Bars & Pubs

Keep Your Gin Up At Kings Cross Distillery, A Brand New Gin Bar In A Former Adult Book Store

By Sammy Preston
29th Sep 2020

The interior of the Kings Cross Distillery Bar in Sydney.
The interior of the Kings Cross Distillery Bar in Sydney.
The interior of the Kings Cross Distillery Bar in Sydney.
Outdoor seating at Kings Cross Distillery bar in Sydney.
A bartender pouring a Negroni Bianco at the Kings Cross Distillery in Sydney.
The interior of the Kings Cross Distillery Bar in Sydney.
The interior of the Kings Cross Distillery Bar in Sydney.
The interior of the Kings Cross Distillery Bar in Sydney.
Outdoor seating at Kings Cross Distillery bar in Sydney.
A bartender pouring a Negroni Bianco at the Kings Cross Distillery in Sydney.

Sydney is a gin lover’s paradise—and it just keeps getting better.

This year, we’ve had a gin drive-thru and the arrival of Four Pillars’ first-ever Sydney outpost with the extra-dreamy Four Pillars Gin Lab (complete with hidden bar) in Surry Hills. And this week—just in time for the long weekend, of course—Kings Cross Distillery will open in a former adult bookstore on Macleay Street in Potts Point.

You’ll find the distillery and cocktail bar near the dandelion fountain in a building that has a very Kings Cross past. In the 60s it was a speakeasy and an illegal gambling den, later it became the Private Book Shop and then the Ecstasy Adult Book Shop. 

The bar will hero the Kings Cross Distillery's (KXD) Australian Classic Dry Gin. Made using the single-shot method and vapour distillation in a 200-litre still nicknamed Miss Pottsy, it’s inspired by a recipe dating back to 1927 and the era of the Sydney Razor Gangs and features classic London Dry botanicals like juniper, coriander seed, and cardamom pods.

The gin has also been given a distinct Sydney flavour with Sydney organic lemons and native myrtles. It’s sweet, gently floral, and curvy—with subtle notes of baker’s spice, exotic woods, and grapefruit, best served with Indian tonic and a slice of preserved lemon peel.

The pièce de résistance on the menu at KXD, however, will be the perfected Aalto Martini, made with 60ml of KXD gin, dry vermouth rinse, and a slice of preserved lemon peel.

Other cocktails on the menu include a classic Negroni with a flambé finish, a Negroni Bianco, a peach gin fizz called "Impeachment", a sinful, floral G&T called "Sin and Tonique", and a pear-infused cocktail called "Pear of Kings". 

“The colourful and rich history of Sydney's Kings Cross and its Sydney surrounds, are the inspiration behind our vapour infused gins,” KXD distiller and spirit architect Odelia Potts said. 

As for what's to eat, a menu of tasty snacks with a general Mediterranean vibe has been crafted to pair with your gin. Tuck into Spanish-style anchovies or garlic prawns, Albondigas (meatballs in a rich tomato sauce), or chorizo a la plancha (grilled chorizo with Manchengo cheese). If you're feeling a bit baller, caviar is on the lineup in 10g serves, and edible gin nad juniper delicacies for big-time gin enthusiasts. 

The KXD wine list has been pieced together by sommelier and former judge of the Australian Wine List of the Year, Ben Moechtar, and there's also a handpicked edit of whiskies in a "distiller's whisky library."

The distillery's design pays homage to its storied past—the split-level bar is an on-brand, refined and elegant speakeasy, with emerald green leather booths, private dining spots, exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors, marble and brass accents, and an antique vault filled with shiny bottles of KXD gin. 

Because its spring and outdoor dining is trending in 2020, there's also a little alfresco section fronting onto super-charming Llankelly Place. 

“We are so thrilled to finally be able to open the venue completely and share our gin creations with the world, following a challenging time for the hospitality industry in Australia,” Potts added. 

Kings Cross Distillery is slated to open this Thursday 1 October. Opening hours and more details are here

For now, here's a list of our favourite Aussie gins to shop for your home bar

Image credit: Kings Cross Distillery

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