Is it gin o’clock yet?
It’s no secret that Britain loves gin, but the proliferation of independent and small-batch distilleries suggests that our fondness for the juniper-flavoured spirit is only growing.
This increased choice has inevitably reached the gantries of pubs and bars across the nation.
Whether you like yours floral, herbal or dry, these gin specialist bars will have all of your needs taken care of.
So of all the gin joints, in all of the cities in the UK, which one will you be walking into?
Nestled in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, new gin bar Allotment offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life with its pretty greenery. Atlas on Deansgate has been a Manchester institution for last two decades. They are a gin specialist with a whopping 170 different gins and counting – and a changing gin of the week at half price. The mezzanine bar at Gorilla hosts the Gin Parlour, a relaxed and sophisticated den stocked with the best gins from around the world. The Lawn Club offers a seasonal cocktail list which captures a quintessentially British ambience. Try a Garden Martini – Burleighs Distiller’s Cut gin, rose liqueur, Gancia dry vermouth, elderflower and sugar, or a classic Negroni – Beefeater, Gancia sweet vermouth, Campari and orange bitters. [Louise Rhind-Tutt]
The New Ellington‘s famous Gin Garden is quite rightly a go-to hideout for gin-loving Loiners the city over, providing what is most probably Leeds’ widest selection of mother’s ruin (over 300 to choose from) in some of the most pleasant surroundings going. Based at the Granary building and overlooking one of the more pleasant stretches of the canal is The Pour House, a cool and unpretentious gastro pub that comes with the same solid promises of ‘rustic’ grub and real ales, alongside a vastly underrated gin menu. A stylish and highly regarded tapas restaurant from the outside, it’s one of the city’s worst kept secrets that Pintura is home to a plush and proper basement gin bar, stocked with over 60 gins from all over the world. The good folk at The Hedonist Project have developed a new concept for these sunnier climes, in the form of Old Tom’s Gin Kitchen, a seasonal gin bar that is a whole less creepier than its name might suggest. It’s based on Lower Briggate and is well worth a visit. [Alex Miller]
Anchorage might be new to Sheffield, but they’ve already made a big impression, serving a range of gin-filled cocktails. Try their Gin Geenie, which is a perfect mix of cloudy apple juice, Sauvignon Blanc, vanilla and Tanqueray. The staff at Shakespeares are connoisseurs when it comes to fine spirits. Some of their delectable highlights include Sipsmith, Hendricks and Jensen’s. Stocking more than 50 different gin varieties, if you stumble into The Old House on a Thursday evening you can take advantage of their gin club. Simply order a spirit of your choosing and get a free mixer to boot. The recently reopened Trippets Lounge Bar has a new found focus on gins, and The Harlequin pub has a gin club that you can join for £25 and get 10% off premium gins. [Charlotte Grainger]
In the 18th century, it’s estimated that the average Londoner got through a staggering 14 gallons of gin a year! Obviously we’re not recommending you drink Mother’s Ruin in those quantities today, but there are few cities that can compete with the capital for gin choice. In the heart of Soho, The London Gin Club offers a choice of over 130 of the finest gins money can buy. Expect spectacular gin-based cocktails on their specialist menu alongside a list of ‘ginfusions’. Portobello Road Gin has its headquarters above the Portobello Star pub in Notting Hill, so you know you’re guaranteed a fine G&T. The intimate and friendly 214 Bermondsey serves over 80 gins alongside a delicious array of carefully created cocktails, and is the home of hand-crafted BTW Bermondsey Tonic Water which allows the full flavour of each gin to shine through. In Soho’s Golden Square, you can enjoy the UK’s largest selection of gin at Graphic, with over 235 options. [Louise Rhind-Tutt]
In recent years the Toon seems to have caught the gin bug, thanks in part to the success of events like Newcastle Gin Festival. Pleased To Meet You is a great place when the clock strikes gin o’clock, and you can even create your own G&T from the selection on the menu. The intimate Spanish restaurant Dacantus is renowned for its Gin Lab ‘Specialty G&T Menu’ and their signature ‘Fish Bowl’ G&T glasses. [Hannah Southern]
We have Glasgow's largest selection of gin. 71 to be exact. We put a lot of time and effort into hand picking the very best that we could find from across the globe to build on what we think is the finest gin menu you'll find anywhere! #gin71 #gin71bar #glasgowginbar #glasgowsbestginbar #ginoclock #gintonic #ginstagram #gintastic #glasgow
Love it or loathe it, you’d have to be living under a rock right now to miss the recent gin renaissance sweeping Glasgow. Tucked away quietly underneath Central Station, you’d be forgiven for not even noticing the discreet front entrance to Alston Bar & Beef which is located inside the actual station. But this would be a mistake: Alston’s gin list is something to behold. The Anchor Line on St Vincent’s Place is a pre and post inhibition style bar that brings some old gin classics back to life, while recent addition Tabac offers specialities like Panther Milk, a heady combination of gin and other spirits mixed with condensed milk and peppermint. Probably hosting the largest gin selection in Glasgow, though, is Gin 71 on Renfield Street, which has dedicated an entire wall (that’s floor to ceiling) with every single kind of gin you can think of. [Dawn Young]
Thanks to its own new distilleries like Pickerings and Edinburgh Gin, the Scottish capital is a real gin lover’s destination. In fact, the latter distillery becomes Heads & Tales bar by night, offering a plethora of gin-based cocktails, such as Otto Titsling, made with Edinburgh Gin, vanilla, citrus & bramble. The Jolly Botanist on Morrison Street near Haymarket Station has also become a locals’ favourite, and its gin list runs to four pages. Other good bets include the speakeasy-style Panda & Sons, the cosy Bramble (both on Queen Street), The Devil’s Advocate in the Old Town and Mother’s in Stockbridge. [Nick Mitchell]
Birmingham has definitely caught the gin bug over the last few years, with the options expanding at a rate of knots. Bar Opus run various gin master-classes which are fantastic to broaden your gin horizons, and even recently hosted ‘Speed Gin-ing’ bringing a whole new meaning to the world of speed dating. The Bureau in the heart of the business district offers a range of gins, including the Midlands’ own Langley’s No. 8, which is taking Birmingham and the rest of the UK by storm. They open up a rood terrace in the summer too. The Jekyll & Hyde is a Victorian themed gin bar that specialises in gin cocktails and gin flights (think beer flights but for gin).
World Gin Day is on Saturday 11 June. More info at worldginday.com.