Gin Lane’s plan is to make a convert of anyone who says they don’t like gin. According to bartender Grant Collins, when people say they don’t like gin, they’re talking about juniper. Of the 80 gins Gin Lane has available, many are light on the juniper; they focus instead on fresh botanicals such as lemon and lime. Such as a gin from Spain called Gin Mare, with flavours of olives, thyme and rosemary.
The gin and tonic on draught is infused with lavender, fresh grapefruit and tonic bitters. The lemon aspen gimlet is another mildly gin-y drink made with citrus-heavy lemon aspen berries foraged in the northern beaches. The berry puree is made into sorbet using liquid nitrogen.
Not everyone’s palate is averse to juniper, though. The Gin Riot – named for a time when Londoners rioted in protest of government-imposed tax on the spirit – is a drink made with Genever (a juniper-heavy Dutch gin), banana, clove vinegar and topped with wheat beer, which is a great conductor of flavour.
Gin Lane is in the terrace that once housed Bar Chinois. The colour palette is black and teal with brass accents. On Friday nights a DJ spins outside the bar’s tiny kitchen, and upstairs there’s a warren of small rooms furnished with intimate tables and leather couches.
For food, there’s a short menu of snacks that includes salt-and-pepper cuttlefish, a beef burger and a cheese plate.