Redfern's new watering hole, Moya's Juniper Lounge, takes a reverent approach to all things gin. Since opening on Regent Street, the little hole-in-the-wall venue has been generating industry buzz, and it's not hard to see why. It's not flashy or elaborate – forget extensive menus that cater to your every whim. Instead, the Moya's team are single-mindedly interested in perfection.
The mainstay of the operation is the sassy gin-centric cocktail list, each garnished with the words of great drinkers and thinkers of the ages – including the Queen Mother, Robert Downey Jr. and George Costanza.
"All the drinks are classics," says co-owner and operator Charles Casben. "We're not doing anything new but we're trying to do traditionalism well." The bar currently serves a small but well paired menu, featuring pickle plates, cured meats sliced to order, and a ham and cheese sandwich on a brioche bun. Perfectly sophisticated, dahhling.
The interior of the venue hints at traditionalism, and that's fitting. The history of gin reaches back over two hundred years and has appealed to completely polar identities during that time. When gin was introduced in England in the early 1700s, it was thought an unethical and wicked vice of the lower classes. After doing battle with prohibition and alcohol reform and emerging as a gentleman's drink, gin production became more refined, more like the gin we know (and love) today. Moya's Juniper Lounge references the gin palaces of old with a cosy but plush atmosphere, mismatched velvet lounges, long runner rugs and old fashioned decoration.
Still, while they may serve cocktails and delicate sandwiches, there's nothing snooty about this place, which is gunning to become your new local. "We really wanted it to be a local, friendly little cocktail bar," says Casben. "When I was working at Ester, the community around Chippendale/Redfern had a really local, genuine, friendly atmosphere and it was really enticing; we wanted to be a part of it."
Images: Steven Woodburn.