MELBOURNE | Whisky Den opened in 2016, modelled after a hybrid of the tiny ‘yokocho’ alley bars of Japan and the Hutong bars of Beijing. While not quite as small as those bars (there’s a capacity of 40 across the front space, rear, and mezzanine), it certainly captures the spirit of them.
It’s an intimate space, with a focus on showcasing the best whisky at all price points, from around the world. Almost 400 bottles of the stuff line the back and side of the bar, tended by friendly, and extremely knowledgeable staff with a real passion for the golden elixir.
The menu is sorted by region, starting in Australia before moving on to Ireland, Canada, the USA, Japan, India, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Scotland. There’s a small selection of classic whisky cocktails (the old fashioned and Sazerac are excellent), beer, wine, and other spirits rounding things off.
There’s a genuine desire by the bartenders to get you drinking something that’s right for you. On my most recent visit, I overheard conversations being had by those behind the bar with seasoned experts discussing rare bottles, and with someone new to whisky, looking to try the spirit for the first time. Both patrons were made to feel equally welcome, without an air of pretention.
For food, it’s a small selection of snacks Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen next door.
2B/27 Russell Street
Sun – Thu: 12:00pm to 12:00am
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 1:00am