Christina Hendricks —the buxom super-secretary from Mad Men — certainly broke down a few of the stigmas surrounding whisky-drinking-types when she became brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker a couple of years ago. Albeit we reckon new Shoreditch bar Black Rock might be a frontrunner to quash even more stereotypes in the world of whisky —sans the sexy redhead.
Tom Aske and Tristan Stephenson, the duo behind London’s Worship Street Whistling Shop and drinks brand Aske Stephenson, have unveiled their exciting new bar, Black Rock. Dedicated entirely to whisky, Black Rock will hold over 250 bottles from around the world, shifting the focus from price, over to the flavour of this notoriously stigmatised gentleman’s drink.
Because, as we’re all too-aware, there is still that branding that attaches itself to the punter, rather than the diversity of its flavour: a woman who drinks whisky? A 23 year ordering a neat? Isn’t this the drink of choice for the mature, arrogant for the older gentleman in the corner over there?
No. You can forget those stuffy stereotypes and order your whisky as you like —bosom, bald or a brash young thing. Stripping things back to basics, Black Rock’s simple menu of whisky cocktails and three-tier price point for a dram, seeks to inspire and educate patrons about whisky, as well as really raise their spirits (excuse the pun) when it comes to rediscovering this commonly inaccessible spirit.
And they’ve certainly dialled impression levels up to 11 — the focus (aside from the display cabinet along the length of the room showcasing said 250+ bottles) is the 18ft, 185 year old oak tree-trunk that doubles up as a bar workstation and cocktail ageing system.
The inventive installation has two channels that have been carved into the length of the trunk with one lined with American charred oak and the other toasted European oak. Visible to guests beneath a glass top, the channels will age two whisky cocktails and then able to be poured directly from one end of the trunk. Not only is this way cool, but eco-friendly in terms of bottle wastage. Nice one.
Moreover, a ‘roaming’ bartender will mix and serve drinks amongst guests who will be able to sit around each side and sip on their wee dram, whilst taking in the modern stripped-back space, clean lines and hip-hop, electro-funk soundtrack.
Due to launch later in 2016 is their Concierge Service —in order to continue familiarising consumers with whisky, the service will offer tutored tastings, purchasing advice and bespoke trips to whisky regions around the world.
Christina Hendricks may have convinced a few of us shy-types to step up the confidence and order this famous tipple, but we reckon after a night at Black Rock, we’ll all be ordering tumblers of dram and outnumbering the ladies quaffing wine and men drinking beer.
Black Rock, 9 Christopher Street, London EC2A 2BS