The Iron Stag

45-47 Hoxton Square


What is it - In August this year, Scottish restaurateur Adam Handling relocated his critically-acclaimed The Frog to Hoxton Square in Shoreditch. The difference compared to his Covent Gar-den venue is that here located in the basement you will find The Iron Stag, a bar inspired by his Scottish heritage with a mission to make whisky more approachable to the masses. Adam hired the help of two London bar legends to try and help him achieve this in the name of Matt Whiley and Rich Woods, who have previously worked in and opened some of the capitals most celebrated bars such as The Peg + Patriot, Scout, Duck & Waffle and SushiSamba. The bar’s decor is probably best described as gentlemen’s club meets Scottish punk. Although it is quite a big space they have managed to give it a homey and relaxed vibe that you would be more than happy to hangout in for a full evening.

Interesting fact - At only 30 years old Adam Handling has achieved a lot in his culinary career. He began his journey at the age of 16 as the first apprentice chef at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, then moving around the country perfecting his craft before moving back to Scotland to become the Fairmont group's youngest ever Head Chef at the Fairmont in St Andrews. As well as building up his own restaurant empire he has also won several highly acclaimed awards including the British Culinary Federation's Chef of the Year in 2014.

Verdict - Whenever I'm travelling i always seek out places that have a whisky focus. There are some great places that champion our national spirit all over the world but most of the time they fo-cus on the traditional aspects of Scotland and Scotch. Here at The Iron Stag they have created a fun and innovative way of enjoying Scotch whisky and it is a breath of fresh air. Of course you can still have your “hauf and hauf” or just a dram here but it is the cocktails that show Scotch can be fun and enjoyed in a modern and delicious way. I have definitely found my new hangout whenever I'm in the capital and this combined with the fact it is only a stones through from Black Rock bar, an-other whisky bar that is one of my favourites in the whole country.

Drink - When creating the drinks for The Iron Stag Matt Whiley and Rich Woods where determined to create a list that would change peoples perceptions on whisky, which in many people eyes is a powerful base spirit that can only go in strong and spirit led cocktails such as the Old Fashioned and Rod Roy cocktail. They have tried to bring in the tropical and fruity profiles you will find in many of our whiskies with a big focus on innovative Highballs serves with are light and refreshing. All the menu sounds amazing but if i had to choose one then id suggest trying the Sour Face, a mix of Black Cherry Monkey Shoulder, plum, verjus and topped with dry ginger soda.

Food - The bar snack menu here is outstanding with everything on it delicious. I would implore you to order the cheese doughnuts and then try not to order another portion instantly.

Perfect for - Hanging out after work with friends or colleagues for a few beers or cocktails accom-panied by the best bar snack menu in the East.

Avoid if - Whisky is just not your thing, however there is still plenty on the menu for you to choose from.