Bar, Cocktail, Sydney

Gin Garden.


A specialist Gin bar, with 20 varieties behind the bar, Plymouth in the rack. This, on paper, is my sort of bar. On the strength of the experience afforded by Merivale sister bar, Lotus, I dragged a few unsuspecting folk along to the Gin Garden, out the back of the Establishment in George St. 

It was packed, with a Friday crowd of footy watchers and ladies off to the dry-cleaners taking up pretty much every piece of available space between each wall. The fit out in the establishment is sparse, but the shiny crowd more than makes up for the lack of shiny things the other Merivale group venues I have visited. We skirted the crowd and found a niche under the glass expanse of the Gin Garden, a broken down linkage of building smartly bridged and luxuriant with peacock feathers and a line of Plymouth topping the bar. So far, so good.

I ordered a French 75, a CC & dry, a Whiskey Sour and a Negroni, using Tanqueray, for me. The engaging company stopped my usual ritual of watching the barman like a hawk.

On taking up my drink, the wheels began to fall off this experience. The colour was good, but the dishwasher warmth of their finest quality rocks ‘plastic’ was already diluting my cocktail but not imbuing the cool and crisp nature i love so much.

I took a sniff at the mixture and stifled the first hints of alarm, missing from the bouquet was the unmistakable smell of juniper.

Helen Keller once said:

Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived. 

The smell of a Negroni transports me across oceans, It reminds me of friends, it fills my soul with memory. The smell of this drink, stopped the music, ended my evening and sent me home unhappy. Forgetting the Gin in a Gin based cocktail, at a bar specializing in Gin is frankly unforgivable.

Style 8/10

Substance 2/10

252 George St, Sydney.

02 9240 3000

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Bar, Cocktail, Restaurant, Wine

Cafe Sydney


Can’t really be too positive about this place. The food was exceptional – small but oh so sweet Sydney rock oysters, perfectly cooked spicy smoky venison, and a lovely little fig and pear tart for dessert. Washed down with Torbreck ‘Struie’ Shiraz. Simply Divine.

On the cocktail front, I had a delightfully smooth Matusalem Gran Reserva Old Fashioned. 

The view caps off this epic venue, which does the simple things flawlessly.

Customs House, 5th Floor, 31 Alfred St, Circular Quay, Sydney.

(02) 9251 8683

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