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Head down to Circular Quay to sample one of the city’s best whisky collections
Having a taste for fine Scotch, elegant Japanese whiskies and American drams doesn’t come cheap, unless you’re spending your Monday nights at Grain Bar below the Four Seasons Hotel down at Circular Quay. This elegant cocktail bar certainly knows their audience. Mondays are a historically tricky night to fill a bar, but here the room is pumping with businesspeople finishing out their day with the whisky specials of the night – $30 whisky flights and 20 per cent off the whisky list. You can choose four 15ml pours (they only restrict a tiny portion of the list), or the barkeeps here will guide you through a flavour tour of Speyside, Campbelltown or Islay. Complete this picture of high-finance living by ordering up the minute steak. It’s not a hefty meal, but it is an incredibly juicy, tender fillet topped with bourbon and herb butter with a sticky, sweet gravy and crisp onion rings on the side. Don’t want to spoil your appetite? Graze on the generous bowl of complimentary spiced snack mix while you contemplate the cocktail menu. Perhaps you fancy a Walnut Derby, which sees bourbon stirred down with salted caramel and balanced out by walnut and chocolate bitters? Or do you want to fly the flag for the Country Women’s Association by ordering the CWA cocktail that mixes a peaty whisky with Aperol, pink grapefruit juice, lemon juice and sugar syrup? It’s a beautiful room to spend an evening in. The warm timber finishes help counter the coolness of the huge glass windows looking out onto George Street; they keep the decorative gas fire burning brightly to cosy up blustery evenings by the harbour, and it’s very conveniently located for a pre or post-Opera House tipple.