There are only so many times you can make the same journey home before even the prospect of walking in your front door becomes a chore. Anna and I had tread the same paving stones after a wander through Edinburgh so many times, it had all become a blur. It became an almost involuntary motion as we put one foot in front of the other and slowly shuffled our way home.
One day, we decided to throw it all to fate and take a right turn.
It was the best right turn I have ever taken.
What began as simply a change of scenery took us from France to Cairo, Taipei and onward to many distant places.
Little did we know, that simple diversion from our steadfast path would take us on the Voyage of Buck.
After we had walked across Edinburgh in the search of a new pair of shoes for me and a delicious slice of pizza or two, we headed home. Not ready to settle down for the night, we opted to head to a bar we had seen recently which had piqued our interest. It was literally because it was called Bert’s Bar.
We headed through the West End, past all the boutique shops and beauticians only to find that Bert was no more. There was neither hide nor hair of the bar we had travelled to sit down and drink in. In it’s place was somewhere called “The Voyage of Buck”. An odd name if ever I’d heard one.
The building is a big, navy blue thing with a shock of bright yellow pointing to an equally garish, canary yellow piano to the right of the front door.
We considered cutting our losses and heading home, but we had sought out this place so that we could enjoy a delicious drink somewhere which wasn’t our living room. So we pressed on.
Upon entering, we immediately felt a smile creep on to our faces. This was our new favourite bar. And we had yet to even try a drink.
In one corner there is a massive, inviting leather sofa, drowning in throws, pillows and some sort of pelt with a coffee table separating it from two faded green armchairs (which looked like the perfect place to sit with a glass of whisky and a good book).
Over the way, booths lined up across the world if you wanted to sit somewhere a little more intimate. We both imagined talking for hours under candlelight as we occasionally pressed the buzzer on the wall to intimate to the staff that we were ready for another round.
The bar itself is a majestic slab of marble which curves elegantly round to a straight line which then stretches on to almost infinity (it’s about 10ft or so, my way just sounded more poetic).
Our decision of where to sit was made for us when the barman headed over to the aforementioned coffee table and cleared it of jetsam. We were going to make ourselves comfortable on the massive sofa, adorn ourselves in pillows and probably fall asleep.
We had a look through the novella which they called a menu and found ourselves unable to make a choice. There were so many cocktails on there we wanted to try, to distil it down to one single drink seemed impossible. So we made an agreement, we would come back and try everything. Slowly, but surely.
I ordered the Dodd & Co. which is a whisky and oolong tea cocktail. It comes in an ornate, Chinese teacup and it took all of my willpower not to drink it in one go. I’m grateful to myself that I managed this as the drink got better as I slowly drank it.
It opens up with subtle citrus flavours and as your palate becomes accustomed to that, you begin to notice the tea flavour, once that has had it’s moment in the sun all of the flavours come together to pay homage to the wonderful whisky underneath.
Anna had a cocktail called C’est Beau La Vie which I have been reliably informed means “Life is Beautiful”. And if my life tasted as sweet as this drink, that would be my daily mantra. There is a playful, juvenile side to it which makes it incredibly easy to drink but there is a rich, elegant undertone which elevates it to becoming more than a cocktail. It has a sherbet like sourness to it in that it’s slightly tart but with a sweetness which makes it incredibly palatable. It tastes like fresh berries, springtime and sunshine.
We have only taken two steps on this journey, so far, and there are many more miles to go.