Gin, glorious gin! We thought it’s high time that we tackled the topic of where to find this magical spirit in our fair city. Whether you muddle it with tonic, mix it with fruit, or simply sip it on its own (er, you might want to check that…), you’ll find all the gin you need at the seven best Melbourne bars for gin-lovers. Sip sip!
We thought we’d start with the obvious choice first. Hidden in Russell Place, Gin Palace is a mecca for gin drinkers. With its low-level lighting and velveteen couches, it makes both the perfect spot for a quick gin drop-in or an evening of appreciation. The bartenders are, as you would expect, experts in the topic, and the gins up for grabs span the globe, meaning there’s never a dull drink. You’ll also find a tonne of worthwhile gin events throughout the year here.
Gin level: Brush up on your gin-telligence, you’re going to need it.
G&Tea Gin Garden
Perched on the corner of Kerr Street, Fitzroy’s G&Tea Gin Garden is somewhat of an Aladdin’s cave of gins. The humble premises keeps a healthy stock of boutique gins and is currently home to Boss Man Food, a Jamaican street food pop-up kitchen from Yarraville’s Bax Food Co. Not sure what you should be sipping? Ask them to mix you up something special!
Gin level: The perfect gin-troduction to boutique spirits. Oh, and jerk chicken!
Classic cocktail bar The Everleigh is hidden up a staircase (that alone makes it one of the best bars in Melbourne in our opinion!) just off Gertrude Street’s main strip, meaning it’s usually only frequented by the most curious and discerning Melbourne cocktail drinkers. Specialising in classic drinks, if you’re looking for the perfect French 75 or not-too-bitter, not-too-sweet Tom Collins, this is your place.
Gin level: Expect gin-timate drinking and pretending you’re in The Great Gatsby.
While many a Lister has had a few too many gins before venturing into the CBD and failed to find this basement cocktail bar, its cocktails are worth the confusion! 1806 shakes and stirs some of Melbourne’s best cocktails in its basement venue, which you’ll find hidden behind a single solid door on Exhibition Street (protip: look for the lights above the doorway). If you’re not sure of what to have, ask the bartenders to mix you up something on the spot—much more fun than a gin and tonic!
Gin level: Off-menu drinking = True gin-spiration.
Lily Blacks keeps an array of gins including Martin Millers, Sipsmith’s choice and a couple of sloe infusions. Their cocktail list includes a little of everything, making it the perfect Melbourne gin venue to drag your whisky and vodka-loving mates to. How else are you gonna convert them?!
Gin level: Gin-erally great for all-round cocktail action.
Masterminded by Irishman Alan Mulvihill, Thomas Olive, a speakeasy-style bar that’s hidden above Melbourne restaurant Saint Crispin, takes its local gin seriously. Expect to sip on only the best from Four Pillars, Melbourne Gin Company, The Settler’s Gin, as well as small-batch imports such as The Botanist. Delish!
Gin level: A gin-uine treasure that’s perfect for dates.
While Berlin Bar doesn’t have an overly extensive range of gins, it does a mean gin-based twist on the whisky sour, the Luftwaffe Sour, which makes excellent use of a large portion of Tanqueray. Plus, the bar is decked out like either East or West Germany, depending on which side you enter, making for a truly unique gin experience.
Gin level: You’ll actually feel like you’re drinking a highball in Germany. C’mon, use your ima-gin-ation!
Keen to share your own gin-sights with our team? Get in touch with your recommendations for the best bars in Melbourne here.
Image credit: Thomas Olive by Nick West for The Urban List