Whisky Magazine Issue 6
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The Big Apple has some star whisky bars as tried and tasted by Dave Broom
Not surprisingly, rock singer Jim Morrison's refrain: "Show me the way to the next whisky bar" kept raging in my head as I tramped the streets of New York searching for that very thing. Actually, it's a ridiculously
Trying to find the best whisky bars in Kabul would be a test, but New York? This place is drinkers' heaven.
So thumbs up to P. J. Clarke's, Sweet & Vicious and some dim place down a back street in SoHo. I asked the name, but the Knob Creek Bourbon was so large I forgot.
These were great bars, but my mission was to find ones dedicated to whisky. That's how I ended up outside a scruffy door on 2nd Avenue, peering at a tiny brass plaque that read, ‘Malt Whisky Club'. I rang a bell, was let into a corridor... rang another bell... and was allowed in. By this time I was thinking I'd stumbled onto the set of a Scorcese movie; that upstairs would be a red plush room with goodfellas laughing around tables, listening to opera or The Rolling Stones.
Instead there was silence and a golden glow. Behind the low bar that snaked around the far wall were 280 bottles of malt. The owner, Koichi Hiraiwa, smiled, bowed and said: "Welcome to the Hole in One."
It still remains the strangest bar I've ever been to. To be accurate, it's not a bar. It is a shrine to whisky, known only to a few expatriate Japanese businessmen – and the odd Scottish distiller.
As Mr Hiraiwa talks of how, in 1986, he started business, I scan the gantry. For every well-known brand, there...