Rooftop bar season may be over, but Aucklanders seeking destination decadence have just been awarded the perfect winter alternative. A new whisky-themed pop-up on the Auckland waterfront promises the perfect space for celebrating the finer things in life. For six weeks only, imbibers visiting Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill will delight at the bar’s transformation into The Whisky Lounge, offering premium whisky, live entertainment and an award-winning menu.
Open every day, lunchtime until late, guests can nestle into plush booths and relish the 12-year-old and 18-year-old Whisky Flight Tasters paired with gourmet chocolate bites. If whisky isn't quite your scene, Perrier-Jouet Champagne is on offer by the glass. A dedicated Chivas Regal menu provides the perfect meal pairings - from cheese boards, dessert platters, shared bites and the famously decadent seafood delicacies which took out top place at the 2017 Hospitality Awards. Think Duck croquette and truffled aioli or Chargrilled tiger prawn, chorizo and marinated tomato or Vietnamese dumplings, prawn, sweetcorn, squid and soy.
Naturally, this experience would not complete be without premium live entertainment. A top selection of DJs will be performing weekly in The Whisky Lounge, including Peter Urlich, Nathan Haines vinyl DJ, Murry Sweetpants, Grant Marshall, Dan Sing as well as singer Petra Rijnbeek.
Prefer the finer things in life? Treat yourself to a bottle of Chivas, which the friendly staff will store behind the bar for you to enjoy for the duration of The Whisky Lounge pop-up. You’ll receive a number relating to your bottle, and can request the service of staff by simply popping the card in the stand on your table. Voila! So, whether you’d like it served with ice, Aqua Panna, or splits, the bespoke bottle service is available with the 12-year-old, Exta or 18-year-old Chivas Regal varietals.
We tapped Bar Manager Adrian Bridge for his hints on how to impress your friends with your whisky knowledge, and his favourite way to enjoy this popular tipple.
Describe one of the signature cocktails imbibers can try when visiting The Whisky Lounge pop-up?
I would personally recommend the Aberdeen Flip as it’s something a little different that a lot of people wouldn’t have tried before. The combination of Chivas Regal 18Yo, Oloroso sherry, cherry jam, egg and bitters leaves you with a rich and warming cocktail. You end up with a creamy texture and an almost caramel flavour from the Chivas Whisky and sherry together.
What flavours do you feel work best with whisky?
It really depends on the whisky itself. However, I would say that younger whiskies go well with lighter styles of the citrus variety and less complex flavours. When it comes to the older whiskies, they work better with flavours like bitters, sweet vermouths, more savoury flavours in general dark chocolate and coffee.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy whisky?
I’m really enjoying the Chivas Regal Extra. I feel sometimes it’s best not to overcomplicate things, so I like a healthy serve with a large ice cube.
Is there much of a difference in taste depending on the whisky’s age?
Every whisky is fantastic in its own way, the older whiskies generally have more depth and character. However, the younger whiskies are a little lighter on the palate.
What are some buzz words to add to our repertoire when talking about whisky?
Tobacco, cinnamon stick, caramel, toffee,
Which Whisky Workshop are you most looking forward to and why? What can imbibers expect from each?
I’m looking forward to the Whisky Lab. I think it will be fantastic showing people just how blended whiskies can be a good as the single malts out there. Imbibers can expect to learn about the intricacies of blended whisky and appreciation of the multiple layers of flavour each style/age.
What's more, The Whisky Lounge will be holding a series of weekly Whisky Workshops for those seeking to upskill or learn the fine art of whiskey blends and cocktail creations. All will be conducted by Chivas Spirit Ambassador Logan Demmy. The classes will kick off on the 15th June with the Whisky Lab where guests can create their own signature blends, and the full list of workshops is available here.
Sound like your scene? The Whisky Lounge is located at 99 Quay Street (Level 1), Auckland Central. Don't let this opportunity slip by!
Head here for more.