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Alex Ricketts - The Last Word

Christchurch bar The Last Word has a loyal following for its extensive whisky collection (over 360 at last count) and welcomes people from all backgrounds to enjoy a quiet environment and the opportunity to learn about what they're drinking along the way.

How would you describe The Last Word to a stranger?

The Last Word is an intimate and beautiful whisky and cocktail bar that feels as comfortable as having a drink in a close friend’s home. It is a table service only venue, is open late in the evening and the emphasis is on looking after people and doing things properly.

What motivated you to buy the bar off its previous owners?

The Last Word was a bar that I thought had a wonderful feel and combined with the opportunity to work alongside our friends at Whisky Galore was enormously appealing. Now it feels like an extension of me.

What were you doing before you came to Christchurch and started working at The Last Word?

I had been working in the hospitality industry for some time. Finishing my law degree was what originally brought me back to Christchurch.

What do you think The Last Word does best?

Whilst The Last Word has a huge focus and a loyal following for its whisky selection (over 360), what it does best is welcome and look after people from all backgrounds who enjoy a quieter, considered environment and the opportunity to learn about what they're drinking along the way.

How did you come to have such an interest in whisky?

It's a difficult one to pin down. My personality is such that once I learn a little bit about something, I want to know more. Whisky is a wonderful combination of history, science, commerce, romance and legend.

What do you like about New Regent Street and being based there?

New Regent Street is one of the best streets anywhere. We have wonderful neighbours and cultural opportunities all around us. We feel right in the centre of our new city whilst having the honour of being on Christchurch's only historic street that remains post-earthquake

Your staff always know their stuff when it comes to whisky and cocktails – do you train them up or do they come with that knowledge?

We have a brilliant team who have a hunger for knowledge and being good at what they do. Some of the team come with a great foundation, however, continual learning is a huge focus.

Can you describe the fit out, the atmosphere at The Last Word?

The fit out is fairly classic, with some items of furniture that people remember from their childhoods. We have cards and some board games along with an eclectic selection of old books and magazines. The atmosphere is warm and little dark with the emphasis on conversation and a little escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Any future plans for the bar?

We have a fine line between old worn-in furniture and it looking shabby. So some replacement and repair will be happening constantly from now on. We feel that history and possessions should be looked after and preserved. We'll continue to add to our offering on the food and beverage front as well and do whatever we can to promote Scotch whisky.

Where do you live in Christchurch and what do you like about living there?

I live between Sydenham and Beckenham. It's very close to the CBD but has a wonderful selection of quiet, tree-lined streets and an abundance of parks and river reserves. It's also close to Victoria Park on the Cashmere Hills, a place I visit every day.

What do you think are our city’s best attributes?

Christchurch is an incredible city. It's this wonderful combination of massive amounts of green space, a small town feel but the amenities of a proper city including an international airport. Its best attributes are its accessibility to a variety of different experiences. Green space, mountains, coastlines, rivers and stunning old trees everywhere all within an hours' drive.

What are your favourite things to do here in your spare time?

We have re-homed an ex-racing greyhound who we love to go on adventures with. Also, we love dining out at lots of the old favourites and new openings.

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