Hot on the heels of the pop-up bar summer sensation that was Rum Shack (where #TeamCoco were spotted a few to many times), The Hedonist Project are back with another one-off concept that’s set to warm the winter cockles and ignite the taste buds of all that pass through its doors.
The Liquor Store & Whisky Parlour will provide the good folk of Leeds with the finest whiskies and most unique cocktails you’re likely to find in the North, and will reside in what is set to be The Hedonist Projects permanent fortress; the old Wok On site on Lower Briggate.
This rare breed of watering hole, which will switch themes every three months, is the only one of its kind in the UK, further cementing Leeds status as an envelope pushing city that champions change.
This exciting new venture is a collaboration between The Hedonist Project and Scotch whisky powerhouse Diageo, who have joined forces to curate the themed bar, which is set to feature a dreamy selection of 60 plus fine whiskies.
Each one will be offered by the dram, and if you take a shine to a particular tipple, some bottles can be purchased at retail price as take out only, to enjoy at home or to gift a loved one.
Scotch, scotch, scotch…
The interior of the bar itself will pay tribute to its Scottish heritage, with a warm and cosy ambience and rustic décor. Try to imagine a place where Ron Burgundy would happily sip a scotch on the rocks by a roaring fire in his smoking jacket, trading tales with Jim Morrison and you’re almost there. Well, almost.
There will be many weird and wonderful concoctions, all designed to catch the eye of even the most discerning whisky connoisseur; how does a Salted Caramel Rusty Nail, complete with a side-serving of Lagavulin fudge tickle your fancy?
The Blood and Strand pays tribute to the island of Islay, famous for its peaty malts, and marries together Coal iLa 12, with Cherry Heering and sweet vermouth with an orange foam. For a drink that could have been put together by a twisted Willy Wonka, seek out the Boulevardier served with a side of Campari candy floss.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a festive game of cat and mouse with the Tom & Jerry, a warm and hearty variation on egg nog, as well as a Godfather take on a traditional sour with whisky, amaretto and spiced plum syrup, making it fit for a Corleone.
Launching late November, the bar will open up its doors between 8am-11pm, offering a pallet punching brunch from morning to mid-afternoon and a menu of small plates in the evening; all inspired by its Scottish anchor, and as carefully selected as the drinks list.
Drop in on a Friday or Saturday, and you can enjoy in-store whisky tasting sessions, and you can also expect one off liquor and food pairing evenings, which will feature some of the world’s leading whisky ambassadors.
Labour of love
The project is a definite labour of love, and the brainchild of a trio of Leeds bartenders who have a rich, broad cross-section of experience both behind (and in-front of) the bar.
Dan Crowther has managed three of the city’s prolific joints – Jakes Bar, Smokestack and Sandinista – along with stints behind the stick at MeatLiquor and Angels Share. He juggled his hectic work schedule whilst gaining a degree in business hospitality management and leadership.
Bruce comes armed with an unrivalled knowledge of Champagne and sparkling wines, having managed the illustrious Bar Epernay.
Tom was General Manager of Smokestack for the previous four years and spent most of his spare time touring whisky distilleries on both sides of the Atlantic.
Speaking of the project, Dan Crowther commented ‘’We’ve all witnessed some phenomenal bartenders leave Leeds for London, and they’ve all gone on to do really well for themselves. We’ve all lived in this city for the best part of a decade now and it’s safe to say we all love it.
We’re settled here, have great friends and genuinely believe the hospitality scene to be one of the best in the country, so when the opportunity to open our own place it was a no brainer really. We’re working on plans to have some internationally renowned bars to popups – bringing awesome concepts and talent to Leeds, which hopefully will help make our city even better.’’
The Liquor Store & Whisky Parlour will be an accessible joint, inclusive to all – from whisky virgins to connoisseurs – and shall be open until the end of March before transforming into an all new seasonal concept just in time for spring. Catch it whilst you can.
Photo credit : Justin Gardner