THE SIX BEST GIN BARS IN AUCKLAND
If you fancy something gin-esque to ingest.
Gin gets a bad rap from time to time. This is perhaps due to its unfortunate nickname "mothers ruin" and the fact that it was often flavoured with turpentine until a hundred years ago. However everyone's favourite juniper tipple is enjoying a global renaissance. Gone are the associations of tears at midnight and 90 cent mixers from Pak'n Save; replaced with a certain swanky sophistication and inclusion on the cocktail lists of some of the most high brow joints in town.
When it's mixed just right gin is a botanical delight, which takes the cake as the ultimate summer beverage. Auckland's many watering holes are catching on, filling their bar menus with exotic G&T varietals and gin cocktails, whose staggering deliciousness defies belief. So put your vodka, vino or whiskey aside and read on to discover the wonderful new world of gin bars in Auckland.
Smack in the middle of Auckland’s coolest village suburb, Mt Eden, Scarlett Slimms & Lucky is a neighbourhood gastropub and cocktail bar, inspired by the effortless cool of film noir classics of yesteryear. There’s a generous selection of classic gin cocktails, all of which you can customise with your gin of choice. The bartenders know their stuff, so if you’re an uninitiated gin sipper, cry out and they’ll point you towards the perfect liquid, botanical treat. Plus the airy, sunbathed garden bar out front is the perfect spot to sip on something zesty and refreshing.
Unlike its big brother, Grand Central, Cork cannot be described with words like, ‘rowdy’, ‘raucous’ or ‘rambunctious’. Instead, it’s more befitting of terms such as ‘undiscovered’, ‘classy’, ‘intimate’ and ‘sophisticated’. With a selection of over 25 premium gins, and supremely knowledgeable bartenders, this little hole-in-the-wall off Ponsonby Road is the perfect spot for quaffing gin charged bevvies. If it’s cold out, snug up next to the fire in a plush leather arm chair with one of hundreds of Irish whiskeys available; if not get outside in the small courtyard and sip on one of many rejuvenating gin mixtures on offer.
Often acknowledged as one of Auckland’s finest watering holes – this intimate wee spot has a phenomenal cocktail list, featuring a bevvy of mouthwatering gin creations. Located on the first floor of Hotel Debrett, the house bar exudes old school cool, featuring a varnished wood interior and bartenders who dress way snazzier than you do. If you’re after something gin-esque to ingest, go with the Green Snapper – a quirky mix featuring Tanqueray gin, pineapple juice, chilli, coriander and mint. Sounds odd but it’ll blow your mind – pinky swear.
Cassia is famous for its modern Indian cuisine and gin bar, masterminded by culinary ninja and general genius, Sid Sahrawat. Situated on the freshly revived Fort Lane, this place oozes understated sophistication.
The drinks list is eclectic and interesting; including several gin cocktails and eight G&T varietals – each using a different gin, tonic and fruit to flavour. These are the very best G&Ts in Auckland (plus if you work up an appetite from all the elbow bending, the food is equally phenomenal)
This New York inspired bar nails a cool neighbourhood vibe with a broad but delectable drinks list, addictive food menu and dishy bartenders who occasionally don bow ties and suspenders. The gin-heavy drinks list was crafted by Jason Clarke, who has twice won the World Class Cocktail Championships and has been called, “The best beverage brain in New Zealand”. If you’re in the mood for some experimentation, grab the Scarlett Fizz, a gin cocktail featuring the likes of hibiscus, toasted marshmallow and pop rocks.
Stroll up an unassuming staircase, just off Vulcan Lane and transport yourself to a hidden speakeasy gin parlour. You’ll be greeted by one of the most charming and unique venues in our city, adorned with authentic 1920’s style decor, littered with antiques and curiosities; from antiquarian typewriters, to plush chaise lounges and vintage posters.
Award winning mixologists Cameron Attfield and James Millar have crafted a modestly priced cocktail list ($12 to $16), which focuses on using premium gin and fresh produce to create delicious and unique taste sensations. The menu features the usual suspects all executed flawlessly; as well as more experimental tipples to delight your palate – like a Chocolate Collins with Hayman’s Gin and white cacao. This is undoubtedly the finest gin bar in all of Auckland and you must call in if you’re a fan of my mum’s favourite botanical spirit.