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.
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.
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.
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 happy hour specials at Henry and the Fox include $15 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.
Mad Hatter's 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 strawberry and basil – 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.
Head for the skies and land at Fable, Melbourne's highest rooftop bar. Feast on Mediterranean-style share plates while you enjoy the sweeping city views. The bespoke cocktail list is inspired by fables and stories throughout history. Try 'Borgia's Plot', based on a passionate crime-drama from the Renaissance era. This beefeater gin cocktail boasts a zesty mix of Havana rum, kaffir lime, galangal and cherry liqueur.
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 a theatrical garnish. Or just keep coming back for eternal favourites like the 'bush apple sour' made with native pink 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.
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