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Victorian Coffee Gallery

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!


Bohemian Cafe that was one of the very few late night spots in Christchurch during the late 1970’s through to early 1980s. The Clean filmed the music video for notable early single ‘Beatnik‘ here in 1982. The Volkswagens played here regularly, along with the likes of The Topp Twins (as 17 year olds!), and various other folk performers.

Growing up in Huntly, Dame Julie (Jools) Topp and Dame Lynda Topp always knew they were different, but it wasn’t until they left home for Christchurch that they found like-minded people. At 17 years old the twins performed their songs at The Victorian Coffee Lounge and it was here that they first connected with a group of radical lesbian feminists.

NZ History: The Topp Twins

Renowned for it’s delicious toasted sandwiches during the day, and for being one of the only late-night venues at night, lit only by candles precariously poking out the top of old wine bottles. There was an artists quarters next door, which fed the communal vibe of the place, along with regular performances from members of the Christchurch Folk Music club:

The continuing success of the Folk Centre also helped contribute to the opening of another popular venue in Christchurch, the Victorian Coffee Lounge on Oxford Terrace. This establishment eventually developed its own customer base, many of whom were university students from nearby hostels along with student nurses from Christchurch Public Hospital.

The Folk Boom & Beyond (Christchurch Folk Music Club)

  • The Clean’s ‘Beatnik’; filmed by Simon Morris at the Victorian Coffee Gallery in 1982.


Also known as: The Vic

Location: Corner of Oxford Terrace and Montreal Street, Central Christchurch

Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand

Current Status: Demolished

Active as a live music venue: 1970’s – 1989

Bar Manager: –

Capacity: –

All-Ages: Yes



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