When Malt & Juniper opened in early July, the first drink co-owner Matt Holding served was a 27-year-old Laphroaig. “That was a surprise,” he admits, “but it shows the crowd that we get through here, I’m selling a lot of neat whisky.”

That whisky comes from all over the world, stowed on an extensive back bar with room for 260 bottles. It’s so tall Holding needs a ladder to reach the uppermost rows. Because the bottles are arranged geographically rather than by price, the top shelf is home to an eclectic collection. “As you can see, Johnnie Walker Black is up there,” Holding says as he points to the distinctive bottle that sits a row above a Japanese whisky that will set you back $200 a shot (that'd be the Yamazaki 18-year-old Mizunara cask).

Lower your gaze slightly and you’ll discover a small selection of rums and agave spirits before coming across two rows of gin, the other of Malt & Juniper’s signature offerings.

As well as the classics, the drinks menu includes a selection of gin-based cocktails, whiskey-based cocktails and high quality boilermakers that are meant to be savoured – think Starward Wine Cask with Mismatch Pale.

On the other side of the sleek green marble bar, dim lighting reveals plush booths that are dangerously comfortable and stools for those who want to be closer to the action. It’s the work of designer Sans-Arc Studio, which worked on sister venue Alfred’s Bar two doors over. The dimensions are similar, and Malt & Juniper also has a mezzanine, but where Alfred’s channels the pub front bar, the new venue adds a level of sophistication.

Holding and co-owner Scott Quick initially planned on having DJs on the weekends, but discovered that the proposed DJ booth at the end of the bar is prime real estate. Now it’s the perfect spot to sit over a dram of whisky and watch the people of Adelaide passing by.

Malt & Juniper
18 Peel Street Adelaide
Hours:
Tues to Thu 4pm–12am
Fri & Sat 4pm–2am
Sun & Mon closed