The City-based whisky mecca has gone BIG, expanding to launch an epic blending room and a three-room hotel, with some seriously pleasing whisky touches. That's talkin' our language, baby. On top of that (but actually below) is the second bar of the building which threw open its doors this summer. Like Dave Franco is to James, Black Rock Tavern is the lighter casual answer to its darker basement brother, and it definitely shouldn't be taken any less seriously.
With bamboo ceiling panels and some unusual manga-style wall art complete with a few boozy tongue-in-cheek touches, this ground floor bar has chill Japanese izakaya vibes. It's still about the whisky (phew!) but the menu centres on highballs and draught beers more than the hard-core stuff. Even still, our temptation took us to the cocktails. What can we say? The Bulleit based No Shake Sour got us shook with a savoury hit throwing shapes beneath the surface; they use Supasawa instead of citrus, and they've made it kick-ass and vegan-friendly with aquafaba instead of egg whites. Their Boulevardier gave a bitter hit but they made it tropical with a splash of passionfruit, but when we got to really craving a stiff one, we set our eyes on the back bar. It's a journey from smooth and sweet to smokey and peaty, and you can select by the dram. The crew are sh*t hot on their knowledge and the ultimate wing-men when it comes to hooking you up with your ideal whisky mate. Give the White Dog a go. It's young, but it's got the strength of Arnie in his heyday and will knock you off ya seat if you're not careful.