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Issue 21 - Style and substance (The Rockwell)

Whisky Magazine Issue 21
February 2002


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Style and substance (The Rockwell)

Bourbon is the focus for London's hottest new style bar, The Rockwell in the Trafalgar Hotel. John Roberts brings you the lowdown on the English capital's hippest new hangout

London's never-ending hustle is a million miles away from the image of rural Kentucky, the laid-back home of bourbon, but southern sippin' whiskey is making a big noise in the city's fashionable centre.

In the beating heart of Trafalgar Square, the Trafalgar is very much a ‘theme' hotel – the theme, unusually enough, is simply comfort. The hotel's basement is an 80-seat organic restaurant, while the ground floor is the beautifully designed and supremely well-stocked Rockwell Bar, which offers an unparalleled range of bourbon in elegant surroundings.

The Rockwell aims to bring the sophistication to bourbon that has been afforded single malts over the last two decades; it's a complex drink with a massive range of flavours and styles, with something for most people to enjoy. The bar currently stocks somewhere between 80 and 100 classic bourbons, but consultant Jason Fendick adds: “We hope to eventually stock around 110.”

The drinks don't come cheap, but what would you expect in a London ‘style' bar? The prices are in keeping with the chic bar and the clientele it attracts. In many top London guides, it has been touted as ‘the new Met Bar', so it shouldn't come as a great shock to see a 50ml measure cost £6.50, rising to £48 for a slug of Evan Williams 23-year-old. As Jason points out though, it's priced in line with its
competitors. “We don't think we're overpriced against other style bars in London. And don't forget, drinking these bourbons is a sophisticat...

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