Chippendale’s Gin Lane has stolen our hearts as one of Sydney’s most unique bars. The reclaimed 18th Century terrace is positioned right in the centre of the thriving Kensington Street precinct and the exterior is oh so demur. Everything about Gin Lane is sexy and seductive with dark glossy walls and a string of small tables set on the footpath making it prime position to people watch.
Conceptualised by owner Grant Collins, Gin Lane is home to over 150 different Gins along with an impressive selection of Whiskey & Scotch. We arrive taking a table on the quaint front porch and decide on a cheese platter to nibble on whilst we try some cocktails.
On our visit we playfully comment Gin Lane could also be called ‘Man with a Torch’ but not to illuminate the dark, moody interiors but more to describe Collins’s love of lighting up his drinks.
Just like a great chef reinvents constructs of flavours, Collins reimagines cocktails and delivers them in the most theatrical of ways. A formidable story teller he has designed each drink with a unique twist, drawing wide inspiration from popular TV shows to bygone eras. It’s more than just a bar it’s a celebration of the senses and almost all of his creations arrive smoking or glowing in some respect.
Our introduction begins with two selections from the speciality G&T list- the winter prohibition and a luxury pink pepper G&T. The winter prohibition of course comes hidden in a brown paper bag and when it lands on our table it’s alight with a sparkler. Both gin and tonics prove to be a fresh, light start to our journey and we really enjoy the luxury pink pepper. Collins explains the tiny crimson berries used in the recipe are actually a dried fruit delivering a slightly sweet and spicy nuance rather than a hot peppery kick.
The next round is when we find our favourite cocktail for the night, the spiced bramble fog. Grant explains the experience of taste begins with the sensation of smell, so the spiced bramble fog is a 2 part drink. He instructs that before taking a sip we must first breathe in an aromatic fog that he swirls before us in another glass cylinder.
It’s incredible, a fusion of spicy black current flavours that somehow tastes thick and creamy. Maybe its the fog vapour that transforms this intriguing experience but it leaves you craving more.
Gin Lane is no ordinary bar that’s for sure. We absolutely love the creative expression in every drink, the GOT Wildfire for instance is inspired by none other than the TV series Game of Thrones. The foggy, bubbling concoction is served in a gothic goblet that transports you back to another time. The theatrics are just sensational.
The evening continues indulging in one incredible creation after another, again the story telling element playing a crucial role in each beverage. The smokers delight is a quirky and humorous blend of citrus combined with hemp gin and hemp seed infused Cointreau, along with a few drops of CBD oil. It even has an edible hemp stamp floating on the surface along with a stick of cannabis incense clipped to the side, infusing the surrounding air with a heady swirl of smoke.
Continuing the theme of prohibited substances we also try the breaking bad. Served in a medical beaker it’s presented with two additional elements; a small plastic ‘drug’ bag of Walter White smoked salt and a syringe of Champagne & Absinthe.
This drink packs a powerful punch, the salted Tequila base is mixed with Blue Falurnum, Orgeat Syrup, Absinthe, Green Chartreuse and Prosecco- it’s certainly not one for the faint hearted!
As the afternoon light begins to dim we notice more and more people flooding to this lively hub on Kensington Street and reflect on how much Chippendale has transformed. Once a gritty urban fringe suburb it’s now a polished metropolis of incredible dining options.
Looking around we see couples and groups of friends of all ages, in fact Gin lane is a fantastic bar for small groups, you can order share cocktails which are also highly instagramable.
The GL aquarium for instance is a giant, glowing fish bowl of gin deliciousness, complete with floating faux aquarium life, it also omits a haze of fog and heads turn when it arrives to a table.
To finish our Gin Lane adventure we enjoy a share cocktail that is new to Gin Lanes menu. Collins tells us he derived inspiration for this one from the film ‘Up’. The enormous cocktail is served in a sliver bucket and the smell of orange blossom is evident as soon as it set down in front of us. A flurry of rose petals and rounds of Orange float on the surface and a red helium ballon is tied to the buckets handle… Yep you guessed it- this ballon is here to pop! Collins produces his flaming torch just to be sure our evening finishes with a bang!
Gin Lane is definitely a great setting for you to go a ‘little extra’ if you’re feeling bold. The venue has a sense of romantic, old world charm so think sequin or sheeny fabrics like silk to glisten in the low light setting.
Designers like Rixo or Silvia Tcherassi come to mind in terms of inspo but check out our more affordable links for some glam! Also don’t worry about being cold at night there’s plenty of heaters at Gin Lane to keep you cosy.
I’m absolutely loving the Glamcorner premium subscription service. This playful dress is one of two gorgeous Zimmermann pieces I that I picked for my monthly box. If you haven’t heard of Glamcorner you guys need to get on board, for $99 you pick 3 pieces every month and after a month of looking fab you send them back, no need to dry clean or wash – just return!
Anyways back to my look, I also decided to throw on my Gilet for warmth as it was a little chilly when we went to Gin Lane. These shoes I’ve actually had for quite a while but hardly wear them as they are so delicate being a light coloured suede. Italian made shoes are so well constructed but these babies would be much more wearable in a darker shade.