Embrace the pretension of this Prohibition-style joint, and be rewarded with a night of top-quality cocktails
Arriving in late 2013, Panda & Sons is a concept bar for cocktail connoisseurs. At street level, it presents as an American barber’s shop; while down the stairs into the basement premises, the basic makings of a Queen Street bar are all present – wood panelling, old-fashioned look – with additional props and touches that can be quite a hoot if you’re in the mood: panda imagery, a bookshelf that doubles as a door, eccentric ornaments plus a plaque that reads, ‘In 1832 on this spot nothing happened.’
The menu runs to a cold meat board, a cheese board, bread and dips etc, but a great deal of effort has gone into the cocktail list, names as well as ingredients. This yields choices like Monet Talks, Häagen-Glass, Miss American Rye or Petal to the Ketel. Those put off by punning titles shouldn’t be – the drinks are pretty good – although if fun and theatricality isn’t quite your cup of Tanqueray then neither is this bar.
Forget the aesthetics, the gimmicks and all the unique selling points. What about the booze? Abandon yourself to the joys of a Robinson Crusoe and you get an ambitious drink made with Talisker single malt Scotch, grilled pineapple syrup, apricot brandy, fresh ginger, vermouth and bitters. Tempted? Probably worth a visit then.
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79 Queen Street