The back bar at Varnish On King can be a little daunting. The shelves in the low-lit basement are crammed with more than 100 bottles of whisky, bourbon and rye. But each staff member is part bartender, part educator. Ask a question and be prepared to take notes. Such is the fervour of the whisky love.

This is a great example of a bar preaching a drink-well philosophy – you’re as likely to walk away with scribbled whisky-book titles as you are a note of what you drank.

The bar draws a wide crowd as much for the food as for the whisky. Chef Danny Sanchez furthers the bias towards rye and bourbon with a menu of Cajun flavours. It’s all about bold dishes for sharing. You may also catch a whiff of bacon from behind the bar. That’d be the bacon and bourbon matching.

There’s great choice on the beer taps and in the fridges, as well as decent selection of wine.

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Updated: January 26th, 2023

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