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New York gets its most exclusive and expensive whisky bar

The backside of New York’s popular yakitori spot Kono is going to be home to the most exclusive whisky bar of the city, Beatbox. But mind you, they are not trying to create artificial exclusivity. Instead, they are aiming to preserve the Japanese custom of ’ichigen-san okotowari’,  meaning ‘you’ve got to know someone’. So, what’s with this place?

This 100 sq ft. pocket-sized whisky bar is designed to accommodate a group of maximum four people. This is a soundproof space fitted with a record player, two high-tech speakers and collection of vinyl records from the Chef, partner and former break dancer Atushi Kono’s personal collection. This whisky bar is opening to the public on 21 March, but what actually makes this place so exclusive and expensive? We find that out.

Beatbox is New York’s most exclusive whisky bar

This vinyl and whisky bar is open only to guests who have dined at Kono or are friends of Kono regulars. That’s exactly what ‘ichigen-san okotowari’ means and that is what makes it stand apart. For new guests wanting a reservation at this place, they will need to send requests through Instagram.

This bar featuring vinyl albums from Beatles to jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery to Run-DMC, takes reservations at three time slots – 5.00 pm, 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm. The duration of each set of reservations lasts approximately for the duration of an album, say 60 minutes.

whisky bar
Image: Courtesy Bloomberg

Beatbox in New York, featuring antique wood cabinetry, a brown velvet loveseat and a grey shag rug will take you back to a vintage Japan. If that doesn’t, the collection of rare Japanese whiskies which are sold in 2-ounce pours or whole bottles definitely will. Staying true to its roots, this place follows the concept of “bottle-keep” bars in Japan, where your leftovers will be stored for you on your next visit. Or you can also take them home.

This place focuses on pours, which feature high-end whiskies like Yamazaki’s lauded Sherry Cask whisky, that comes for $1,300 (over INR 1 lakh) a glass. Among the other costlier pours are the Hakushu 25, or brown-sugar-imbued Hibiki 30, which can go for US $1,000 (over INR 82,000 approx.). But worry not, you don’t have to sell a fortune to afford a drink at the Beatbox New York. They also offer reasonable options like the Chita, which is for US $28 (INR 2,310 approx) a pour. Naturally, this place offers no cocktails apart from highballs.

Selwyn Chan and Atushi Kono collaborated with alcohol brand Suntory Holdings Ltd. to create Beatbox. While for the next two months, Beatbox will display a range of Suntory whiskies. Customers can always order different other pours as well. An important thing to note, this whisky bar will have no menu.

Opening with five dozen options of whiskies, Beatbox will expand its collection to include about 75 by-the-glass options. The collection will feature prestigious options, like, the much sought-after label Karuizawa’s 19-year-old, which will cost US $650 (INR 53, 626) per 2-oz pour, the Nikka Taketsuru 25 at US $900 (INR 74,251) and Ichiro’s Hanyu the Joker, which goes for US $800 (INR 66,001) a pour based on market price.

(All USD conversions done at the time of writing)

All Images: Courtesy Bloomberg

New York gets its most exclusive and expensive whisky bar

A journalism student who studied the subject only to meet SRK in person, she settled for the best way to meet him. Covering Entertainment throughout her career, and now Food, Health and Lifestyle as well, Sreetama is also a self-proclaimed plant mom. In love with all things slow and quiet, she can often be found hunting for quiet corners with a glass of wine in hand. Other loves include little, inconsequential things, like neatly tucked-in bedsheets and big, significant things, like whole cheesecakes. She dreams of being a baker and writing about food someday.


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