Patient Wolf Distilling Co
Sip clever gin cocktails just metres from where the gin was made at one of Victoria's largest independent gin distillery.
Patient Wolf's name might refer to a cheeky quote from Hollywood screen siren Lana Turner — she famously said "a gentleman is simply a patient wolf" — but it's also fitting given how many of the gin label's fans have been waiting (perhaps not so) patiently for it to open a tasting bar of its own.
Having launched the business in 2016, Matt Argus and Dave Irwin have been operating out of a cosy Brunswick distillery, only open to the public on a handful of celebratory occasions. But now, the wait is finally over — and just in time for gin season, no less. The team has just opened the doors to its new, much grander, Southbank digs, which come complete with a cellar door, cocktail bar and plenty of room for future growth spurts. In fact, once running on all cylinders, it'll be Victoria's largest independent gin distillery (now that Four Pillars is half-owned by Lion).
The distillery's entire operations have relocated here, with the boys' original 220-litre Müller copper still to be joined next year by another sleek German-made edition with five times the capacity as output amps up big-time.
At the front of the warehouse space, you'll find a warm, contemporary 30-seat tasting bar, where you can camp out, sipping gin with a direct view of where it was crafted. Further out the back is a larger lounge with leather banquettes, soft blue tones that reference the juniper berry, exposed brick walls and a few polished-up industrial elements.
Brand ambassador Blake Hall (Jasper's, The Store Room, Fall From Grace) is heading things up front of house. With the bar team, he'll be gently pushing the knowledge side of things and offering fun workshops and tastings along with top-notch Patient Wolf cocktails.
You'll spy Patient Wolf's three gins available neat ($12–16), as part of a flight ($20) or as an "ultimate G&T" ($18–20) made with Capi tonic and garnishes. There's also a selection of drops from other local craft booze producers including wines from SA's Unico Zelo, vodka from Sydney's Archie Rose, beers from fellow Victorian Wolf of the Willows and liqueurs by Marionette. And — off the back of some successful collaborations and barrel-ageing adventures with Cheltenham brewery Wolf of the Willows — you can expect plenty more small-batch experimental stuff to come, much of which will be exclusive to the bar.
An oft-changing cocktail list pays homage to the classics, without being afraid to get a little creative. Settle in with a vibrant snow pea collins ($20), a white miso sour ($20) or perhaps a a tropical OK Tiki Arr' ($22) with tonka bean, Campari and pineapple. You can pair all these with a small lineup of snacks, such as tinned seafood from MoVida ($14), chicken pâté from Theo's ($15).
To celebrate its opening (and the silly season) Patient Wolf will have extended opening hours until December 30, 2019, staying open till 10pm Thursday–Friday and 10pm Saturday–Sunday.
Images: Julia Sansone and Dean Schmideg