10 Russel Place, Melbourne
BarAmigo’s two pesos – Not the liveliest early Friday night drinks venue but still trusty and reliable.
When visited – Friday 18 March 5.30pm to 7pm
A Melbourne bar review site wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include Gin Palace. Everyone calls it a “Melbourne Institution” but what does that mean? I won’t help answer that question but it started in 1997 as one of the first laneway bars and helped establish Melbourne’s laneway bar scene.
Its been a while since I was last at Gin Palace but it seems to have lost a little of its liveliness early on a Friday night. Places like Cookie and Emerald Peacock are where its at on this brisk March evening.
Arriving at 5.30 there’s many lounge areas still available. You certainly don’t need to rush here to bag your spot for the night. There’s various groups of suits and other professionals in dressed up casual clothes easing their way into the weekend.
There’s also a few 35-45 year old couples or small groups having that quiet drink before heading to dinner or the theatre. This kind of clientele has probably had many long nights at Gin Palace in the past and are reliving old times. There’s also younger couples having an intimate quiet drink in the lavish surrounds. Great for a pre dinner drink before that dinner date.
By 6.30, Gin Palace starts to get livelier and it starts to feel like it once did with noise levels picking up slightly. Thankfully there’s a large group of what seem to be work colleagues which fill out the space at the bar.
Gin Palace can always be trusted for its drinks. 9 beers which were all certainly not mainstream. We stuck to Sapporo 650ml cans at $15. There’s plenty of selection for wines by the glass. And of course you can’t go past gin and the various martinis and cocktails available.
Bar service and table service is friendly and efficient. My Sapporo fizzed uncontrollably upon opening and they kindly gave me a new one.
Gin Palace is a must go to bar if you’re travelling in Melbourne. Maybe hit it up later in the evening as it would no doubt be livelier then.
BarAmigo – Your friend at the bar
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