THE Hub Hos­pi­tal­ity OF

It’s an ex­cit­ing time in Christchurch as the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor moves up a gear. The Dux is lead­ing the charge.

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Anew city is ris­ing out of the torn landscape which the se­ries of earth­quakes that be­gan in Septem­ber 2010 brought to New Zealand’s “Gar­den City”, Christchurch.

It is an ex­cit­ing time for the ci­ti­zens of Christchurch as we both watch and par­tic­i­pate in the re­pair, re­build and re­birth of our city and our homes. The sense of com­mu­nity prob­lem-solv­ing that was borne out of the dev­as­ta­tion, from the hours of back-break­ing liq­ue­fac­tion-shov­el­ling, to invit­ing strangers to take a warm shower or recharge their phone is now con­cen­trated on the new op­por­tu­ni­ties in de­sign, re­tail, ed­u­ca­tion, hos­pi­tal­ity, recre­ation and pub­lic spa­ces. Just as Mother Na­ture pushes wild flowers through the rub­ble of de­mol­ished and va­cant city lots, so too the peo­ple of Christchurch are thriv­ing on the chal­lenge of re­al­is­ing op­por­tu­nity through ad­ver­sity.

We are mov­ing on from the loss of so much, helped along the way by the joy­ful, cre­ative and in­no­va­tive “Green­ing the Rub­ble” projects that sprung up fol­low­ing the quakes, and rev­el­ling in the en­ergy of the re­build. The city that lost so much of its trea­sures now bears wit­ness, with a tan­gi­ble en­ergy and ex­cite­ment, to the es­tab­lish­ment of new icons.

The city’s story is mir­rored in the story of The Dux Fam­ily of venues.

Orig­i­nally the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury, The Arts Cen­tre (a col­lec­tion of some of the few re­main­ing her­itage build­ings) was home to the “Dux de Lux” with­out doubt Christchurch’s most iconic hub of hos­pi­tal­ity. “The Dux” bat­tled on after the Septem­ber quake, and wel­comed so many res­i­dents that day in search of some­thing

re­as­sur­ingly fa­mil­iar, some­thing quintessen­tially Christchurch. The dam­age to the build­ing as a re­sult of the Fe­bru­ary quake left them home­less, how­ever.

Like the city, the own­ers of the busi­ness ini­tially mourned the loss of what was there be­fore, but took strength from the com­mu­nity’s need for “The Dux” to con­tinue. “We sim­ply re­fused to give up” says Richard Sinke, head of the Dux fam­ily. “We knew that the site would not be avail­able for years, but we were en­cour­aged by the “Save Our Dux” com­mu­nity cam­paign and knew that we had to con­tinue to be a part of the fab­ric of Christchurch.”

Richard and his team set about to recre­ate the busi­ness, to es­tab­lish new and iconic hos­pi­tal­ity venues that had their foun­da­tion in the

past but a di­rec­tion clearly in the fu­ture of a city re­born. Us­ing the in­gre­di­ents from their pre­vi­ous ven­ture of great, friendly and wel­com­ing bars and din­ing rooms, the new “Duxlings” re­flect a pas­sion for de­li­cious, fresh food in smart, ca­sual sur­round­ings.

Sit­u­ated in the cafe­te­ria of the orig­i­nal Stu­dents’ Union, the Dux de Lux restau­rant has evolved into Dux Dine, which finds its home in a lov­ingly and sym­pa­thet­i­cally re­stored villa – orig­i­nally the rail­road’s sta­tion mas­ter’s home – on Ric­car­ton Road. Now of­fer­ing full ta­ble ser­vice from break­fast through to din­ner ev­ery day, Dux Dine re­mains a pescatar­ian restau­rant like its pre­de­ces­sor. “With over thirty years of re­la­tion­ships, the same lo­cal sup­pli­ers de­liver the fresh­est of pro­duce and seafood to the kitchen door ev­ery day” says Richard. The menu truly is fresh­ness on a plate. The Akaroa Salmon

and the smoked aubergine dishes are both mouth-wa­ter­ingly stun­ning rev­e­la­tions. Save for a cou­ple of French Cham­pagnes, the wine and beer list at Dux Dine are also all ex­clu­sively the prod­uct of New Zealand’s bounty – some highly-awarded vine­yards you may recog­nise are sup­ported by other, smaller bou­tique la­bels that you won’t re­gret try­ing. Ask to be seated in the se­cluded gar­den and en­joy late sum­mer al fresco din­ing.

With its rep­u­ta­tion for serv­ing the best craft beer (in­clud­ing their own brews), The Dux needed a new home for its much loved Brew and Tav­ern Bars, and when a lot be­came avail­able on the foot­print of an old brew­ery-bar, Sinke jumped on the op­por­tu­nity. It was a brave move, sur­rounded as it was by con­struc­tion and tow­ered over by cranes. Just a year into oper­a­tion, Dux Cen­tral has al­ready be­come an oa­sis in the heart of the re­build for both lo­cals and visi­tors. It is a lush ex­pe­ri­ence from be­gin­ning to end. Whether you are choos­ing one of the 200 listed beers in the English Pub styled “Brew Bar” with its wood pan­elling, or coiffing a cheeky chardon­nay on the green vel­vet seat­ing of the al­to­gether more lux­u­ri­ous Emer­ald Room, you are re­ceiv­ing Christchurch hos­pi­tal­ity at its best. The two-sto­ried cov­ered court­yard of­fers a great van­tage point to both be a part of and apart from the re­build hap­pen­ing all around.

The Poplar So­cial Club is a speakeasy style cock­tail bar that com­pletes the Dux Cen­tral of­fer­ing and is Christchurch’s best kept se­cret – get com­fort­able, or­der a clas­sic or a new in­ven­tion, and let Charles, a cock­tail mae­stro, re­gale you with tall sto­ries that you will find your­self fondly retelling time and time again.

“We are hon­oured to be a part of the new Christchurch in build­ings that re­flect our his­tory and her­itage,” Richard says with pal­pa­ble pas­sion. “Of­fer­ing a style of hos­pi­tal­ity that re­flects our fu­ture and the en­ergy of our won­der­ful new city that is be­ing built around us right now… It’s what we do.”

The Dux’s menu is “fresh­ness on a plate”

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