It’s World Whisky Day This Weekend So We've Covered Venues Across Australia & New Zealand Celebrating
Whisk(e)y, the dram that never stops giving with its timeless, unpretentious and inclusive nature. It’s the kind of spirit that is shared to make memories, its strenuous process an ode to a hard day’s work never failing to prove that the best things in life are shared. Built off unrestrained appreciation for the water of life, World Whisky Day comes about once again this Saturday May 18.
To celebrate, we’ve curated a list of the finest venues in each city across Australia & New Zealand that are hosting celebrations for you to take part in for one of the whisk(e)y worlds most anticipated events of the year.
This cosy, hard-to-find nook nestled in a laneway of Surry Hills delivers on the goods when it comes to serving those with a penchant for fine Japanese whiskies. Tokyo Bird does not shy from indulging in the festivities for World Whisky Day, their annual tradition of whisk(e)y tasting flights returns for its fifth consecutive year. The carefully curated line-up features a selection of whiskies that are sure to satiate the tastes of novices and enthusiasts alike.
The base flight ($40) includes all the Suntory favourites, starting with a Suntory Toki highball, Chita Single Grain, Hakushu Distillers Reserve and Yamazaki Distillers Reserve. A set, aptly named Baller World Flight ($400) will give whisky aficionados access to some highly desired tastings – the collective value of the bottles equating to almost $6000. Tokyo Bird are taking bookings only, so make sure to check out the site and secure a seat for you and your friends.
Address: Commonwealth St & Belmore Ln, Surry Hills NSW 2010
The Doss House
Tucked away in The Rocks, the sandstone laden walls of Sydney’s most approachable whisky bar is a tribute to simple pleasures done well. The warmth of The Doss House is like a welcoming hug with homely chesterfield leather chairs, cosy booths and Irish charm to accompany a whisky to warm the chest.
The Doss House are set to relaunch their whisk(e)y flights on World Whisky Day with the inclusion of a Japanese whisky flight, a Top Shelf flight and an Irish whiskey collection which will feature Greenspot, a non-age statement Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, sláinte!
Address: 77/79 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000
NOLA Smokehouse & Bar
A little piece of the French Quarter in the heart of bustling Barangaroo, the Southern American inspired bar couldn’t be more appropriate of a place to celebrate World Whisky Day given its extensive American Whiskey collection of 700 bottlings, guests will be spoiled for choice. Though if that number overwhelms you, NOLA Smokehouse and Bar are set to unveil a new whiskey lounge this Saturday – which will offer 80 new bottles of American Whiskeys.
Most exciting is the addition of one of America’s rarest bourbon whiskey’s which will be homed as the only bottle available in the Southern Hemisphere. The 1990 O.F.C from Buffalo Trace is officially NOLA’s top shelf tipple, at $750 per 30ml nip. And with good reason - the 1990 vintage was aged for 28 years and only one barrel was produced, resulting in a limited 63 bottles available world-wide. It would be worth the visit for this drop alone, but don’t ask for any tasting notes as you won’t receive any for this vintage.
Address: Level 1, One International Towers Sydney Cnr Barangaroo Ave &, Shipwright Walk, Barangaroo NSW 2000
Influenced by its neighbourhood in Haymarket, the laneway bar is Sydney’s new “be seen” venue with a long list of whiskies on offer. They take their whisky so seriously that they have dedicated thirty bottle lockers for storage to tenants that wish to keep their personal dram of choice safe between visits, an exclusivity that has been created for a tailored service. Bancho is catering to those that are inclined to a dairy good time (pun intended) as their debut into World Whisky Day festivities indulges in a whisky and cheese pairing or whisky and chocolate pairing that has been selected to highlight various notes in each whisky respectfully. An impressive date night if it’s on the cards this Saturday, make sure to book in advance- firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 10 Thomas Ln, Haymarket NSW 2000
Whisky & Alement
For almost a decade Whisky and Alement have been giving Melbourne an impressive supply of tasty drams with their collection featuring over 1000 whiskies. This venue is an absolute must for die-hard whisky devotees. Their dedication to the ‘water of life’ flows through the walls and it’s no surprise that the bar would go as far as to have a bespoke whisky room where patrons can find some of Australia’s rarest collectible whiskies, it’s also home to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s biggest range of single cask offerings by the glass. And finally, an in-house bottle shop that encourages the try-before-you-buy approach (in the bar of course).
This World Whisky Day, Whisky and Alement are partnering with hop heroes Brooklyn Brewery to celebrate the good in grain. Expect a keg-on-wheels festival cart setup for your boilermaker whisky pairing pleasure - with access to over 1000 whiskies, the options are limitless.
Address: 270 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
One of Melbourne’s finest forward thinking, new world whisky pioneers, Starward, are celebrating World Whisky Day just as the grain gods intended, in their distillery. All the signature whiskies will of course be showcased on the day, along with some innovative limited releases available for purchase exclusively to the lucky first few attendees.
Catch the travel bug by traversing around the world with Starward’s cleverly conceived sensory experience where there will be six different whiskies from six different countries to be discovered.
Address: 50 Bertie St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
The Boom Boom Room
Brisbane does not shy from reimagining a space for fun, especially when it comes to the team from Ghanem Group. What was formerly used as a bank basement with secure vaults have since been given a new “lease on life” as Brisbane’s whisky inspired destination The Boom Boom Room. The moody lighting, velvet laden décor and knowledgeable staff envelope the venue in premium experiences.
World Whisky Day may have been kicked up a notch with this Brisbane dwelling hosting an exclusive bottle service from the Whisky Vault. The selection includes the likes of Islay based ghost distillery, Port Ellen 17th Edition 37-Year-Old and is well worth the dram for $5500. Some bottles purchased will include an evening learning from a brand ambassador, and the bottle purchased is available for your enjoyment for three months with a unique key to your own vault.
Address: 49 Elizabeth St, Brisbane City QLD 4000
The Cobbler (Credit: Aimee Catt)
Another whisky treasure of Brisbane would be The Cobbler, and despite being on a main street this bar is hidden in plain sight. A back bar made of dreams, there are 400 whiskies from around the world at your disposal so expect the ladder to be gliding back and forth this Saturday with great enthusiasm. One day simply wasn’t enough to show appreciation for the world of whisky, for the entirety of this week each member of staff has designed a signature cocktail on BenRiach or GlenDronach for a bespoke menu in celebration of World Whisky Day.
Address: 7 Browning Street, West End, QLD, 4101
The Bowery (Credit: The Bowery)
Any bar that is inspired by the nightlife of New York must have a credited style - The Bowery draws from a downtown New York street where low-lit dive bars come in droves. Expect bare brick walls with the rustic fit-out of leather booths and dark wood framing a modest collection of spirits at the main bar.
An unassuming venue dedicated to top shelf styled cocktails, cosy up with signature list bespoke to GlenDronach and BenRiach running for a month from World Whisky Day.
Address: 676 Ann St, Brisbane City QLD 4003
Evolve Spirits Bar (Credit Adam Gibson)
Located on Hobart’s historic waterfront, the venue’s concept is somewhat educational in nature with upwards of 37 fossils on display dating from the Cambrian period 550 million years to an 8ft tall, 50,000 year-old Russian cave bear, prehistoric tortoise shells, Mammoth tusk and Triceratops nose horn. Evolve Spirits Bar collects more than rare historical pieces however, the team curate the likes of one-off bottlings of Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, pre-phylloxera cognac dating over 100 years old and hard-to-attain releases from Tim Duckett’s Heartwood whisky and Sullivan’s Cove.
In celebration of the timeless dram, Evolve Spirits Bar will be launching a selection of new whisky flights which will include a plethora of expertly curated bottlings. They will feature the likes of Lark X Wolf Willows Stout Cask Finish (Limited release) in the Tasmanian Whisky flight and Michel Couvreur XII 12-Year-Old Pedro Ximinez Cask matured in France for the World Whisky flight amongst many others in the Unpeated Scotch Whisky flight and Peated Scotch Whisky selection. If there’s anywhere that could be more suitable of a place to celebrate World Whisky Day, Evolve is it.
Address: 18 Hunter St, Hobart TAS 7000
Lark Distillery Bill Lark’s inclination for whisky and an idea that sprung during a trout fishing trip in the Tasmanian highlands beared the water of life that is Lark, placing Australia firmly on the map in the world of whisky.
Lark will be running business as usual during World Whisky Day, though there will be a special international whisky tasting flight at the Lark Cellar Door & Whisky Bar, a selection of single malts from unexpected countries such as India and Switzerland (amongst other notables) will be exhibited to guests tasting pleasure for $32.
Address: 14 Davey St, Hobart TAS 7000
A boutique bar focused on highlighting the best on offer in Tasmania, the backbar is lit up with a wealth of premium spirits proving once again, Tasmania knows how to make the good stuff. The combination of distinctive pressed tin panels and dark chestnut wood bar top establishes an air of sophistication in Battery Point.
Society Salamanca are putting on a day long happy hour for whisky enthusiasts this Saturday, with offerings such as whisky tasting platters from $30, whisky and cheese tasting platters from $40 and oyster/Laphroaig shots for $12, to name a few. There’s plenty more on offer at Society Salamanca, it would be worth your time to head down and find out what else is in store.
Address: 22 Montpelier Retreat, Battery Point TAS 7004
Bibliotheca A unique combination of books and booze is Adelaide’s latest hospitality lovechild, Bibliotheca. The space is laden with paperback and hard cover literary works amongst a plethora of whiskies that envelopes patrons with an intimacy found only at such a place as this one.
Bibliotheca have teamed up with Beam Suntory to create bespoke World Whisky Day sour cocktails, where patrons will have three varietals to choose from. There will also be 20% off all whisky flights in which you can have the bar staff select for you or create your own flight, only provision – make sure to choose from three different countries.
Address: 1/27 Gresham St, Adelaide SA 5000
Suzie Wong Descending an unsuspecting staircase into a Hong-Kong influenced speakeasy may be exactly what is needed to shake up World Whisky Day. The dimly lit Adelaide local focuses around mythological Asian figure Sun Wukong in their tailored narrative style list, though it’s hard to look past what could be Adelaide’s largest whisky collection with the bar boasting over 400 whiskies.
As much as $2 oysters with any whisky purchase will entice one to scream out “shut up and take my money” the team should be applauded for their philanthropic approach. The instalment of a pinball machine from Naked Grouse will be having all takings from the whole week around World Whisky Day donated to support mental health in hospitality – a well-deserved reason to visit Suzie Wong this Saturday.
Address: 22 Gilbert Place Basement, Adelaide SA 5000
Malt and Juniper
An impressive back bar proves that big ideas can come in small spaces. Malt and Juniper makes for a sensual vibe when accounting for the dark tones, moody lighting, enveloping booths and top shelf tipples to take your fancy. Covering the goods for World Whisky Day, Malt and Juniper will be offering three different whisky sours from the selection of Laphroaig Select, Jim Beam Double Oak and Connemara Irish. If whisky neat is more your style, they are also dropping a brand-new list of whisky flights, covering the regions from Australian, World, Scottish and Japanese ranging from $35-$55.
Address: 18 Peel St, Adelaide SA 5000
Goody Two’s This Perth venue has a particular taste for highly sought-after Japanese whiskies, and at no surprise with consideration their muse is the underbelly of Japanese “after work” culture. Expect lush velvet couches, a depth of colour adorned on the walls and over 100 Japanese whiskies available for your liking, it establishes a foundation for an easy afternoon tipple.
On World Whisky Day, Goody Two’s will be serving up free jerky with any whisky purchased.
Address: 480 Hay St, Perth WA 6000
Helvetica Helvetica could be considered a timeless venue granted it has been long established since its opening in 2009, and still a crowd favourite to this day. Favouring spirits, the bar is known for its strong whisky game- a compelling example as to why this space is appropriate for those looking at a dynamic choice in drams for World Whisky Day.
Drawing from all everyone can talk about on the internet, Helvetica will be hosting a Game of Thrones tasting, an appropriate means to celebrate the finale of the TV series with a day dedicated to a noble grain spirit. In addition to this, there will be a World Whisk(e)y flight available and a bottle keep giveaway, just purchase any dram over $20 and go into the draw to win a bottle of Helvetica’s prized whisky.
Address: Rear, 101 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
Varnish on King
Varnish on King has created a whiskey bar with American roots, inspired by traditional New York Speakeasys. The underground venue is nestled below one of Perth’s heritage listed buildings, originally built in 1921, with timber furniture and ambient lighting, the atmosphere in Varnish on King will have guests reaching for the best from their extensive collection of bourbons and whiskey’s that may be unique to any other contender on the American whiskey scene in Perth.
Their whiskey and bacon flights have become a crowd favourite in Perth, pairing some of the finest American whiskies on offer with drool-worthy bacon strips. Yep, it’s a thing.
Address: 75 King St, Perth WA 6000
The Trader Bar Although temperatures are still tropical as ever up in sunny Darwin, there is still more than enough reason to be sipping on a whisky this Saturday. The Trader Bar may arguably be one of the best places to get your whisky fix this weekend. The venue speaks volumes with its white pillars and ceilings, polished concrete floors and a sophisticated cocktail setup bringing a new life to Darwin city.
Not shying from any opportunity to celebrate World Whisky Day, The Trader Bar will be serving up Starward NOVA old fashions and whisky sours for $15. If there are some die-hard Glenfiddich fans in the neighbourhood this Saturday, The Trader Bar have an $850 bottle of Glenfiddich 30-Year-Old being poured at $30 a dram – a smooth drop to spill, we’d recommend sipping on this Speyside whisky neat.
Address: 3 Harriet Pl, Darwin City NT 0800
The Jefferson With over 600 whiskies to boast of there’s only one logical watering hole to call Auckland’s local favourite. The Jefferson's basement space is upmarket chic; the dimly lit space exudes a certain James Bond aesthetic about it with fine details to be found in the floor and ceiling mirroring one another and geometric light fit-out throughout the venue.
This year The Jefferson are hosting a Game of Thrones tasting, just in time for the season finale. All the greats of the Diageo umbrella feature in this noble line-up. Expect the likes of Lagavulin, Talisker, Oban, Cardhu, Dalwhinnie, The Singleton, Royal Lochnagar and Clynelish to represent the great houses of Westeros this Saturday. Tickets are $80 per person and can be booked in via email at email@example.com.
Address: 7 Fort Ln, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Corowa Whisky Distillery & Junee Chocolate Factory
An unexpected yet welcomed surprise for whisky enthusiasts can be found in the heart of the Riverina. The Corowa Whisky Distillery and Junee Chocolate Factory owned by the Druce family, have a very deep connection to grain.
The Corowa Whisky Distillery was the answer to breathing life back into the Corowa Flour Mill that had been abandoned for close to 40 years. The Corowa Shire Council seeking a means to prevent the historic building from becoming a decrepit shell, sold the land for a hefty $1. Yes, you read correctly, this rural whisky haven was purchased by the Druce family for $1. The first batch of whisky from Corowa Distilling Co was distilled in March 2016. The products have been completely sourced from local barley and matured in wine barrels obtained from neighbouring Rutherglen and Barossa Valley regions.
Skip two hours past Wagga Wagga to the sleepy town of Junee and you’ll find another beautifully restored Flour Mill (see the connection we mentioned about grain?) buzzing with tourists lining up to make their own giant chocolate freckle and savouring certified organic confectionaries. However, we are here to talk whisky, and if there’s a spirit incentive to visit ask the staff if you can sip on one of the many whiskies under lock and key in the shiny glass cabinet- I believe there may be some Islay favourites such as Ardbeg Corryvreckan amongst the collection.
For World Whisky Day Corowa Distilling Co will be hosting a tour run by Head Distiller, Beau Schilg at 11.30AM and 2.30PM as well as guided tasting sessions being run all day to sample all the current whisky expressions developed. There will also be a selection of “in process” whiskies available for an exclusive tasting including unreleased and still maturing expressions that will sure to send enthusiasts mouths watering for more. At the Junee Factory, managing director Dean Druce will be running a Chocolate & Whisky matching experience for those seeking something with a sweet disposition. What better reason to escape the lights of the city and celebrate a day of being blessed by the grain gods.
Address: Corowa Whisky Distillery 20-24 Steel St, Corowa NSW 2646
Junee Chocolate Factory 45-61 Lord St, Junee NSW 2663
No matter the place, whether it’s in a bustling whisky bar, being inspired in a distillery or simply in the comfort of your own home- raise a glass to the men and women that have brought whisk(e)y to become a connecting source to a life spent well. And however you say it, sláinte, kanpai, prost, skål, gan bei, cheers- here’s to you as well, the avid appreciators of whisk(e)y.