We're excited to announce that award-winning whisky bar Black Rock will be joining the Gentlemen Baristas on-site at Republic later this year. As well as the traditional bar, Black Rock will feature a central table cut from a single oak tree-trunk - perfect for an after-work dram with the team. Initially a small east London ‘basement space,’ Black Rock’s flagship store has since expanded into a multi-storey trading space comprised of a bar, a ‘tavern’, and lodges. We asked Matt Hastings, the group Bar Manager a few questions to get to know them better!
What is Black Rock?
We’re a specialist bar, with a focus on whisky in all its forms. We wanted to make this incredible category more accessible for everyone by removing barriers that far too many people come up against when trying to get into whisky. There’s been a lot of mysticism and snobbery around whisky for the last 20 years, and that doesn’t help anyone, so we set out to make the best bar we could that just happened to have an incredible selection of drams. We’ve become famous for our flavour based arranging system, that makes whisky easy to explore for everyone, whisky newcomer to seasoned pro.
How was Black Rock founded and when?
We opened our first little basement bar in 2016 (and we’ve won best specialist bar in the country every year since!). Our founders Tom and Tristan have been behind some of London’s most innovative bars since 2010 like Purl and Worship Street Whistling Shop, Black Rock was the next step.
What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
Making guests feel welcome. It’s a cliche, but there’s a reason we work in hospitality. We all genuinely love hosting people, making them comfortable, and helping them understand more about what they’re drinking.
What is your favourite drink at Black Rock
Too many to choose. Black Rock Tavern on the ground floor of Christopher Street has one of the best pints of Guinness in London, the basement has around 400 whiskies and they’re all so different/suitable for different moods & occasions that I couldn’t possibly pick just one. Our Bristol site also has incredible drams, draught beer and cocktails. I’m rather spoilt for choice in all honesty…
When will you be open at Republic?
All things going well, April this year.
How many people will be working at Republic?
Most likely a small team of 4 or 5. We’ll of course have whisky experts, but there’s also going to be a big focus on Japanese tea serves, coffee and snacks, so there’s going to be a wide variety of specialities on display.
What can we expect from Black Rock at Republic?
Great hospitality, relaxed environment, amazing drinks selection, a beautiful English oak tree feature table (this one is going to be very special indeed!) and an incredible whisky collection (of course)
What are you looking forward to about moving in to Republic?
It’s such a beautiful site! And having met a few of you at the Christmas Market, you’ve certainly got a lovely crowd of people that we’re very much looking forward to hosting.
Do you have any events coming up?
We’ve always got tasting events in the pipeline, we’ve got Irish whisky bonders JJ Corry down on the 27th Feb, the outstanding Fettercairn distillery with a very unique tasting on 4th March and for St. Patricks Day, we’ve got a truly incredible line up of Irish Whisky, hosted by industry legend Claire Best. We’ll be looking to put an extra special tasting on at Republic once we’ve opened as well, celebrate joining the neighbourhood in style! Tickets for events at all our sites can be found on our website, www.blackrock.bar.
We can’t wait to have Black Rock moved in and welcomed into the Republic community!
Venue: Import Building, Republic
Date: Coming Spring 2020
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