Best Whisky Bars in Asia
Once the pastime of distinguished Western gentleman, whisky appreciation has taken off in all corners of the world and amongst all types of people, particularly in Asia, which is now one of the leading regions in global whisky sales. As General Manager of La Maison du Whisky in Singapore, Jeremy Moreau explains, “Today, because of growing demand in emerging markets, such as China, India and generally speaking Asia, whisky distilleries are scrambling to produce more to satisfy the demand.” This demand has also led to a profusion of bars and lounges across Asia that pander to the desires of whisky aficionados. These are just a few of the best bars in Asia to enjoy a dram of your favorite whisky.
La Maison du Whisky
Singapore’s foremost experts on whisky and fine spirits have a fully stocked bar that includes over 700 types of whiskies for the discerning or just plain curious connoisseur. Bottles range from best-selling single malts like Lagavulin and Yamazaki to rare collector’s bottles such as the coveted Macallan 1951. As General Manager Jeremy Moreau says, “There is a wealth of whiskies out there and if you listen to the people at whisky shops such as ours, you can discover some truly interesting whiskies from distilleries or countries that you wouldn’t normally suspect.” Sample a dram at one of the regular tasting sessions or dine al fresco amongst the warm-wood tones, mellow jazz tunes and gleaming rows of bottles. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at this intimate boutique can also answer any questions you may have about all things whisky.
80 Mohamed Sultan Rd. #01-10 Singapore
Tel +65 6733 0059 www.whisky.sg
Relatively new on the Singapore whisky scene, the Auld Alliance has everything a proper whisky bar should. From dark wooden accents to candelabra style lighting to wall to wall whisky bottles, this is a dram lovers dream. The bar features over 1,000 whiskies, 600 of which are single malt scotches. Whiskey connoisseurs can choose bottles or glasses of coveted whiskies such as Bunnahabhain 18 year old, 1987 Yoichi, or the discontinued Dunville’s Special Irish Whisky from the 1930s. Whisky lovers have the option to sit at one of the 15 seats surrounding the sleek, polished black bar, or one of the leather couches in the adjacent side room. There is also a private room where cigar smoking is not only allowed, but encouraged. Besides superb whiskies, the bar also features champagnes and spirits, a French Absinthe fountain, and a spherical ice cube maker so drinks stay cold without becoming watered down.
Chijmes 30 Victoria Street #01-08 Singapore
Tel +65 6337 2201
Hong Kong whisky fans in the know head to sleek and stylish Angel’s Share in Central to peruse the 100 whiskies on offer at the bar, and dine on fine pub- influenced fare like Shepherd’s Pie and fish and chips. The cushy, dark leather couches and low lighting create an atmosphere perfect for imbibing rich, smoky whiskies in fine company. Owner and whisky connoisseur Charlene Dawes comments, “Traditionally whisky bars are perceived as a gentlemen’s hangout, but we see this changing as about 30 odd percent of our customer base is female. The age group is also getting younger with late twenties upwards.” The shining centrepiece here is the 180L barrel of single cask 20 year-old Macallan 1990 that sits in the middle of the room, and can be tapped into on order. Another draw for veterans and newbie’s alike is Angel Share’s whisky flights, four glasses of selected whiskies from your choice of region.
2/F Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Rd., Central, Hong Kong
Tel +852 2805 8388 www.angelsshare.hk
Distil Lounge and Bar
Whisky lovers in Bangkok can join the well-heeled glitterati at Distil, a swanky bar restaurant, and whisky lounge located on the 63rd floor of the Dome at lebua. Their extensive list of single malt whiskies includes classics like the Royal Salute 100 Cask, which PR Manager Jittranuch Mingkwan, describes asa “Long-lasting, fruity sweetness leading to a mellow, smoky oakiness”, and the Glenlivet 25 Years single malt, both of which are sold exclusively at The Dome at lebua only in Thailand. Each whisky order also comes with a side of authentic Scottish water. Accompany your favourite whisky with decadent oysters from the horseshoe shaped, marble Oyster Bar, or savour a smooth, authentic Cuban cigar with your dram on the open-air Cigar Terrace, which has top-rate panoramic views over the Chao Praya River. Throw in textured wooden room dividers, classy mirror and glass accents and loungey jazz and deep house beats, and it’s easy to see why whisky drinkers looking for a spot of refinement and luxury choose Distil as their preferred whisky lounge.
The Dome at lebua, Silom Rd, Bangrak, Bangkok
Tel +66 2624 9555 www.lebua.com
While many whisky bars have an exclusive ‘gentleman’s club’ feel, the cosy Helmsdale Scottish Pub in Tokyo exuberates casual affability with its smiling staff, European football matches playing on the television above the bar, and rustic Scottish themed decor. But don’t let the small pub vibe fool you; whisky is serious business here. Specializing in Scotch whiskies, the wall-to-wall bar displays over 300 whiskies from the Highland and Lowland regions as well as the islands of Islay, Skye and Orkney. For those with a taste for the rare, The Helmsdale has dozens of hard-to-find whiskies such as the spicy, yet fruity Ardbeg Chieftain’s 12 Year and the exclusive Lochside 1981 from the now defunct Lochside distillery.
Minami-Aoyama Mori Blvd. 2F 7-13-12, Tokyo
Tel +81 3 3486 4220 www.helmsdale-fc.com
Newcomer Luna Negra is a welcome addition for Jakarta’s whisky enthusiasts. With 70 whiskies on offer, tipplers have their choice of single malts, blends, and top shelf whiskies from all over the world in this modern, New York style bar and restaurant. The exposed brick walls, dark wooden tables and long marble bar add an elegant ambience to this dram-worthy locale in the heart of Jakarta. Sip on a velvety glass of Glenlivet 15 while indulging in delectable Italian fare. Or sample a fine Japanese single malt, gently chilled with a unique spherical ice cube that melts ever so gradually, retaining the rich flavour of the whisky and preventing it from getting too watery. With a wide range of whiskies from all over the world, experienced bartenders, and winning décor, it is certain that Luna Negra will be a favourite with Jakarta urbanites with a yen for ‘the water of life’.
Plaza Bapindo, Citibank Building, Ground FloorJalan Jendral Sudirman Kav. 54-55 Jakarta Selatan
Tel +62 21 2995 0077 www.lunanegra.co.id