5 great bars for International Whiskey Day
From Glasgow to Louisville, here's a fistful of joints to celebrate, courtesy of Where Bartenders Drink
Making good whiskey, just like acquiring good local bar knowledge, takes time. On International Whiskey Day we would like to introduce you to a handful of seriously considered, thoroughly mature whiskey bars, courtesy of Where Bartenders Drink. This new book draws together 300 expert drinks-makers, each of whom shares his or her secret drinking spots, where they enjoy a shot or two when they’re off duty.
Scotland The Pot Still, 154 Hope Street, Glasgow. “The Pot Still is simply the best whiskey bar in the world. With hundreds and hundreds of whiskeys from all over the world to select from, the old man pub atmosphere makes for a truly authentic pub experience. However, it is the people who run it that make this pub truly outstanding. ‘Big Frank’ Murphy (never to be seen without his trademark kilt, utility belt, hammer, and goatee) and his father, (also named Frank), run their bar with such enthusiasm and friendliness that their second-to-none whiskey knowledge almost seems like part of their biology. After one of Big Frank’s famous hugs (dished out upon request), sit with a choice of rejuvenating whiskey recommended by the staff, a beer, and one of their famous homemade pies with beans. A true taste of what Glasgow is all about: fun, friendliness, ‘banter,’ and hundreds of whiskeys.” —James Kemp,Bartender, the Finnieston Bar & Restaurant
China The 1515 West Chophouse & Bar, 1218 Yan’an Middle Road, Jing An Kerry Centre, West Nanjing Road, Shanghai. “It’s an American bar and chop house with an old-film feel, and dark green leather couches. They’re heavy on classic cocktails and whiskey, and for awhile they had their own label with Evan Williams bourbon.”—Theo Watt, founder, Drink magazine, Shanghai
Japan M’s Crux, Tsubaki Building B1, 1-7-1 Kaji-cho, Tokyo 101-0044. “The owner is a formally trained Japanese chef so they’re constantly putting out some of the sickest traditional inspired Japanese food from their postage stamp-sized kitchen till 5 a.m. Their ice game is on point. They have a great collection of Japanese whiskeys. It has this feel like you’re hanging out in your grandparents’ basement if they were hip Tokyoites in the 1970s. It has all the underpinnings of an izakaya but it’s decidedly modern and international perhaps without even knowing it. I often tell the owner that he had better come to New York City and start a bar with me because if not I’m just straight-up ripping him off. I’m serious too!”—Frank Cisneros, former bartender, Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo; bartender, Dram/The Shanty; co-owner, The Drink
USA Multnomah Whiskey Library, 1124 Southwest Alder Street, Portland “The first time I walked into this bar I literally said, ‘I bet this is what heaven looks like for whiskey drinkers.’ Tommy Klus did an amazing job of putting this program together and the space is simply breathtaking. The whiskey selection alone would be worth the flight, but put it all together and I would be hard-pressed to find another bar that I would travel farther to enjoy.”—Dave Newman, Owner, Pint + Jigger Honolulu
The Silver Dollar, 1761 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky “I’ve never been to Louisville just to go to the Silver Dollar, but if I did nothing else, going here would make it worth the trip. Owner Larry Rice is a very special fellow. The first time I walked in, I thought ‘Oh, somebody made a bar for me.’ There was great music on, they have one of the most impressive American whiskey selections I’ve ever seen, everyone is really nice, it’s low key and comfortable, and the food is good. It’s everything I care about in a bar.” — Morgan Schick, creative director, The Bon Vivants, San Francisco.
For more mature drinking advice, order a copy of Where Bartenders Drink here.