Calling Anthology, the new whiskey bar in downtown Warsaw, “new” might be a little bit of a misnomer. While the location is new, Anthology previously existed formally/informally for a number of years in the basement of the old Oak and Alley location. Back then, it served whiskey connoisseurs and others in a sort of semi-private library stuffed to the gills with soft seating, exotic accouterments and whiskey bottles.
Anthology Whiskey Room has now been brought from the basement to street level and given the proper exposure it has long deserved. The look is essentially the same – walls lined with hundreds of bottles of whiskeys from around the world, soft seating dominating the space and decorations from around the glove adding to the worldly feel. Pub tables have been added as well as a slightly larger bar than the previous one but the overall ambiance remains.
If bars were originally meant to serve as public houses, then Anthology has finally achieved that status. More accessible to the public with a fancy grand entrance to beckon patrons, the new whiskey bar is bound to become what it always had the potential to be – a whiskey ambassador to the masses. In a state where one of the largest whiskey distilleries in the country goes surprisingly unnoticed, I find this enjoyably appropriate.
Word of warning – don’t walk in here and expect fancy cocktails. While you can find those a couple doors west at Paradiso, your drink choices at Anthology are limited. While they offer pages upon pages of hundreds of different bottles of whiskey to choose from, there’s no cocktail menu in sight. My advice – get used to drinking an Old Fashioned (you’ll thank me later if it isn’t already on your short list) and then order it here with your choice of whiskey. Dave Gustafson’s bars have always made a great smoked Old Fashioned and you can bet the horse your rode in on, the family farm and/or the ranch that they’re even better when you’re sitting in a soft brown leather couch surrounded by bottles of brown booze.