In Review

Macallan Whisky Lounge: a new destination for discerning Scotch aficionados

A handsome new bar in an unexpected location

Despite its central location, St George Wharf is a rather unlovely place. It lies in Vauxhall, just south of the Thames, a mere walking distance from the Tate Britain, and is within touching distance of the Thames, and yet its architecture has twice won the prize for “Worst Building in the World”. It therefore seems like an unlikely spot for an exciting new Japanese restaurant with a European twist, yet that is exactly what has just opened.

Four Degree offers a unique dining concept in seriously stylish surroundings. St George Wharf is not nearly so horrible from within as it is from without, and the management of Four Degree have done a good job in turning this empty unit into what may just become a culinary destination.

To aid the project, Four Degree has this month flung open the doors to its new Macallan Whisky Lounge – the first of its type in the UK.

Since the restaurant opened in December last year, it has gradually begun to establish itself as a spot for discerning drinkers, and now it’s going a step further. Whisky aficionados will be able to sample rare, expensive and delicious bottles by the glass, in the comfort of a specially designed lounge, replete with glorious cabinets, filled to bursting with the finest whiskies known to humanity.

The lounge stocks some big names, including Tomintoul, whose traditional approach has resulted in some truly fine drams. But it also offers some genuinely unexpected bottles from the likes of Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey, an old but increasingly maverick distiller which eschews maturity over depth of flavour, and brings esoteric old booze-barrels to the finishing process, with fascinating, though not always successful effects. Still, seasoned whisky enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to try things they may not have had before. 

Tastefully decorated, the lounge reflects its owners’ beliefs concept: before the restaurant opened, a group of Buddhist monks was brought over from Tibet to bestow blessings on the business.

Today, drinkers in the Macallan Whisky Lounge can sip beneath the benevolent gaze of a Buddhist shrine, safe in the knowledge that any restaurant that goes as far to venerate tradition is bound to ensure its ancient whiskies will be treated with the deference due. 

The Macallan Whisky Lounge at Four Degree, 2C St George Wharf, London SW8 2LE, fourdegree.co.uk

Fast Frame Photography.co.uk

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