The Baxter Inn
The hardworking team from the Shady Pines Saloon serve up top-notch drinks at this whisky-focused bar. In true New York or Boston bar tradition, it's difficult to find. Located at in the basement of a building at the back of an unmarked alleyway off Clarence Street, this drinking den – full of character and people – is an unexpected surprise for the first time visitor.
The dark, linear interior features a bar that runs almost the full 10 metres of its length. It’s one of the best and most well-stocked and tiered bars we’ve seen for a while. The initially overwhelming list of almost 800 whiskies (featuring everything from Talisker 10-year-old to Glenfiddich 12-year-old) can be deciphered by the helpful staff.
The menu isn't limited to whisky, though. It also includes all the usual spirits and cocktails; and large beer and wine lists. The crew is just as happy to mix up a killer negroni as they are something more bespoke, like a Talisker 10 Sour.
True connoisseurs should head for the Whisky Room concealed in the cellar. It stocks more exclusive whiskies, and provides a suitably intimate atmosphere to enjoy them in.
The service is friendly and knowledgeable and the atmosphere remains intimate and tightly packed. There's no food, but as Shady Pines offers free peanuts, Baxter Inn offers complimentary pretzels.