The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Spotlight on a local: The Institution

Each week we will be featuring a local bar, pub or club to help boost the Kiwi hospitality industry and encourage customers to get out and explore!

This week we take a look at Christchurch craft beer & cocktail bar – The Institution.

How has business been going post lockdown?

It’s been humbling to have such incredible support from regular, casual and brand spanking new patrons. Not to mention the kindness and support from suppliers, friends and family. Like many businesses we had a rocky few weeks and were faced with a bit of anxious uncertainty – not least of which being due to the fact we were previously so popular with tourist visitors – but we have been so lucky and we are incredibly grateful. 

What have you been doing to encourage customers to come back to your local?

People come back to The Institution for one reason really, because they have a good time. We’re passionate about the host part of hospitality, and we endeavour to make everyone’s visit a happy one. Our awesome crew was super busy during the week that bars weren’t allowed to open to the public, working on beautiful renovations to make the place extra comfy, nooky and shiny. They also designed a stunning new cocktail menu which has gone down a treat! 

How would you describe the atmosphere of The Institution?

We’re an easy-going and relaxed bar – and that’s how we like all our customers to feel. No TVs, no WiFi, no loud music; just distraction-free peace for you to enjoy your company. A little dark, a little moody, and a little interactive with backboards and games. 

The Concierge

What is your signature drink?

One of our most popular cocktails is The Concierge with Concept Bespoke Distilling’s Rosehip & Hibiscus Gin, Drambuie, orange liqueur, black raspberry liqueur, raspberry, mint and pineapple.

Why do you think your local stands out from the crowd?

We’re a small bar, possibly one of Christchurch’s smallest, and so it’s an intimate space. Conversations and games often break out across tables and groups of people, but equally we have little corners where people get lost in their deep and meaningful conversations. Our blackboard walls and tables provide hours of entertainment for creative punters, and for us as we admire an ever-changing art space! But the most stand-out feature of The Institution is the people. Our team is just the best crew of hard-working, customer-loving, drink-curating professionals who welcome everyone.

What are your 3 top tips for being a great bartender?

1. Be warm and welcoming; we can all be a bit socially awkward, especially at new places, so put all customers at ease and make everyone feel welcome. 

2. Respect the customers taste; we all have different preferences, that’s what makes life interesting, a good host doesn’t get pretentious or judgey with beverage choices. 

3. Never skip leg day; it’s a surprisingly physical job, always on your feet and running orders – especially taxing when like us, the venue is across two levels and you have to run up and down the stairs 100 times a night! 

To nominate a local to be featured, email or send us a message on social media @theshoutnz!

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