford Street, Central Christchurch

Center map

Current Status: In Repair

Active as a live music venue: 1978 – February 2011

Bar Manager: Ross Herrick



Capacity: 100 in the main bar, up to 200 upstairs

All-Ages: Occasionally

Long-running Christchurch live-music venue based out of the Christchurch Art Center as part of a multi-use building, along with a vegetarian restaurant and an upstairs bar / private venue and office spaces.

The Dux was notable on a few fronts:

Live shows at the Dux were almost always free, a tradition they kept going through-out the venues 30 year history. The Dux was actually a very good spot to see up and coming music acts too – due to connections to student radio station RDU (now a private enterprise), regular ‘Battle of the Bands’ nights played out, with heavily biased judges promoting those groups that fit in to the current indie / underground trends.

Due to the Dux’s restaurant connection the pub food on offer was always terrific – the best nacho’s and wedges in town for many a year. This also coincided with excellent international food stall offers during the weekend, as the Art Center’s food trucks were just a few meters away from the Dux’s outdoor seating. A 3rd crown in their culinary jewel was the excellent locally brewed beverages on tap –  the Dux’s own Ginger Tom alcoholic ginger beer was a particular favorite.

The venue itself was always bustling – due to the combination of free entry, close-proximity to a healthy, bustling market located within a tourist attraction in its own right (the Art Center complex), and the venues word-of-mouth reputation with young international travelers. Booking agent / bar manager Ross Herrick was top notch and made setting up shows there a breeze; the Dux always had great advertising, and the likes of gear setup and soundcheck were always a breeze.

Fairly small and L-Shaped, it was fairly easy to make the place look packed out – though it had a reasonable maximum capacity (due to there being 3 easily accessible exits), which often led to people hanging out the doors on warm evenings. A prime spot for watching bands was sitting to each side of the stage under the windows that ran the length of the venue, or up front on the (usually freshly cleaned) carpet in front of the stage.

The PA was reasonably powerful and had great sound both from the audience and the stage – large main speakers that hung from the ceiling each side of the stage, plus a trio of feedback wedges up front and beside the drum-riser. The sound-desk was located next to the bar opposite the stage, and made for easy communication during sets – it was also convenient when trying to get drinks to the band! Also notable was the lighting system – full colour gels flanked each side of the stage, giving the room excellent ambiance and made for terrific live music photos.

A variety of bands played the main venue over the years, from young and unremembered to some of New Zealand more notable acts – with quite a few international groups over the years too. When the 2nd large earthquake struck in February 2011, the Dux de Lux was one of the most iconic parts of Christchurch that was lost. Though 2 bars (and a restaurant) using the Dux name have sprung up in recent years, none has come close to the feeling of the original.


1872: Canterbury College (which would eventually eventually become Canterbury University) is formed, with premise bounded by Worcester, Rolleston, Hereford and Montreal Streets.

1883: The Dux De Lux’s building is constructed as a private residence for John Lewis, given the Welsh name Llanmaes.

1894: Canterbury University Students Association is formed.

1921: The Students Association set aside a tea-room within Llanmaes.

1926: The Students Association purchase Llanmaes – the last privately owned building within the block, and over the next few years the site is redeveloped in a Gothic style and extended, eventually opening as the Student Union in 1929.

1954: A fire damaged much of the interior, over the next two years the site was repaired with a dining room and 3 meeting rooms added.

1978: Canterbury University is now permanently at their larger Riccarton campus, and the Dux de Lux is born as a bar, live music venue and restaurant.

2010/2011: Two major earthquakes cause significant damage, closing the Dux de Lux and the Art Center in its entirety.

Contact Details

  • Dux De Lux
  • 41 Hereford Street, Central Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Closed Permanently