Tequila, rum, vodka, scotch – none of them do it for you. No, you, my friend, are a gin drinker. Cool, collected, and refreshing, always with a G+T in hand and a great gin bar in mind. And you’re about to get an even longer list of havens for your sacred spirit.
That’s right, all around Australia, gin is taking off; it’s the new black. So we’ve done a little digging and uncovered some of the most dedicated and delicious gin bars around, no matter which state you’re in.
Archie Rose Distilling Co., 85 Dunning Ave
Designed with a nod to the 1920s, Archie Rose is a quirky little bar tucked away in the suburb of Rosebery. Spurred on by the notion that Sydney was lacking a dedicated distillery, Archie Rose aims to bring back the customised flavour to spirits, namely gin.
Archie Rose does all its work on the same site it pours the drinks, and you can even have a crack at tailoring your own blend if you’re a total gin fanatic. If it’s just a drink you’re after though, try one of the flight paddles expertly put together by the passionate bartenders.
The Barber Shop, 89 York St
Part groomer, part gin shrine, The Barber Shop is a truly unique venue. Yes, they do actually offer a hot shave here, but you can guarantee your barber knows as much about gin as he does shaving techniques.
With 500 gins and counting stocked behind the bar, a great vibe and a delicious selection of cocktails, this nostalgic bar makes for one heck of a fun night out. Oh, and did we mention it’s won ‘Gin Bar of the Year’ for the past two years?
The Stillery, 33 Cross St
Inside this suave Double Bay hotel, you’ll find a bar that revolutionised many locals’ gin drinking. The 1940s-inspired cocktail lounge boasts over 100 limited edition and vintage varieties of gin from all over the world, so you’re truly spoilt for choice.
The Stillery’s mixologists know their craft well, so whatever flavour you’re going for, they can make a drink to suit. Grab some bar snacks to go with it and you’re in for a good night.
Bad Frankie, 141 Greeves St
Gin Masters and jaffles – what more could you want in a bar?! In fact, at Bad Frankie, it’s hard to feel disappointed, with the baddest range of boutique Aussie spirits this side of town.
This bar sports an early 20th century atmosphere, and offers Master Classes in your favourite spirits, AKA gin. And for the record, the Jez & Jackie Shrub, featuring gin, pineapple and cinnamon, is a tough drink to beat.
The Gin Palace, 10 Russell Place
With a name like ‘Gin Palace’, you’d expect a pretty impressive array of gin, and that’s exactly what you get in this bar. You’ll find the Gin Palace down a dark Melbourne alley, and you’ll hear the slow jazz music before you even reach the door.
The venue offers Master Classes using an age-old recipe, while the tongue-in-cheek staff and slinky decor make sure the Gin Palace stays true to its reputation of debauchery, devilishly good martinis and damn good hospitality.
The Store Room, 2-12 St Kilda Rd
A modern day speakeasy packed full of gin and whisky, The Store Room is one of the newer kids on the block. But don’t expect them to be out there promoting themselves; you’ll have to look hard to find this hidden hole in the wall. But when you do, you shall be rewarded.
Run by passionate and dedicated bartenders with a top-notch selection of gins, this place has fast become popular with the locals, although many admit to wanting to keep their new favourite a secret.
Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess, 51 Alfred St
Calling all gin lovers, we’ve found you a new home in Brisbane! This laidback plantation style bar serves up tasty morsels, clever cocktails and an impressive 240+ strong spirit collection, including over 100 gins.
Dutch Courage pays great homage to the invention of the Gin and Tonic, the campaign tents and mess halls of yesteryear, and celebrates the good spirit by throwing all of its guests a really good time.
John Mills Himself, via 55 Elizabeth St Driveway, 40 Charlotte St
By the looks of that address, you could assume this place comes with an inconspicuous entrance that’s somewhat hard to find. Well, you’d assume right, but once you do find your way inside, John Mills Himself is quite the little gin sanctuary.
One of the coolest features of this bar, however, is the way they present each beverages’ ‘Drink Miles’ – the distance each drink has travelled to get there – so you can choose to drink local and reduce your carbon footprint. We’ll drink to that!
BOSC, 69 Vulture St West End
BOSC stands for Bar of Social Conscience, but that’s not all they strive to be, with quite the collection of specialty gin cocktails. They also serve great wine and craft beers if you’re bringing a non gin-loving friend.
The ambience here is quirky and cool, with red velvet couches and a nice outdoor space, perfect for reclining with a refreshing G+T.
Frisk, 103 Francis St
Very few bars stock the same level of gin or demonstrate the same level of commitment as Frisk small bar. Brimming with varieties from Australia and around the world, Frisk is a fab spot for an unpretentious beverage.
Located in Northbridge, they’re not kidding when they say they like gin; they’ve got featured gins, gin martinis, sloe gin, and about two more pages of extra gin varieties. But we must admit, it’s best enjoyed solely with fellow gin lovers.
The Standard, 28 Roe St
What does a rooftop bar, Asian cuisine and Tanqueray gin have in common? Why, they all come part and parcel with this divine gin hotspot in the middle of Perth, that’s what!
With a burgeoning drinks list featuring dainty classics, cocktails packed with flavour, and everything in between, The Standard is a glorious way to spend your afternoon. You can’t go past the Yes Way Rosé cocktail, made with Tanqueray gin, watermelon, rosé and grapefruit sherbert.
Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting, 484 Beaufort St
With 15 different bottles of gin, five tonics and 15 garnishes to choose from, it’s safe to say Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting are big on gin. There’s even an extra page in the menu devoted to limited edition gins from around the world.
But it’s the cocktails that are special in their own right, with the ‘Gintonica’ menu showcasing fresh ingredients like oranges, lime and watermelon matched with all varieties of gin. Don’t miss Happy Hour from 5-6pm each day for gins under $8.
Udaberri, 11-13 Leigh St
A long, dimly lit room playing old records while you sink into a booth or perch on a stool at the bar, ordering a martini; that’s the vibe at Udaberri.
The food menu boasts everything from chorizo and olives to anchovy and blue cheese and prosciutto dates. Meanwhile, its drinks menu rattles off over 10 types of Gin and Tonic and an assortment of gin-flavoured cocktails. Our favourite? The sipsmith, with dehydrated orange, lemon myrtle and east imperial tonic.
Maybe Mae, 15 Peel St
Maybe Mae is a secret art deco bar dishing up fine foods alongside a spate of sweet cocktails. You’ll find the entrance nestled down a tunnel in between Peel and Leigh St, where the booths are green leather, the mirrors are brass and the drinks are customised.
Gin isn’t the only drink on the menu, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the stars. We were particularly fond of the ‘Ume Thurman’, a cocktail packed with gin, umeshu (plum), kumquat, green tea and grapefruit.
Bank Street Social, 48 Hindley St
It’s 5-stars all round for this quaint little bar, whose walls are lined with exotic spirits all the way up to the ceiling. Bank Street Social was named Best Small Bar the same year it opened, and it takes pride in showcasing local beverages.
The bar has one of Adelaide’s largest spirit collections, with a big focus on gin and whisky. The bartenders know their stuff and are more than happy to offer suggestions or whip up something special, depending on what you’re in the mood for.