Thursday, 9 August 2012

Gin Palace - Down The Rabbit Hole

Gin Palace Russell Street Melbourne
Look for this sign over the big red
doors on Russell Lane
The first time I visited Melbourne as an adult a decade ago, it was suggested that I drink at the Gin Palace. It saddens me that I can not remember the rogue that recommended this bar so that I could thank him now and return the favour. This is the bar that by far I have frequented the most in Melbourne, have the most poignant memories from, has been the site of immeasurable good times and caused a hangover or two as a by-product of exchanging money for gin-based alcoholic beverages and a martini from time-to-time.

Unlike the Croft Institute, the journey to Gin Palace is rather simple. It is next to Sarti on Russell Place off of Little Collins Street. You can't miss the big red doors which will lead you down the rabbit hole into a darker world with half hidden alcoves, comfortable furniture, nooks and crannies where very attentive table service will encourage you relax, converse and drink some very professional prepared cocktails, my favourite being the Winston Churchill Martini. This boozer is not all about gin-based drinks and Martinis though. Dusty bottles of wine are gaoled in the walls, locked away and gather dust just waiting for you to break them free. The wine list is very special however it is not often that I see anyone drinking it at this place as there is a time and place for everything. Unique beers are on offer and the most memorable is curiously named Vergina.

When the music is on, it never overwhelms and it never distracts from the conversation at hand. Whether it is Thursday at 4:00 PM or Friday at 1:00 AM, the service remains consistently efficient and professional. Many times I have encouraged the bar team just to make my party whatever they are in the mood to make, even to experiment at times, and they have never disappointed. I find it relaxing to be able to leave the decisions to the bar where the product is ultimately ferried out to you on a silver tray.

Some places have to be experienced in person. It is hard to articulate a decade of good times experienced in this alternate world so you will have to take my word that it is a wonderful place and try it for yourself. I am told that the chicken sandwich is to die for late in the evening however I have not tried it and frankly I never knew it existed, so there is something new to look forward to when I visit late in the evening or early in the morning, next time around.

Gin Palace, Melbourne

Gin Palace
Link to review
10 Russell Place Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 0533
My Rating: 16/20
Service: 4/5
Ambiance: 4/5
Quality: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Comment: Try the Winston Churchill Martini

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

As of this writing, 88% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like this place.

Gin Palace on Urbanspoon