You could easily miss the almost unmarked Gothic doors on Falcon Street that hide the darkened entryway to one of the city's most exciting hidden playgrounds. You'd kick yourself if you did. The Foxtrot is much like the whisky that it showcases: smooth and gratifying, with a wickedly delicious aftertaste.
The Gothic feel continues inside, with an eerie and captivating full-wall mural featuring an ethereal cast of characters with stories begging to be told. The DJ lays down tracks atop a beleaguered upright piano that looks like Wednesday Addams might have owned it once. Long-dead explorers keep a watchful eye on the bartenders from framed portraits on the wall; we can't ask them, but we are sure they approve of what they see.
Behind the bar, it's all about the simple pleasures. A whole apple is juiced before your eyes and poured over a generous shot of Jameson or Zubrowka ($10). Or, try the house-infused spiced rum, enlivened with cinnamon and vanilla and lengthened with freshly juiced pears ($10). The boys behind the bar know their whisky, and show off with an impressively curated 'Gentleman's List' of classy concoctions (no sexism intended, we are assured). Our favourite, Josie's Well, is named for the main water source of the Glenlivet distillery and features 12-year-old Glenlivet with Poire Williams, Lillet Blanc and Aztec chocolate bitters ($19).
Continuing the theme of elegant simplicity, the food situation is straightforward: pizza. Creative combinations of quality ingredients mean you can't really put a foot wrong here, but we recommend the roast pumpkin option, with cherry tomatoes, chorizo, Spanish onion, rosemary and goat's cheese ($20). For longer-term snacking, get your hands on a cheese board ($20) served with a teacup of olives and mountains of crusty walnut sourdough.
The music is smooth and eclectic, channelling the sophistication of the dance for which the bar is named. Soft beats tumble and flow over the Foxtrot's merry drinkers, subtle enough to allow for engaging conversation, but unique enough to inspire moments of serious appreciation.
There are some interesting spaces to explore, including an indoor courtyard and a carpeted living room complete with a working fireplace. But we don't budge from our seats by the bar, where we can watch the bartenders work their magic and admire the impressive collection lining the back bar. By the end of the evening, the Foxtrot feels like an old mate. We know it's the start of a beautiful friendship.