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Hospitality Awards

The Church: Pouring the heritage back into Christchurch hospitality

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On the corner of Manchester and Worcester Streets in the heart of Christchurch city sits a beautifully restored Church which now houses a stunning bar and live music venue.

Housed in a gothic renewal building originally constructed in 1875 as the Trinity Congregational Church, The Church Pub is connected to the iconic Paddy’s McNaughton’s Irish Pub. Now considered a cornerstone of the Christchurch hospitality landscape, The Church won the OneMusic Outstanding Ambience and Design award at the recent Canterbury Hospitality Awards 2023.

Founder Nick Inkster began Inskter Company, the parent company of The Church, in 2016. He dreamt up plans to open a small bar during his time working as a carpenter in Western Australia – an idea also sown by his father Robin, who always believed Nick would open a bar one day.

After the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011, Canterbury-born Nick knew that it was time to come home and give back to the city he loved so much. Nick had always had a strong affiliation with Cathedral Square, and fondly remembers frequently visiting the Square with his family as a young boy.

To continue pouring the heritage back into Christchurch hospitality, Nick partnered with his good friends, Andrew, and Richard Norton, who brought with them a wealth of knowledge. The common passion the trio shared was the city and people of Christchurch, and good old-fashioned hospitality.

Nick says one of his biggest learnings along the way is that you can’t do it all by yourself.

“You need an army behind you. Every working part is important, no matter how big or small,” he says.

Live music is and always has been at the heart of The Church; the Inkster Company has over 70 musicians on the roster and has bands playing over 700 days in the year across all venues.

“From day one, we have had local musicians playing. Music brings people together, no matter your stage of life, what you do, where you are from. Live music is huge for us; it draws people in and encourages them to stay and feel at home.”

As for the genre typically played, Nick says The Church is licenced by OneMusic and plays a lot of period music, old school tunes, and jazz. “It needs to match the era of our bars.”

For Nick, the people that make his venue their home is what makes it all worth it.

“We envisioned our space would become a home away from home for people and seeing that come to fruition is extremely special.”

Visit The Church, 124 Worcester Street in Christchurch.

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