Time Out says
Hidden bar in Kennedy Town offering a top-notch, no-nonsense cocktail experience
Tucked away within upmarket Mexican restaurant 11 Westside is Kennedy Town’s newest – and best – cocktail bar, The Wilshire. Similar in concept to bars-within-bars like Room 309, Frank’s Library and PDT, the space is the brainchild of 11 Westside’s beverage manager Daniel Eun and Boba Bear’s Jon Chan. Named after Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the bar keeps things slick and simple with an incredibly focused menu of both originals and modern classics.
When we arrive, we’re guided through 11 Westside to the back, where a switch is flipped to request entry into the bar. The Wilshire is spacious, with two windows overlooking Davis and Forbes streets, and two walls lined with bottles from floor to ceiling. Within, comfortable, low tables and a small bar area are complimented by a billiards table in the centre.
Though the surrounds are plush and comfortable, the menu is where the bar shines brightest. Compact and straightforward, it lists five offerings featuring classic flavours coupled with modest but refreshing twists.
We start with the Safety Word ($140), a spin on the old fashioned, using Irish whiskey and substituting yellow chartreuse for any syrup or sugar. The chartreuse introduces a familiar sweetness with strong herbal and floral notes just beneath the surface, pairing smartly with a healthy dose of Angostura bitters.
Every entry on the menu is enticing for new and experienced drinkers alike. The Business ($140) is a combination of gin, lime and honey – a gimlet revisited – adapted from London and New York’s much-lauded Milk and Honey. The Break Glass Fix ($140) is based on a pisco punch, with roasted pineapple gum syrup and lemon juice. And the XYZ ($140) sticks to the traditional recipe of rum, orange liqueur and lemon juice.
But what we choose for a follow-up is the Klondyke ($140), which is a mix of sweet and dry vermouths, ginger syrup, and lemon juice topped with club soda. We’re told by staff that the syrup holds as much ginger juice ‘as is physically possible’ and the drink packs flavour but remains light and refreshing. The rich sweetness of the vermouths cuts through and complements the ginger overtones.
Probably our only lament during our time at The Wilshire is that the menu is so short. This is a bar with a no-nonsense approach to fun, classic flavours. It reminds us of some of the best bars in the city and we hope that can be extended beyond the classic templates currently on offer. Though the location sits at the far western end of the Island Line, this Kennedy Town gem is definitely worth the trip.
1/F, The Hudson
(inside 11 Westside)
11 Davis Street, Kennedy Town
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