Dr.Ink has been around in Hangzhou for quite some time, but recently moving into the busy West Lake InTime Mall, it has become a perfect spot for a post-shopping drink. The setting is a bit unusual compared to other cocktail bars in the city, sharing its space with an Italian restaurant. They have used this to their advantage though, giving it a bit of a quirky feel, with plenty of areas off from the main bar for a more intimate drinking environment.
Much to our pleasure, we comfortably sat up at the bar and talked away with the English speaking mixologist, nicknamed 19. She explained to us the philosophy behind her place: “My bar is a therapist,” a place to relax, unwind, and just let go of your troubles. This approach has landed her a loyal customer base, with everyone getting a wee bit more of a personal touch to their experience. For those who love gin, Dr.Ink has an impressive collection, including some bottles rare to bars in China.
Starting the evening off, we had a Cocchi Negroni (70RMB), made together with cocoa bitters and grapefruit. Without being too strong or over-flavored, it was a nice twist on a Negroni. Although, it should be noted that the drinks tend to be on the sweet side; if you prefer otherwise, just let 19 know. We went on to have a classic Whiskey Sour (65RMB), made with a higher proof corn whiskey. Despite its higher alcohol level, it went down smoothly, leaving a lovely aftertaste. Since Dr.Ink is a gin bar, we thought it would only be natural to try a Dry Martini (80RMB). This particular rendition involves using a half-half mix of two fantastic bottles of gin, Martin Millers and Dodd’s Gin, featuring different flavor profiles. They complimented each other beautifully, with a smooth and refreshing flavorful taste. The olive was served on the side in a shot of dry vermouth, making us call in to question why its ever served otherwise.
Dr.Ink left us thoroughly impressed with the level of professionalism and thought that went in to their cocktails. On the night we went, it was packed full with a mostly female crowd. The prices are very good, especially considering the quality of the drinks and other bars in the area. Smoking is permitted. Street parking available.