If you love whisky, and a touch of old-world charm, then you’ll no doubt enjoy a visit to the recently opened ThirtySix Bar & Co, which marries the glamour of the Art Deco era with the simplicity of the Highball that defined the golden age of cocktails.
Located on the second floor of Amber Lodge on Hollywood Road, the spacious bar oozes 1920s nostalgia, with an elegant interior inspired by luxury train carriages from the period, which proved to be popular settings in which to enjoy Highball cocktails while travelling across Europe.
Brass-accented tiles, deep-set leather booths with marble table tops, and carriage shelves stacked with vintage leather suitcases help to create an authentic setting in which guests can indulge in a selection of classic elixirs with a modern twist, and a series of elevated Highballs. Those who appreciate tradition might enjoy the Highlander ($140) which blends BenRiach 10 year old single malt whisky with house-made soda, and the El Mismo ($100), a Highball created with Diplomatico Planas Rum and house-made lime zest soda.
More adventurous punters, however, might be tempted to try the 21st Century California ($140), which mixes San Baltazar’s mezcal with the subtle bitterness of dark chocolate, and is inspired by the 20th Century Limited train that once plied the rails between New York and Chicago from 1902 to 1967. Whatever cocktail you go for, chances are it comes with a pretty fascinating backstory – which leads us to our favourite, the B for Mayor’s Boilermaker ($120).
This must-order concoction (pictured above) is made from Becherovka herbal liqueur, Rebel Yell Kentucky straight bourbon, thyme syrup, and lemon juice, and topped off with a devilishly satisfying layer of beer foam. According to the bar’s owner, Philippe Nguyen, the cocktail is an elegant take on the heady favourite drink of Antonín Josef Čermák, Chicago’s first foreign-born mayor, who loved to drink the bitter liqueur from his native Czechoslovakia, paired with a beer.
And the creativity doesn’t stop there, as guests who prefer to mix their own Highball recipe are invited to enter The Vault, a luxurious, neon-bathed bottle keep and spirit showcase. Here they can choose from a selection of fine and rare spirits to purchase as shots, or better still, buy a whole bottle which they can keep there permanently under their name.
Other distinctive features of the venue include a Trunk Bar, which is inspired by vintage Louis Vuitton travel luggage and is dedicated to whisky tastings, and a private room that caters for up to ten guests and features a retro style Japanese advertisement. Our favourite decorative statement, however, is a sprawling painting which covers the back wall (pictured above) and adds a rather clever twist on the famous Martini & Rossi Vermouth Bianco poster from the Art Deco era. Cheeky as it may be, the art doesn’t lie – the cocktails here are divine!
The ThirtySix Bar & Co, 2/F, 23 Hollywood Road, Central, (+852) 2336 4498