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Get into the swing of gin at a few of Melbourne’s finest bars and restaurants.
Gins of every description grace the shelves at Gin Palace, one of Melbourne’s original laneway bars. Since 1997, its cosy nooks and masterful martinis have been loved by gin aficionados and the gin-curious alike. The drinks list includes nine gin and tonics and eight martinis – try the 'Vesper' of James Bond fame. Food can be ordered from the bar, partnering a cocktail or two in high style. This pleasingly plush palace welcomes guests until well after midnight.
The only thing that could make this floating bar more of a summer haven is their very own pink gin. Arbory Afloat's collaboration with Four Pillars Gin is bang on theme with this year's Turkish beach house vibes. Inspired by the stunning pink sunsets of the Turquoise Coast, it's filled with citrus, spice and a dash of Turkish delight. Enjoy it in a spritz (they're on tap) or stretch out on a day bed with a rosey G&T.
Crossley St Cantina
The Spanish don't do G&Ts, they do an epic version called gin tonica. At Crossley St Cantina, it comes served in a Spanish goblet, matched with tonic and garnishes to complement the botanicals in the gin. Bottomless brunch here is 90 minutes of Spanish share plates and all you can drink sangria and gin tonicas. The perfect excuse to try every flavour combo. From the gin mare with olives and rosemary to the Archie Rose signature dry with strawberries and cucumber.
Pilgrim Bar’s Gin High Tea
Pilgrim puts a cheeky twist into the classic high tea. Over two hours, you’ll dine on dainty sweet and savoury bites. Then there are the drinks. They include three gin-based, tea-inspired cocktails and bottomless sparkling wine or tea. For non-drinkers, there’s a legit tasting alcohol-free gin to sip instead. Be sure to book early for this sensational $65 deal.
South Wharf Summer Garden
Gin and tonics, riverside sunshine and a chilled out beach theme. The annual summer pop-up at Common Man has really turned it on this year. When you're done sipping your first fruity gin cocktail, order off an Amalfi Coast themed menu. Think fresh seafood, rustic pasta and antipasto share plates. Snap a selfie in the Malfy gin beach chair and relax.
Om Nom Kitchen
Craving a gin cocktail with wow-factor? You can’t go past Om Nom Kitchen’s 'purple haze' G&T, which changes colour before your eyes. Made from butterfly pea tea-infused gin, lavender syrup and lemon-lime tonic, it’s just one of this sleek dessert bar’s temptations. We also love their toasted pecan negroni. Conjured from pecan gin, this nutty treat is served in a dreamy cloud of smoke.
Little Lon Distilling Co
Tucked inside a tiny cottage from the 1800s, Little Lon Distilling Co draws on the city’s rich bohemian history. They make small-batch gins named after colourful characters from Melbourne’s past. This distillery is also an atmospheric cocktail bar, so you can try an 'aviation' shaken with their Proudfoot gin. Or perhaps a twist on the classic French 75 cocktail, made with a bottle of Miss Yoko.
Malfy Gin Garden at Left Bank Melbourne
Live la dolce vita on the Amalfi Coast, right here in Southbank. Left Bank Melbourne's Italian-themed Malfy Gin Garden is in session for the summer with brand new gin-infused cocktails. Sip bright and fresh flavours like blood orange, hibiscus and basil while overlooking the Yarra River.
Bottomless G&Tea Party at State of Grace
Offered every Saturday, the gin-tastic take on high tea at State of Grace is an experience fit for a queen. Settle in at the rooftop ‘State’ level for two hours of city-skyline views, fancy drinks, sweet treats and savoury bites. Bottomless sips include classic gin and tonic, as well as house-infused gin – like orange and rhubarb – with tonic. Then take a tumble down the rabbit hole and uncover their secret hidden door.
Named for that classic gin cocktail, Gimlet is all class. An airy, elegant space in the 1920s Cavendish House building, it features a marble bar and plush booth seating. This recent addition to super-chef Andrew McConnell’s empire offers contemporary, European-inspired fare. The menu’s driven by the seasons – as is the gin and tonic, which is tweaked through the year. Heading the cocktail list is, of course, the gimlet, which gets a native twist with Geraldton wax.
There's an exclusive new gin in town and this ultra-chic restaurant is the only place you'll find it. Society's oyster shell gin is a collab with Never Never Distilling Co. The oyster shells give a subtle sea spray flavour to the gin. Take another sip and you'll taste more coastal ingredients like Geraldton wax and saltbush. Try it in the jalapeno Gibson. It's garnished with a cocktail onion and no, it's not too spicy.
Henry and the Fox
A favourite with office workers in the CBD’s west end, this restaurant and bar makes knocking off early very tempting. The 3pm to 5pm happy hour specials at Henry and the Fox include $12 spritzes with pink gin and blood orange. Early or late, you'll also want to try their negronis (which are always $18). Go for the classic mix of gin, vermouth and Campari, or try one of their fresh takes. Like the 'ruby red negroni', a combo of gin, Chambord and Prosecco.
This Chinatown bar ticks all the Melbourne boxes. It’s down a laneway and has a rooftop – with a retractable roof so tipples go down nicely in any weather. Union Electric’s rooftop gin garden is high on our list because of their OTT G&T, which changes every week. Pop in and find out which gin is being mixed with quality tonic water, and topped with an OTT garnish. Or just keep coming back for eternal favourites like the 'bush apple sour' made with Australian bush apple gin.
Bored of basic G&Ts at the bar? Melbourne's largest bar and games venue is a high-end playground for adults. Have a hit of ping pong, rule the shuffleboard courts, test your aim in the darts booth or enter virtual reality. Then shake up your order with a Patient Wolf Gin from Ballers Clubhouse's 'don't be a basic baller' menu. The Melbourne-distilled gin is topped up with soda and zingy fresh grapefruit.
Please drink responsibly.
More top spots for a gin fix
Everything But Gin Distillery
A boutique distillery offering blending sessions and tours.
Last updated on Tue 21 Dec 2021
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A basement cocktail bar with a focus on innovative cocktails and a warm welcome.
Miranda Tequila Bar
Serving a selection of ultra premium tequilas, tasting boards and cocktails.