Early last year the Hilton Hotel unveiled their new and improved cocktail bar: the Collins Bar. Unlike the old bar, which sat between the hotel lobby and the Brasserie restaurant, the Collins Bar is a stand alone bar with its own entrance from the front of the hotel. It means that whether you're a hotel guest, or just someone after a good drink, you can head to the bar without feeling like you need to book a room.
Despite the separate entrances, there's still something that feels very hotel bar about the space. There's a large beautifully designed wooden table that curves around most of the front bar area, and then an almost 70s inspired lounge bar through to the left of the bar. It's easy to get comfy on the low-set lounges, and time travel to a 19th Century opium den doesn't seem that unlikely. As it happens, we're definitely stuck pretty hard in the 21st Century, so the Collins Bar is a much classier affair. There's definitely no opium or bodies draped over lounges--just a good selection of cocktails and an enjoyable spot to drink them.
The cocktails on the menu are quite inspired. They're a little bit kooky and enjoy some interesting twists. The granny smith apple cider sour plays on the traditional sour (usually a base liquor, lemon or lime juice, and something sweet). The vodka base is mixed with citrus and topped with homemade cider. The most in intriguing part is the apple cider sphere, a sphere of frozen apple cider floating in the middle of the drink. You can eat it like sorbet, or slowly mix it into the cocktail turning your drink into a kind of alcoholic slushee.
Even if you're onto the straight stuff, there is an impressive list of spirits available whether you're a whisky (whiskey), gin, or rum drinker. The list of whiskies includes some impressive bottles from Scotland, Ireland and the US, as well as an attractive list of Japanese whiskies. If you're a little unsure with the menu, just ask one of the bartenders. They know their stuff and will happily guide you through the drinks menu to find something to suit your style and palate.
There's a good selection of bar food available, and the choice varies depending on whether you're after evening food or late night snacks. There's finger food and choices like sliders, skewers, or oysters.
Popular for after work drinks, the Collins Bar is also great if you're after a drink before or after a meal in China Town. It's just a short walk from the main Gouger Street strip, and features a selection not too common down that end of town. The Collins Bar is open 7 days a week, from afternoon till late (only till 10pm on Sundays). It doesn't have the same feel as many of Adelaide's small bars that are popping up over town, but its a classy cocktail bar that has some interesting choices.