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Jetset Lounge / Subway


Known as: Jetset Lounge, Subway, New Zealander Tavern, The Southlander Hotel, Tavern Rachael, Southern Hotel

Location: 270 St Asaph Street, Central Christchurch

Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand

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

Active as a live music venue: 1980’s – 2011

Bar Manager: Mike Bare, Hayden Wilby, Jo Veale, Alicia Oliver-Walker

Capacity: 300?

Large old-school hotel on a busy corner near Christchurch Polytech (i.e. ARA Institute). The Hotel itself was divided up in to multiple parts on the ground floor, with a large main venue, a sports bar and a pokie lounge.

Had a long history as a venue and was very popular in the 1980’s as Subway. In the 1990s it was taken over by Speights breweries who renamed it The Southlander (aka ‘The House of Pain’) sports bar in the 1990s, and then it was a music venue again in the 2000’s as the Jetset Lounge.

Tavern Rachael, circa 1983.

Beyond the confines of campus, the Subway is the name habitually dropped by the trendy. The Subway is at the New Zealander Tavern, 270 St Asaph Street. It’s an oddly-shaped and slightly poky bar which plays host to a multitude of bands of one sort or another. Pressed for a concise description of what they’re all like, white boy post-punk scarfie music is the phrase which comes to mind (meant in the nicest possible way, of course). Flying Nun Records bands like Snapper, the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience and Breathing Cage, tend to appear at the Subway. A few other acts which have played there over the last few months include Perfect Garden, Black Spring, the Holy Toledos, the Strange Loves, Don’t Make Noise, Into The Void and so forth.

It’s also worth mentioning that if your mode of transport is at all valuable, you should park it some distance from the Subway. Across the road lies an establishment called the King George, frequented by various members of local motorcycling fraternities and, periodically, visiting members of the constabulary. Yours truly had his bike flogged from outside the Subway one night, so be warned.

‘The Christchurch Music Scene: 1990’ from W. S. McCallum (aka Venetic).

Publican Mike Bare – who had previously managed The Provincial Lounge (to great success) was the manager when the Southlander was renamed The Jetset Lounge. Bare transplanted what had been regular nights from the Provvy to the Jetset; most notably the Lounge, Funk and Soul DJ nights held every Thursday evening. He also regularly gave new bands or solo acts their first shows.

While Hayden Wilby, Jo Veale and Alicia Oliver-Walker were managing during the 2000’s, a number of International touring acts played there, including Dead Moon, Anti-Nowhere League, The Lemonheads, Strike Anywhere, Bouncing Souls, My Disco and the Ataris; plus the well-attended Satan-Fest shows always drew great crowds.

The venue eventually closed in 2008 after being purchased by new owners, with Auckland punk group Sommerset the last act to grace the stage.

The building was then damaged in the Christchurch Earthquakes and replaced by quirky shipping container-styled buildings including a re-housed RDU (formerly student) Radio Station – forming part of the BOXed Quarter in Christchurch’s newly defined SALT district.


1860?: Southern Hotel is opened on the corner of St Asaph Street and Madras Street by original proprietor George Allen.

1871: George Allen passes away and the Southern Hotel becomes the property of his wife Lizzie Allen (nee Westwood).

1872: Lizzie Allen marries Jack Coker (Cokers Hotel).

1960?: Renamed Tavern Rachel.

1983: Renamed New Zealander Tavern; with the live music venue known as Subway.

1990’s: Renamed the Southlander. The sports bar is referred to as ‘The House of Pain’ (Speights Ale branding).

Early 2000’s: Renamed the Jetset Lounge (Tui Beer branding). Thursday night Lounge, Funk and Soul nights bring huge crowds.

2008: Purchased and closed as a venue by new owners.

2011: Damaged in the Canterbury Earthquakes.

2014: With the old hotel cleared, the temporary Beatbox venue is built on the same spot.


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