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Cityscape Eating & Drinking
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Category Eating & Drinking

With entry via off-the-hook samurai sword door handles, you just know that what’s behind Empire’s spanking new doors is going to be on the razor’s edge of cool. Having mercilessly teased us for months with its classy exterior of grey stone, darkened windows and molten neon signage, last night’s VIP reveal could have registered on the Richter scale with the number of jaws hitting the floor as guests entered what is destined to become one of the city’s favourite after dark haunts. Completing their trifecta of St Asaph Street hotspots, the team behind Baretta and The Cuban bring us a classic, regal taste of Japan with their scorching new entry into the hospo scene. Precision pimped with Geisha elegance, Empire is dark and cavernous with nods to Japanese refinement through well-appointed artefacts. A series of intimate booths flank the wall, jewelled with an inferno of glistening red tiles. Behind the...
Cityscape Drinking @
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Category Drinking @

Image: Andre Glynn Photography Flanked by a towering cigar chomping, steel-eyed possible dictator or cartel runner mural on one wall and a stunning, tangerine "April Sun in Cuba"-style panorama on the opposite one, it’s clear we’re not in Christchurch anymore.With the aim of bringing a slice of Havana to the central city, the team behind Baretta have not only hit one out of the park with their spanking new cabana of cool that is The Cuban, but also seriously upped St Asaph Street’s swag in the process.The next level transformation of the now unrecognisable former St Asaph Street Kitchen & Stray Dog Bar features an epic covered courtyard studded with stand-around gas fire-cum-bar leaners for brisk winter arvos and evenings, with the option of raising the roof (or retracting, if we’re being technically correct) for hot spring/summer nights.Nailing effortless hip, a chunky ol’ skool wooden bar that could be straight...