The best whiskey bar in the world.
Is that too strong? I don’t think so. To be a whiskey bar, you of course need a lot of whiskeys, and Dillon delivers. They may not offer up the selection that a premiere bar in a traditional cosmopolitan city (Los Angeles, etc) might, but they have a respectable selection of whiskeys from around the world. There is so much more to Dillon, however.
First off, it is located in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. There isn’t a more awesome spot on the globe (IMHO). They don’t call it “Niceland” without reason. I have never felt so welcome in any bar (even the one down the street from where I’ve lived for over a decade) than I did strolling into the sole “whiskey bar” on the snowy landmass known as Iceland. Contrary to the popular belief that Iceland and Greenland have ironic names, Iceland is indeed home to much ice. They lay claim the largest glacier in Europe. But this isn’t a review of Iceland, though you should go. Now.
This place is the closest I have ever been to the mythical “Cheers,” but with an international twist. English is the adopted national second language, and it is spoken well, so you will have no problems getting around or making your wants known. This little island attracts the most varied assortment of individuals. Just sitting at the bar I met people from all over the world. It was an unforgettable experience.
The bar is located on the second floor of what was once a three-story house. The first floor is a burger joint (more on that later) and the upper attic becomes a concert venue on the weekends. A very cozy, intimate venue indeed. The bar itself is welcoming with warm woods and scattered seating. The framing of the original structure still exists, so there are a couple “rooms” of seating, albeit without walls. The bar dominates the space without being imposing.
But of course, this is all about whiskey, and Dillon has that in spades (wink, wink, take a look at their sign again). Coupled with awesome bartenders, otherworldly scenery, and international clientele, this place is a destination all in its own.
They had whiskey from all the usual places, a California whiskey I’d never heard of, Swedish, Japanese, as well as the lone domestic, Flokí. You can read more about that in my Whiskey Advocate magazine article.
My friend and fellow writer Laurie from Texas summed it up best: “This is amazing. I’m drinking Japanese whisky in an Icelandic bar listening to Johnny Cash while talking to a Canadian.”
And if you do go, don’t forget to check out the Chuck Norris Grill downstairs. Their Roundkick (No, not Roundhouse. Just go with it.) burger is not to be missed. If you ask the bartender nicely, they might even deliver, as the two are under the same ownership.