A Scotch Bar That Wasn’t

These days, establishments toting themselves as scotch bars are few and far between.  A few weeks ago and by complete accident, I discovered one such bar inside an historic upscale hotel just a short distance from my neighborhood.  And while my favorite scotch is the one I pour myself, once in a while it’s nice to enjoy an atmosphere of luxury when having a drink.

A quick peek inside led to promising possibilities.  The bar was quite small and dark, both to be expected.  Low conversations were present but not distinguishable.  Half a dozen or so low tables were placed between well-worn leather chairs, all of which surrounded a circular-shaped stone-topped bar.  On the wood-paneled walls hung simple sketches of politicians, industrialists, scientists, and other historic notables.  Outside the bar, the hotel’s lobby still resided in the early 1940s, its architecture showcasing traditional elegance.

Never one to shy away from trying out a new bar – and perhaps a new scotch – I made plans to meet an old friend.  Yet after settling in, loosening my tie, and thumbing through the drink menu, disappointment began to quickly set in.  Considering it was purportedly a scotch bar, it was odd that the scotches were missing from the menu; upon closer inspection, the bar itself was light on choices.  I finally settled on a glass of Oban 14 year old; not a bad selection by any means, but hardly exotic or unique.

A look around led to another unfortunate revelation – I was the only one drinking scotch.  Sure, a septuagenarian across the bar nursed what looked like a Manhattan; but certainly enough, there were no other lowball glasses in sight.  Furthermore, the dress of my fellow patrons left much to be desired, with tourists in golf shirts (and shorts!) more common than those still dressed from work.  It is sad bars such as these do not insist on business attire.  Although bad for business, it would do wonders for ambiance.

On paper this bar should have been a perfect fit.  Yet when I bid farewell to my friend I knew I would never drink there again.  Maybe the term ‘scotch bar’ once meant more than it does now.  Or maybe the only true scotch bar is the one where you’re pouring the drink.

Published in: on September 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm  Comments Off on A Scotch Bar That Wasn’t  
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