Wunderbar: A Place of Oddities
Update November 2012
Oh dear, I have just seen that I have not earthquake-updated my Wunderbar review! So let me tell you that the place has less oddities than under the previous owner but still great live music events - and it re-opened for business about half a year ago. I enjoyed my time there during a very loud live music show. All places are so much nicer since smoking has been banned indoors ;-)))
Definitely a place to go - and now even on my list of places where I enjoy to have a drink.
The German owner who has created the legendary reputation of this unique and eccentric place has just sold the Wunderbar to a New Zealand couple (Feb. 2007) because he will move back to Berlin. But the new owners have promised to keep to the Wunderbar's spirit up and keep it going in its creator's sense.
I acknowledge that many people are attracted to this place of oddity where dolls heads', old ties and other antiques - some might call it junk - are hanging from the ceiling, and it contributes a lot to the local cultural scene with its ever changing live music and poetry readings. But it is not my favourite place. I think this not such big love has its roots in the days when the Wunderbar was still a place when you could not see through the clouds of cigarette smoke, and your eyes were burning after ten minutes, and even on a Sunday afternoon the cold smoke was stinking as horribly as never washed socks - as if the bar had never ever been aired... (Well, you might guess I do not smoke... ;-) And once the coffee machine was broken and stayed in disrepair for quite a while...
Although this has changed (and you can sit outside, overlooking the harbour, on a nice day) for me it rather is a place to visit once (and this is a must) to take a look at the unique decoration - or more often if you are highly interested in the live gigs. As they have a great events calendar on the website you can check out when you get the kind of music you like. It covers a wide range, from jazz and blues to indi-pop, disco and rock. In 2007 they even had an event on Feb 29th although it was no leap year ... ;-) But, as mentioned, the Wunderbar is a place of oddity, they even create their own dates in their own years... ;-)
They also pride themselves of their elusive toilet which novices cannot find. If you do not want to be recognised as such a virgin, go to the toilet before your visit and do not drink too much LOL
Dress Code: "Nice people only" is the only requirement for customers. No dress code.
Directions: If you stand in front of the supermarket (not open at the moment; Nov. 2012) in London Street, there was a way to a staircase which lead you to the Wunderbar at the right end of the supermarket building. But now is after the earthquakes... Ok...
You have to access the carpark behind the building from Canterbury Street and then climb zillions of stairs up to the bar. To get back home safely you better you have one drink less than one too many ;-)))
- Arts and Culture
Wunderbar: Eclectic Nightspot
The Wunderbar is one of the most unique (odd) places you can go to in NZ. From the dolls head collection to the assortment of board games that you can use, this place is a great night out. The back room is like something from a B grade Sci Fi movie and the regulars are just as odd. Your biggest challenge if you have never been here before - finding the toilets !!
Dress Code: You can get away with almost anything here so don't be afraid to cross-dress.
Empire Hotel: Happy Hour
Empire Hotel, 9 London Street, Lyttelton. Half price happy hour from 5 - 6 every day. This is probably the best bar to get talking to the locals and other people from overseas who have made Lyttelton their home. Owned by an English/Kiwi couple, English bar manager.
- Budget Travel
Harbour Light Cafe: live concerts
HHharbour Light Cafe is a small theather where life gigs makes for an good evening out...my favourite spot when I have the chance to get out and about. the Art Deco Building survived a couple of knocks and a very good cusine gives the right touch..so is the winelist and then the cakes.
just have a look at there website
Dress Code: casual is okay
- Theater Travel
Wunderbar: A trip into the Wierd
No trip to Lyttelton, or for that matter the Christchurch area, is complete without a trip to the Wunderbar. The funky front room and bizzare back room are great places to hang out and watch some very interesting characters flow by. The roof is all sorts of electronic stuff from old TVs or videos, with flashing lights strung through them, as well as mirror balls. The atmosphere is intimate. The people on stage are able to talk to the audience quite comfortably. The chairs are an assortment of retro furniture - something suitable for every shape!!
Dress Code: Anything goes here - literally!!!
Habourlight Theatre: The Play's the Thing.......
The Harbourlight is typical of what makes Lyttelton an interesting place. It is an intimate theatre with a constantly changing list of acts. The Foyer has many posters of previous performers including the likes of Shona Laing & The Warratahs. The blackboard in this area has an updated list of upcoming acts & you can look and book on the habourlights web site. Inside the theatre is a small bar and the walls are painted with many different scenes from movies.
The cost of events ranged from $15 to $20 so should fit in with your budget. I was here at a work Xmas function on 16/12/05.
Dress Code: Casual is fine
Lyttelton: The Pubs of Lyttelton
Lyttelton has some interesting pubs including some historic places. The British (1857), The Mitre (1849), Royal, and Lyttelton are all interesting places to sample an ale of your choice.
Dress Code: No dress code really however if you want to get to know one of the locals better I would suggest smart casual.
What a great eclectic place to have a beer! I was here in the daytime, but I'm guessing this place gets a little crazy in the evenings...
Rat N Roach: Pub
The Rat and Roach was almost right outside our window, and I loved the way it lit up on nights it was open.
I think they may also have had entertainment.
- Budget Travel
- Beer Tasting