Located in the Sydney CBD, you might just pass The Barber Shop mistakenly thinking that it was…well… a barber shop.
Look closely however, and you might spot a cocktail or a beer in front of the gentlemen being groomed.
Walk through the barber shop itself and a green door above three steps opens out in a dimly lit bar. You have arrived.
I knew immediately that this was the place for me when I saw 42 gins (this has since expanded to almost 200) on the bar menu. Then I spied GIN ON TAP. Yes, Plymouth Gin & Juice, on tap. (Snoop Dogg would be very happy here.)
As I perused the impressive menu, including vintage gins from the 60s and 70s, I was introduced to Mikey, the owner and brains behind the concept.
Mikey kindly let me sample a vintage 70’s Plymouth gin and compare it with its modern counterpart. Interestingly the vintage gin had more spice and complexity. Difficult to know whether that was down to age, or the botanicals, but it was delicious.
In the end I ordered a dirty martini with Botanist gin.
Glancing around the bar I spotted a woman on her own with a book enjoying a Negroni, several couples unwinding for the weekend, office colleagues about to start a big night and a glamorous octogenarian ordering Glenmorangie on ice while her daughter sipped a gin and tonic. It was great to see such a diverse range of people and the staff coped admirably with the volume of customers.
We had intended to move on after one drink, but the vibe and the beautifully crafted cocktails kept us there for the rest of the evening.
This bar is one of ‘happy places’ and since my first visit, I always try to pop in when I’m in Sydney. Others seem to agree as The Barber Shop was named as one of the Top 10 Best New International Bars in the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2014 and was voted Gin Bar of the Year at the 2016 Australian Bartender Magazine Bar Awards.