Located in a Rittenhouse Square space evoking the free-wheeling spirit of a speakeasy, Village Whiskey is prolific Chef Jose Garces’ intimate, 30-seat tribute to the time-honored liquor.
In fact, Village Whiskey features a veritable library of 80-100 varieties of whiskey, bourbon, rye and scotch from Scotland, Canada, Ireland, United States and even Japan.
Much as Village Whiskey could be a scene for toasting and roasting, it also comes from the culinary imagination of Jose Garces (of Amada, Tinto, Distrito and Chifa fame), meaning the food is no less than outstanding.
Village Whiskey´s specialty from the kitchen is “bar snacks,” but that doesn´t mean a bowl of cashews. Rather, it means deviled eggs, spicy popcorn shrimp, soft pretzels and an à la carte raw bar, all treated with the culinary care that made Jose Garces a finalist on The Next Iron Chef.
Perhaps you seek something heartier. The lobster roll, raw bar selections and Kentucky fried quail are standouts, but you’d really ought to order the Whiskey King: a 10 oz patty of ground-to-order sustainable angus topped with maple bourbon glazed cipollini, Rogue blue cheese, applewood smoked bacon and foie gras. Bring your appetite.
Whiskey-based cocktails are divided into two categories: Prohibition (classic cocktails) and Repeal (more contemporary, modern takes). Meanwhile, the venerable Manhattan is a mainstay, mixed using house-made bitters.
Prohibition cocktails include: Old Fashioned (Bottle in Bond Bourbon and house bitters); Aviation (Creme de Violette and gin); and Philadelphia Fish House Punch (dark rum, peach brandy and tea). Repeal cocktails include: APA (hops-infused vodka, ginger and egg white); De Riguer (rye, aperol, grapefruit and mint); and Horse With No Name (scotch, Stone Pine Liqueur and pineapple).
The speakeasy atmosphere is accomplished through dim lighting, posters for various alcohols, a tin ceiling and antique mirrors. Black-and-white white tiled floors, marble topped tables and wooden drink rails add to the traditional bar decor.
Behind the pewter bar, whiskies are proudly displayed like leather-bound books.
During the warmer months, diners can sit at large, wooden tables placed along Sansom Street for whiskey alfresco.