Hide out in a whisky cocktail bar hidden above an old pub
Angel Place might not be a golden city in the clouds, but it is heaven for CBD revelers, no matter your party speed. If you’re already in fifth gear and going hard you should dance it out at the Ivy, but if it’s early doors and you just want a quiet beer the Angel Hotel is for you. And upstairs at this old timers' pub it’s a whole different ball game again – one that involves whisky cocktails and retro snacks.
Just seen something highbrow at the City Recital Hall? Round out your evening of classy pursuits and tuck up the narrow stairway that leads from the laneway right up into J&M without having to pass through the hotel. Service here is polished so expect to be shown to your seat and walked through the menu.
We are already fans of a Blood and Sand, but here they are mixing things up and using pink grapefruit juice in place of the traditional orange juice. It’s a more bracing citrus foil to the combination of Chivas Regal whisky, Cherry Heering, Antica Formula and Cynar and the result is bitter and refreshing. For a taste of Scotland in the tropics order a Highland Island Cooler, which punches up a fruity base of pineapple and rhubarb shrub, pineapple juice and coconut water with a good lug of whisky.
Of course if firewater isn’t your poison that’s no problem, because the barkeeps here mix up a first class London Calling, made with gin, dry sherry, lemon, sugar, bitters, and grapefruit zest. Pair it with a round of green pea and goat’s cheese crostini or a simple tin of sardines on toasts to fill in the gaps.
You could get very carried away with the drinks list here, and that’s before you let your eyes wander the glass fronted cabinets packed with enough high-end drams to keep you warm in an artic winter. There’s something about the space that makes time feel flexible and tomorrow’s alarm feel like someone else’s problem.
J&M was created as a tribute to the late Mr John and Merivale Hemmes, the parents of Justin Hemmes and owners of House of Merivale when it was still a fashion house. That’s why there are display cases with fixtures and thread, vases packed with peacock feathers and Art Nouveau inspired wallpaper.
It’s a beautiful, old world spot for a night out, and thanks to skilled bartenders your investment in cocktails pays immediate dividends, all be it with a hungover future you might not want, but will accept as the price you pay for delicious drinks.
Lvl 3, Angel Hotel
125 Pitt St