Kat McCorkindale has traded crafted bras for craft beers.
The Christchurch entrepreneur has transformed her New Regent St shop, which she ran as Hot Damn! Lingerie, into a bar specialising in craft beers and cocktails.
The Institution is a 45-seat, two-level bar featuring five brews on tap, all from New Zealand but with international beers to be rotated.
There are a further 20 bottled beers in the fridge, and “not a Tui in sight”.
Six cocktails are on the menu, with six more to be added in coming weeks. Some include beer as a key ingredient.
The Institution was “not a loud music venue”, McCorkindale said.
“We’re more about enjoying a beer and talking.”
Business partner Ryan Gebbie had a “real passion for craft beer and is into the New Zealand beer scene”, she said.
He crafts beer on the side and wanted a platform to sell them.
McCorkindale said she was not much of a beer drinker until three years ago, when she moved straight into craft brews.
The pair were inspired by tiny Japanese bars and restaurants – some sitting just five people – in creating their small bar.
She hoped to serve alcohol upstairs while operating Hot Damn! on the main floor. However, consent rules required a 2-metre x 2m wheelchair-capable toilet in a shop 4m wide so it was decided the entire space would be devoted to the bar.
Hot Damn! now operates as an internet-only business after the Re:Start Mall outlet closed recently.
The decor features church pews, chalkboards, table legs fashioned from axes, and a unique handsaw chandelier. There is no television.
“We want people to engage and have a conversation,” McCorkindale said.