The wonder of whiskey
Good news for SA's four million whiskey lovers is that Johannesburg, which plays host to the largest whiskey festival in the world every year, is launching its first dedicated whiskey bar.
Opening at Sandton's Morningside Shopping Centre on Rivonia Road next week, the WhiskyBrother Bar promises to offer aficionados of the spirit and wannabe connoisseurs an exciting drinking adventure.
The bar is an extension of the WhiskyBrother specialist store in Hyde Park, which has been offering a range of rare and iconic whiskey brands from all over the world since opening its doors five years ago.
Hot on the heels of this news is that Soweto will also be getting its own specialist whiskey bar next month - at the famous Vilakazi Street in Orlando West. Thanks to sommelier Derrick Khumalo, the man behind the project, the new watering hole is expected to be completed in time for the official opening on February 14.
WhiskyBrother Bar co-owner Marc Pendlebury said the venue boasts a tasting room for eight people and drinking area for 28 people.
"WhiskyBrother was established to fulfil the needs of passionate whiskey drinkers, and we believe that it will add to the unique whiskey-only experience we offer," he said.
Of the 865 whiskies from around the world on offer, a total of 657 varieties come from Scotland alone. Prices range from R25 to R6600 a tot for whiskies originating from 16 countries.
However, the disappointing news for the legion of maltheads is that the bar's two limited annual membership options have already sold out.
The Soweto venue will offer a variety of between 120 and 150 spirits - ranging in price from R25 to R500 a tot.
Khumalo said the bar - named Boys To Men - will target local and international drinkers who throng to the Vilakazi Street hotspot almost daily. Regular tastings of whiskey household brands will be part of its activities, including offering a selection of local wines.
"It has always been my dream to open the first whiskey bar in Soweto, especially in the popular tourism precinct like Vilakazi Street," said Khumalo.
Interestingly, the city already boasts a few trendy bars rated by the organisers of the annual WhiskyLive Festival as "the best places to have whiskey in Johannesburg". They are the Maxim Lounge at the Da Vinci Hotel in Sandton, Churchill's Bar at Melrose Arch and Bottega in Parkhurst.
Other whiskey hangouts highly rated by the organisers include three popular Soweto spots - Meli's Lounge, Robby's and Just Badela.