As the name suggests if you like the idea of a gin based drink, then Gin Palace is a fantastic bar to help you get better acquainted.
- Easy. Down a side alley like most bars in Melbourne, but easy to spot. Just look for the logo above the entrance.
- Type: Cocktail bar
- Food: Snack menu
- Music: Chilled lounge music
- Cover: None
One of the older more established bars in Melbourne’s CBD, Gin Palace has earned a reputation of being a cocktail bar that represents the cool and sophisticated side of the drinking night life. However since the explosion of funky bars in the CBD it has been challenged and there are now many places that are just as cool and sophisticated, just not as well known. Not being new has its advantages though; having been around so much longer it has almost established a certain look, feeling and ambience that other bars have not yet managed to replicate. Which is why it still gets listed on other websites as a good bar to go to when visiting Melbourne.
Opening the doors down to the bar it may take awhile for your eyes to adjust to the light and when they do you’ll find yourself in a large dimly lit room and worn looking furniture spread about. But this is definitely not a bad thing; as the couches are comfortable, the music is not too loud and relaxing and there is table service from the bar. Gin Palace is from the older school of cocktail bars where the focus is relaxing with a good cocktail and some friends; you won’t find any minimalist chic or a quirky themes here. This one of those bars that you could come to at any time of day and feel like you were drinking out late in some back alley speakeasy.
However depending when you visit it may not feel like you’re part of a select few who know this secret place. One of the side effects (or benefits for some) of being well known is that it can get quite busy there; especially with the after work, Friday or Saturday night crowds. This can affect the at other times great table service in that due to the large number of people the wait for your drinks (or sometimes order) can get long. But that happens at most places during these times. In terms of drinks if you’re coming here you probably should order a drink with gin in it. They have a very wide selection of gins and therefore a wide selection of gin based cocktails. Their cocktail menu aims for quality not quantity so it should not take you too long to decide.
While not as unique as when it first opened, Gin Palace still has a lot going for it: focus on an underrated spirit, a great atmosphere and an image that other bars are still trying to replicate. Definitely a place to try if you’re new to Melbourne’s bar scene or visiting from overseas/interstate.
+ Lots of gin
- Can get busy
- Could be seen as dated