BEST BAR TEAM PEO­PLE'S CHOICE

The Elysian Whisky Bar

Time Out (Melbourne) - - BAR AWARDS -

Time Out read­ers have warmed to Fitzroy’s Ja­panese-in­flu­enced whisky venue – and the spe­cial chem­istry of two fans of malted grain

IT SOUNDS LIKE a mad idea to open up a bar spe­cial­is­ing in rare and in­de­pen­dently bot­tled whisk(e)y dur­ing the height of sum­mer, op­po­site the com­mis­sion flats on the less de­sir­able end of Brunswick Street, but that’s what Kevin Low and Yao Wong, for­merly of Whisky and Alement, did. And it worked. Now, it would be wrong to im­ply that Low and Wong have stolen a con­cept from their old em­ploy; they’ve taken their learn­ings and opened up some­thing more niche and spe­cialised, which means nearly ev­ery sin­gle drink that makes it over the bar has been hand sold. It’s a la­bo­ri­ous task know­ing the flavour pro­files and proper ap­pli­ca­tions for each and ev­ery dram, but Low and Wong are like the Alexa of whisky. It’s prob­a­bly why the bar has been de­signed long and nar­row, like those in Ja­pan, with plenty of seats avail­able to perch at. It en­cour­ages you to sit up, browse the li­brary of stock the boys have painstak­ingly col­lected, and try some­thing new to you and rare to the coun­try. Of­ten they will show­case a sin­gle bot­tle of whisky – some­thing they’ve per­son­ally car­ried back from a hol­i­day and are spread­ing the love to the lucky few who get to try it. Rarer drops are of­fered in half nips to pre­vent the ad­ven­tur­ous from be­ing pro­hib­ited by a bud­get. But the Elysian isn’t all about se­ri­ous drink­ing with a hefty price point. For the every­day, you can get your­self a cock­tail at around $20. A high­ball of the week is al­ways of­fered with a whisky up­grade. The Elysian wouldn’t work with­out Low or Wong be­cause it is Low and Wong. Their know-how can trans­late a scarce drop in a bot­tle to a cher­ished ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s their abil­ity to work to­gether and in­de­pen­dently of each other that has earned them our pick for Best Bar Team. But that’s not all: ev­i­dently you, dear read­ers, agree with us, be­cause you’ve crowned their bar with 2018’s Peo­ple’s Choice award.

113 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 3065. 03 9417 7441. theelysian­whisky­bar.com.au. Tue-sat 4.30pm-1am.

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