Dux de Lux

Also known as: Llanmaes, Canterbury College Student Association

Location: 41 Hereford Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: In Repair

Active as a live music venue: 1978 – February 2011

Bar Manager: Ross Herrick

Bookings:

Website:

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.

History

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

Links

Christchurch Venues Post February Earthquake

The February 22nd earthquake had a hugely detrimental effect on many of Christchurch’s music, art and performance spaces. As a lot of these venues are center either within the badly damaged and inaccessible red-zone of the CBD, or in the earthquake epicenter of Lyttelton.

I’m attempting to put together a run down of any information available on each venue – if you have any information to add, stories to post or pictures to share please comment/contact me.

So far I’ve been able to collect the following pieces of info:

The Dux de Lux – Arts Center, 41 Hereford Street

(march 1st)

Richard Sinke, the director of Dux de Lux – a restaurant, bar and brewery on the corner of Christchurch’s Hereford St and Montreal St – said engineers were moving through the premises last night. “Fortunately, the Arts Centre [where Dux de Lux is located] seems to have got through okay,” said Sinke, who has been involved with the business for 32 years.

Scores of Christchurch residents with affection for Dux de Lux in Christchurch, including the band Opshop, were stopping by Dux de Lux in Queenstown, duty manager Vanessa Hartnell said yesterday.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4768246/Rebuilding-Christchurch-Arts-Centre-may-take-years-cost-100m (march 14th)

Dux de Lux owner Richard Sinke said he wanted to reopen his bar “as soon as possible”.The damaged building could reopen before repairs were completed on the rest of the Arts Centre site, he said.”The Dux is the centre of hospitality in Christchurch and is the kind of place people will need when the city starts to reopen,” he said.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4802841/Christchurch-Arts-Centre-evicts-tenants-lays-off-staff (march 24th)

Dux de Lux owner Richard Sinke said he had not been told his tenancy would be terminated.”As a tenant of 33 years, I thought I might be informed before the media. I haven’t heard anything,” he said.

El Santo Porteno – 6 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton

No published stories. Talked to Oscar who said the building is red stickered but is up in the air whether it will be demolished. He said only the roof and parapets are damaged.

Goodbye Blue Monday

“It is with much sadness that I wish to announce that Goodbye Blue Monday is over. It is strange that something that I put my heart-and-soul into over two years has suddenly ceased to be. I think the building is still there – standing sadly with rain getting in and ruining those toilet walls I fought to keep clean and graffiti free – but the business is buggered… We created something that didn’t exist before we made it and now its over. We have started talking about Goodbye Blue Monday in the past tense.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/4777129/Huge-setback-for-hospitality-staff (march 17th)

Former Christchurch mayor and business owner Gary Moore said his family bar, Goodbye Blue Monday, in Poplar Lane, had been “destroyed” in the earthquake.

“The building is all red-stickered and we cannot get in there at all.”

Moore and son Johnny said they remained committed to the “revival” of Christchurch. “We believe that the city will rise phoenix-like from the ashes.”

High Street Project – First Floor, 84 Lichfield Street

Video footage of Lichfield Street seems to show the building intact, but with badly damaged roofing. This is a very old building and I’d imagine it will probably be red…

The New Media Club – 195 Armagh St

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED1103/S00045/mainz-christchurch-turns-to-technology-to-continue-teaching.htm (march 8th)

‘Badly Damaged’

Physics Room – 209 Tuam Street

No published stories, but the adjoining Alice in Videoland had this:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/4781976/Red-zone-woes-hit-popular-central-city-video-collection (March 18th)

‘The store’s High St premises are relatively undamaged. However, the site is one block inside the red zone.’

The Provincial Hotel– Corner of Cashel and Barbadoes Streets

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/4760294/Christchurchs-Provincial-Hotel-destroyed-in-seconds (March 12th)

Stephen Cohen spent four years restoring the historic Provincial Hotel, but it took only seconds to reduce it to rubble.

Yesterday, two diggers pushed over the 108-year-old building that suffered terminal damage in last month’s earthquake, collapsing the walls like a pack of cards.

Cohen bought the neglected building four years ago, spending a small fortune restoring and strengthening it, with the aim of reopening as a boutique hotel and bistro.

“We were trying to save it,” he said.

Wunderbar – London Street, Lyttelton

No published stories, reportedly fine