Saunter into The Montage Beverly Hills past Scarpetta and head up the curved stairway to the second story, where Los Angeles' most recondite shoebox bar (and probably its most affluent) hides behind a carapace of dark wood and buttery leather. With only nine tables, Ten Pound (or £10, if you prefer) seats no more than 36 people, befitting a bar devoted to the rarefied pleasures of expensive Scotch and those who can afford to drink it.
There's only one Scotch on the menu here, Macallan, but you have plenty of choices.
At $16 a glass, the 12-year-old Macallan is relatively affordable and eminently drinkable. At $64,000, the 64-year-old bottle may be a little less so. Here, the booze is so money it's actually printed on the currency. The name Ten Pound refers to Bank of Scotland ten pound notes, which were once printed with an image of Macallan's stills.
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We're partial to the 18-year-old sherry oak Macallan ($35), which is arguably better than the 21-year-old fine oak Macallan ($70), but you'll only go wrong if you water it down with one of the ice balls on offer. They're gorgeous and tempting. They may even be hand-carved from the frozen water of the Scottish highlands, but they accomplish nothing, except diluting pure Scotch.
For those who want something besides Macallan, Ten Pound has a tiny menu of other libations: Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, Rittenhouse rye, Herradura tequila, Stoli vodka and Nolet's, a flowery, pot-distilled dry gin suitable for berry-intensive summer cocktails spotted at Thirsty Crow.
Eats come from the Scarpetta kitchen and run from the predictably posh, like Royal Ostera caviar ($280), to the unexpectedly kicky, like garlicky bison tartare ($38). In a restaurant where plain spaghetti costs $24, expect nothing less.
Ten Pound, which opened Saturday, is open to everyone, though Montage hotel guests have preference. Reservations are definitely recommended. $50/minimum per person.