Whisky bar The Doss House has opened its doors in The Rocks, in a 170-year-old sandstone building with a colourful history.

Once home to a bootmaker, boarding house and opium dealer, the space is seperated into five chambers, each paying homage to The Doss House’s former life.

The spaces include Unwin’s Stores, named after the venue’s builder Frederic Wright Unwin, Ung Quoy’s Den, after former tenant Ung Quoy who once ran an opium den from the building, The Dock Bar, The Bootmaker’s Workshop and The Sailors Garden.

Whisky takes centre stage at the underground bar, with about 150 types on offer from Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Japanese and America.

Rare whiskies such as Hibiki 30 year Old, Glenglassaugh 30 Year Old, GlenDronach 1994 and the Nikka “Taketsuru” Fortune 80 are available, as well as a selection of signature cocktails such as The Dusky Scotchman (Laphroaig 10yo, Branca Menta, honey, saline) and My Name is Earl (Earl Grey-infused gin, peach aperitif, orange marmalade, fresh lemon, basil).

Bobby Carey (Big Poppa’s, Shady Pines, Riley Street Garage) has consulted on the food and drinks menu, along with bar manager Alex O’Brien (Bar No. 5, Archie Rose Distillery Bar).

Customers can choose from a range of shared cheese and charcuterie platters, such as the Aussie platter, which features emu prosciutto and kangaroo salami with damper and Australian cheeses.

A collection of whisky flights as well as a Guinness and oyster matched experience will also be available in the coming months.

The Doss House is co-owned by Irish expats Colm O’Neill and Eoin Daniels whose other business, Top Knot Carpentry and Joinery, was responsible for the fit-out.

“Understandably, we couldn’t touch the walls or ceilings, all the bars and cabinets had to be free-standing and we had to insert a protective layer over the floors but during the process we have retained the character and original feel of the building,” says Daniels.

“You just have to take one look at those gorgeous sandstone walls and you want to create something around them that does justice to their beauty.”

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