Hamish Goonetilleke is building his very own Brunswick Street bar-crawl. First, it was The Rum Diary, the specialty joint with a 170-strong library of all things rummy. Now, it’s G&Tea, an al fresco bar dedicated to The Queen Mother’s crutch: gin. “I love gin, and I love rum, so why not?” says Goonetilleke.
Sprawling across the corner of Kerr and Brunswick Streets, G&Tea serves 10 cocktails and “Fitzroy High Tea” under a leafy plane. “You’ve got all that beautiful sunlight. This has got to be the spot for afternoon-to-early-evening,” Goonetilleke says.
At the moment, around 80 gins are available, but Goonetilleke is hoping to raise his stock to around 150 varieties ASAP. Bartender Andy Griffiths has prepared the cocktail list, using his own handmade tinctures, bitters and tea infusions. Standouts include the questionably named, but assuredly tasty, Pink Bits, made with Hayman’s Sloe Gin tang, Maidenii, pressed citrus, egg white and soda. Then there’s the French 750, with Bombay, chardonnay, quince and green tea, carbonated and served to share in a champagne bottle.
Chef Laura Rosadoni, formerly of Majority, is serving her take on the traditional English afternooner: Earl Grey-poached chicken sandwiches with pickled celery, Turkish-delight doughnuts, mini red velvets with juniper butter-cream frosting. “It’s a bit cheeky,” she says. “It’s high tea without the gloves or the choux pastry.”
Meanwhile, Goonetilleke isn’t finished with Fitzroy. While he’s tight-lipped about the next bar venture, there’s a Rum Diary-brand spiced rum due out later this year.
Happy hour is from 3pm to 6pm daily, with $5 tap beer and cider, $7 gin and tonics and $16 cocktail jugs.