The smell of fresh paint greets visitors to the new Black Rock Bristol. Its located on Marsh Street in the centre but feels hidden away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It’s a cold Monday evening and the red glow from the whisky bar is a welcome sight, pushing the door open to escape from the chill.
It’s a quiet evening inside the bar, but the soundtrack of RnB fills the empty space and creates a welcoming atmosphere.
The bar is stunning, but the real star of the show is the whisky. Bristol is Black Rock’s second location after London, and it’s easy to see why the brand is having such success.
Six cabinets labelled ‘balanced’, ‘fruit’, ‘spice, ‘smoke’, ‘fragrance’ and sweet’ line the left-hand wall.
“We display our whiskies by taste instead of price,” explains the barman. Black Rock’s spirits are intended to be affordable and cost either £5, £7 or £9 per dram, with around 20 per cent of the whiskies being labelled as “special price”. Each bottle has one, two or three dots (or a gold dot for the “special price” whiskies) to signify their cost.
The barman takes his time, explaining the whiskies and the differences between the selections inside each cabinet. It’s a real experience, and a luxurious one for the reasonable price of the drinks.
After some deliberation over all the choice, the barman recommends Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old Whisky, a sweet scotch double malt and Bulleit 95 Rye Frontier Whisky, an American spirit with spicier notes.
Both are perfect over ice, and the setting only adds to the near-perfect experience. The music is the perfect volume, the bar staff are attentive but not overbearing and there’s even a hint of nature in this urban location, courtesy of a huge tree next to the cabinets. Its leave sprawl over the ceiling, and its trunk serves old fashioned on-tap.
The bar doesn’t yet serve food, but it’s impressive whisky selection and delicious range of cocktails and highballs are enough to keep anyone warm for the night and throughout the entire winter.
Black Rock Bristol, 6 Marsh Street, BS1 4AX
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