Hippo Co is the revamped Hippo of long Civic infamy.
They’re having the public opening tomorrow night but I was in there tonight for a sneak preview because that sort of thing happens to me.
If you’re not the sort to enjoy hanging out in a licensed club, if you’re willing to pay a bit more, maybe a lot more, for excellence, it might be the bar for you.
Come the summer months the balcony over Garema Place is going to be a very special thing indeed.
They bill themselves as a cocktail and whiskey bar and as luck would have it I gave cocktail, whiskey, and beer a go in your interests dear reader.
First up was a whiskey sour.
If you like a cocktail where you can’t taste the alcohol this is not the one for you.
If you like a cocktail where the fire of the liquor (rye whiskey in this case) is balanced by other flavours but endures, then this is really really good.
The whiskeys range from the merely expensive to the astronomical.
Here’s a look at a bit of the whiskey price board.
I went for an unpeated Islay malt (simply for novelty having enjoyed so very much iodine brown heavily peated malt from the Isle of Islay in the past).
At a mere $16 a shot what could make it that special?
Well, huge hand carved gobs of ice were a good start:
Do not believe what some say. Good whiskey should have water added and cooling has some real value too. (here’s some science on it)
The big ice block also makes sips smaller which helps when trying to enjoy something somewhat expensive.
For the curious an un-peated Islay is certainly unusual, and pleasant, but next time I’ll get a real Lagavulin thank you very much, because I like firey iodine water.
A word on the whiskey list. I’ve been to a fair few bars in Scotland, and some Tokyo bars very proud of their selections (and the Japanese are mad for Scotch). The revamped Hippo Co has a more interesting group of scotches than I’ve seen anywhere. A bonus is there’s no Scottish snobbishness, they’ve got great whiskeys from all over the world.
A bottle of Coopers Pale comes in at a mere $7.50 if you’re after simple fare.
So what is Hippo Co?
To me it felt like being in Humphrey Bogart’s hunting lodge.
It’s the place you want to go after dinner for a relaxed yet impressive drink.
And the rules. The Rules are good. I can get behind them:
If you’re after Carlton Draught or a breezer go somewhere else.
If you’re after a classy drink at the prices that come with class then give it a go.