Athenaeum Hotel London Celebrates World of Whiskey

For serious whiskey drinkers, there may be no better London destination than the Athenaeum Hotel and it’s dedicated Whiskey Bar.

Hosting more than 300 golden brown bottles from around the world, the quiet and warmly lit space off nestled into the Athenaeum’s ground floor restaurant and lounge area. Everyone from hotel guests to whiskey obsessed tourists to lucky locals stop into the Whiskey Bar to sample a dram from Scotland or Kentucky, Japan or Australia.

Whiskey Sommelier Michael Ball stocks, curates and presents the collection — making it much more of an educational and culinary experience than merely a stop off at a bar. 

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Whiskey veterans will find plenty of new options to try alongside their old standbys. Rookies can learn how different regions of the world produce different flavors through distinct distillery methods en route to discovering their favorite label.

Ball will patiently and pleasantly discuss whiskey with all levels of enthusiasts, eventually making a series of recommendations. He’ll explain which single malts or blended concoctions work best neat or on the rocks. If you’re a true gentleman, you may even enjoy a modest snort to decide what will fill your glass from amongst the 300+ possibilities.

Ball and the Athenaeum are especially proud of the hotel’s own self-branded blend of Malt Scottish Whiskey. It’s a southern style Scotch – smoother and sweeter than the smokier Scotch’s you’ll find heading south from the Scottish Highlands.

The hotel offers £20 sit down whiskey and cheese pairings, offering whiskey fans a chance to sample Glenmorangie 10 Year Old, Bunnahabhain 12, Doublewood 12 and Glenfiddich 15. Personally, I think the true whiskey lover should have a taste of each with a little water in between to clear the tastebuds. You can hold the cheese.

If there’s a weakness amongst the 300 bottle collection, it’s the lack of an American presence. It’s more or less a certainty that the U.S. produces a bottle of bourbon now and then, and the Athenaeum did built a Whiskey Bar – not just a Scotch bar. Ball admits additions of American and Canadian bottles is progressing slowly, so U.S. visitors are welcome to give suggestions on what the joint should add as it marches toward its 400th bottle.