I’ll state the obvious – London is a huge city. With so many people and so many places to go, dine, learn, etc. London is a city where there may just be something for everyone. If you happen to be a whisk(e)y lover, that place is Black Rock.
I figured somewhere like Black Rock had to exist among the many themed restaurants, bars and experiences that manage to survive here (disco yoga or junkyard putt-putt, anyone?). I was inspired to find it because today is Andrew’s 30th birthday (happy birthday!), and I wanted to take him somewhere neat this weekend to celebrate. Andrew enjoys a good whiskey, so Black Rock seemed like the perfect spot to go.
On a quiet street in Shoreditch, a lit up sign marks the stairs down to the subterranean bar. It’s a hole-in-wall, a small, dark room where there isn’t even room for a proper bar. The focal point is the long table that runs across one side of the room. Made from half an oak stump, the table has two “rivers” carved into it, for flavoring and aging whiskies. It is glass topped, so you can sip your whisky over whisky. It is pretty neat.
We sat at a table near the back. The staff at Black Rock are very friendly and knowledgable. It is clear they love what they do and are passionate about their whiskies. Our bartender explained that in lieu of a bar, they encourage patrons to get up and look through the three bookshelves along the wall, where all their whiskies are housed. Arranged by flavor profile, if you see a whisky you know you like, it is likely you’ll enjoy one on the shelf near it.
Andrew chose a Scottish whisky, Cragganmore, located near his American favorite, Four Roses, from the first bookshelf. Not being much of a whiskey drinker myself, I was completely lost. There is a lot more to learn about whisky than I ever realized! Figuring I may as well embrace my surroundings, I decided to go for the “table whisky,” the stream aged in the oak table without fruit.
The Cragganmore was really delicious, it tasted light and fresh. My table whiskey was also good, nice and oaky with a much more complex and deep flavor profile. I have no idea what I am talking about, but that’s my hot take! As someone who is not that into whiskey, it would have made sense for me to choose a less intense whiskey, but no regrets – I drank out of a boss oaken table!
We heard others in the bar talking about how much they enjoyed the “Cherry River.” I had toyed with ordering that instead, but feared it would be too sweet. Hearing this praise, we were inspired to try it, and ordered a glass to split. It was really interesting and not too sweet at all. If you’re less into whisky and up for something unique, definitely give this one a try.
If you’re looking for a London whisky bar, this is the place. A knowledgable staff, unique concept and show-stopping table, you’ll find a whisky or whiskey for all palates here!