The Gin Palace
Gin Palace is open every night till 3am so the party is EVERY night!
Reminiscent of Gin Palaces gone by, we are a late night cocktail bar specialising in all things juniper based, with a selection of over 200 gins!
The term 'gin palace' was used, pejoratively, during the 19th Century to describe disreputable and socially undesirable drinking houses. In the USA, it was particularly employed to identify the licensed paddle-steamers that plied the Mississippi River, so-called 'floating gin palaces'.
What is this Gin Palace?
In the latter 1800's, down a dark Melbourne alley, there once was an infamous hospitality venue. How it was frowned upon during daylight hours, yet surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, how it was frequented by all kinds at night. Whether through popular opinion, a desire for frankness, or a sense of irony, it adopted the title 'Gin Palace'. However to the delight of the local wowsers and press, this drinking house was abruptly shut down by command.
And from here the years rolled by and right on the cusp of Melbourne's lane way revolution along came the entrepreneurial Mr Vernon Chalker - famously one of Melbourne's most indulgent hosts. It was 1997 and the who's who of Melbourne were giddy with excitement as the doors were opened. From day one gin martini's and champagne came flowing and this lavish basement promptly became one of Melbourne's finest and is of course so very aptly named Gin Palace.
What's it all about?
12 years on Gin Palace is still making and is most highly renowned for outstanding martinis. And that is one of many reasons why this plush den is an institution today. The menu has changed little and Vernon himself will tell you that Gin Palace martinis are made exactly the same today as they were when he opened (Gin Palace's Martini Master Class is available upon request).
This fact, along with 'we never close' hours, the very gorgeous staff who offer table service as good as the best and in the traditions of grand hospitality, Gin Palace provides guests with a choice of delectable tidbits, to ensure that every sense of gustatory well-being is entirely satiated.. hmmmm!
And let's not forget that although Gin Palace is about gin, gin and more gin parleeeease.. the martini menu is hard to beat; the cocktail list is created by bartenders who are oh so hot right now; and the back bar is stocked to the brim with liquor old and new. However, if a martini is not for you (although I must insist you try one of Gin Palace's if you've not already!), the reserve wine menu, otherwise known as Vernon's Crusty Old Wines, may be more suited to your palate.
True to its proud history, The Gin Palace has housed innumerable gatherings where hilarity and immoderate behavior have reigned, with completely ridiculous consequences. Suffice it to say, the establishment has been a bashful recipient of multitudinous awards, and has earned legendary status amongst the world's best bars.
It may be worth mentioning that Vernon does throw a memorable party here and there for Gin Palace itself. The 5th and the 10th Birthdays are still being talked about. Whether it be Baroque laneway madness or crazy carnivals ending in controversy, Vernon certainly knows how to throw a party when the occasion arises.
Any thing else I hear you ask?
Well with its hidden nooks and alcoves it's hard not to immediately feel the outside world slip away. As you sip on your first martini of the night you become part of the ambience of this institution without even realising it's happening. There's also the Harem, and although we couldn't possibly talk about what actually goes on in Gin Palaces famous Harem, it has often been suggested that this very, very secluded corner is the naughtiest nook of all!
Finally, but certainly not least, you'll find knowledgeable staff who know their stuff, whom love a bit of tongue in cheek. I can assure you that all who come through those heavy Gin Palace doors are made to feel welcome, well looked after, even a little glamorous and definitely a lot naughty!
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 10 Russell Place Melbourne | Map
✆ (03) 9654 0533
❊ Web Links ❊
→ The Gin Palace
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