The Watering Hole’s strange concoctions taste far better than they sound, so long as you’ve got a sweet tooth and an empty stomach
The latest bar to join the row of snug spaces along Street 308, The Watering Hole exudes a delicate sophistication – low sofas in dark wood inside, slanted chairs with a retro feel on the small bricked terrace out the front, and mellow lighting. It could be a cosy wine bar or a tapas-style eatery.
What The Watering Hole is offering up is something more unusual, and less sophisticated: ice cream and alcohol blended together into large, potent milkshakes. Looking at the menu, there are some permutations on offer that don’t require too much of an imaginative leap. Fruity rum or vodka-based milkshakes will appeal to anyone with a sweet tooth, provided they’re not fundamentally opposed to bridging the gap between drunk and dairy. For the sake of investigative journalism, we decided to eschew these solid bets and instead opted for the two most dubious, coagulated sounding shakes on the menu: the Drunken Guinness and the Bourbon Peanut Butter (both $4.50).
To our surprise, this self-sacrifice was rewarded with two delicious, and distinctly unusual, drinks. In one glass, the rich Guinness gave a burnished depth to its vanilla and Bailey's “mixers”, while the bourbon and peanut butter combined to deliver a rich, nutty punch – once you managed to suck the paste-like mixture up through the straw. In both drinks, the tang of the alcohol acted as a welcome counterbalance to the sweetness of the shake.
Taste test passed, questions do remain about what exactly is the appropriate scenario in which to sample these boozy treats. Crowd sourcing suggestions from friends has thrown up some diverse possibilities: perhaps it’s ideal as a stomach liner prior to a heavy night out, or maybe it’s better as a dessert? No one suggested that drinking more than one would be a sensible option.
The Watering Hole appears to be aware of the danger of being too niche. They’ve changed their name since opening – doing away with the more descriptive “The Milky Bar” – and now offer a reasonable selection of alternative drinks including cocktails, mocktails and even a wine list.
In a particularly canny pairing of novelty drinks, the bar also serves spirulina-infused beer – a cyanobacterium frequently taken as a dietary supplement for its supposed weight loss and anti-ageing properties. It looks like fizzy pond water but, happily, tastes like Heineken.
No one’s quite sure if spirulina can help you shed the pounds, or if it’s just another on a long list of overhyped health food crazes. I suggest you take science into your own hands by gorging on boozy milkshakes, and then downing spirulina beer to see if that reverses the effect. Utterly ineffective? Almost definitely. But it’ll be the most fun you’ve ever had on a fad diet.
#39, Street 308. Open 3pm-11pm daily