The Old Crow Zurich
Located on the backstreets of Zurich's Old Town, just a stone's throw from the Limmat River, the friendly Old Crow Bar offers a choice of more than 1,200 rare spirits, all available by the glass, with a special focus on whiskies, bourbons and ryes from the personal collection of owner barkeepers Markus Blattner and Jvan Paszti, formerly of Widder Bar, just around the corner.
Apart from classic cocktails prepared by the two multi-award winners, they also specialise in serving some rare and forgotten mixtures alongside their own creations, such as the "Downtown Switzerland", a mix of kirsch, Campari, Italian vermouth, Cynar, Amerena cherry, and Champagne.
The whisky card includes the elusive 1964 Final Edition Bowmore Black Label 31 year old, and 1963 Glen Grant 50 year old. There's also a huge rum collection featuring the 50 year old Appleton Estate Jamaica Independence edition whilst gin fans can sample the mega rare 1990s plastic bottle Tanquery Malacca and the much sought after Monkey 47 Distillers Cuts 2011, alongside many others.
Swiss beers from Falken in Schaffhausen and Swiss wines are joined by a large Champagne collection and one of the best soft drink lists in Switzerland, all of which can be enjoyed in the classic 1920s style bar or the quaint beer garden in the back.
Named after the famous American bourbon, the Old Crow is possibly our favourite bar in the whole of Europe. An incredibly friendly backstreet bar that is a liquor connoisseur's wet dream, in every sense of the word, with over 1,200 rare spirits, all available by the glass. Owner barkeepers Markus Blattner and Jvan Paszti, probably two of the most famous faces on the Zurich bar scene, have opened up their personal collections to the public, explaining that drinks were made for drinking and not to be looked at. But boy, this collection is a beautiful sight to behold even before you even fill your glass with the tipple of choice.
We've spent many a night in the Old Crow, working our way around the menu of excellent cocktails and unfamiliar labels and editions. OK, our budget doesn't stretch as far as one Texan oil baron and whisky collector whom we were introduced to previous visit who boasted about previous purchases from the massive whisky collection, that had included the 1,300 Franc dram of 1963 Glen Grant 50 year old and the 1,100 Franc pour of 1964 Final Edition Bowmore Black Label 31 year old, one of the most sought after whiskies around. That said, there is plenty here to match any budget between CHF15 and CHF1,300 so you can explore those rare offerings, without having to buy a bottle, which take in all the Scottish islands as well as Japan, USA, Ireland, Canada, Taiwan, India, UK, Austria, Germany, New Zealand and many from around Switzerland.
The rum collection is also impressive with the 50 year old Appleton Estate Jamaica Independence edition being the highlight at CHF750 and gin fans are catered for with over 70 choices, including a 1960's Booths High & Dry, a 1980s Beefeater Crown Jewel, and the evasive Monkey 47 Distillers Cuts 2011 and 2013 editions. On one visit, we asked if they had the rare and beautiful Tanquery Malacca, to which Javan returned with two bottles "would you like the 2012 edition in the glass bottle, or the 1990s edition in the plastic bottle?". This is rare drinking at its best.
The Champagne list is equally impressive for a bar of this kind, taking in most of the big houses with Delamotte being the house pour by the glass. The soft drinks list is one of the best we've seen in Switzerland too with root beer, cream soda, ginger ale, apelsaft and even vegan drinks joining the many choices of tonic.
The Old Crow should be everybody's first choice when in Zurich, bars this good are as a rare to find as their collection.