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Coley & Punch

This intimate harbourside bar rightly boasts some of the best cocktails in the city.
By Stephen Heard
November 12, 2015
By Stephen Heard
November 12, 2015

Sandwiched between Euro and The Crab Shack on Princess Wharf you'll find Coley and Punch, a small and friendly bar with a clear-cut enthusiasm for whiskey, and cocktails which they rightly boast as the best in town.

The bar (not a venue, catwalk or hideout) was named in honour of Ada Coleman, the famous bartender who served regulars like Mark Twain and the Prince of Wales at the Savoy of London's house bar. You probably won't find anyone of such stature at Coley & Punch but the drinks on offer are fit for most hoity-toity-est of palates.

Notably, the Coley & Punch has 250-odd varieties of whiskey (at least that's what they have written down), all alphabetised and accompanied by tasting notes, age, barrel condition and region in a slick leather-bound 'whiskey bible'. Alternatively, you could leave yourself in the capable hands of Katie - the modern day version of Ada Coleman - who has an extensive knowledge and love of stiff drinks.

The impressive spirit wall boasts something for every palate, including everything from single malts and scotches from around the globe, to a 1950 Glen Grant that will set you back $300 a dram. A collection of American bourbon is also slowly making its way on to the shelf. We were treated to a Willett Pot Still Reserve ($15), a Kentucky bourbon-whiskey famous for being presented in a decanter the same shape as the still it's made in. With its smooth caramel and nut notes, it's something you could sit on all night. But with a winning cocktail list at arms reach, why would you.

As well as sophisticated concoctions from London's Savoy Hotel, the extensive cocktail list is separated into offerings from New York's Waldorf Astoria and Knickerbocker Hotel, the birthplace of the Martini, and Cuba's Hotel Nacional - defined as "tall, fresh and fruity thirst quenchers from all over the Caribbean."

The C & P Margarita ($18) utilises pineapple infused tequila with chilli and pink peppercorn infused agave syrup; bypass the straws and nurse the peppercorn and salt rim. The Espresso Martini ($22) is a complete game changer; the not-so-secret ingredient of Coley & Punch's frothy variation is gingerbread syrup. The Whiskey Sour ($20) also goes the extra mile with the sweet addition of fig liqueur and fig jam. Whatever your choice, you'll likely be shouting from the rooftops.

With its outdoor harbour-side seating, a slick interior straight from the set of Mad Men and the killer drinks list, Coley & Punch should be your new local, go-to date destination or just the place to head for a mid-week dram.

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