Four Pillars has opened its new Sydney venue, the Laboratory, on the eve of World Gin Day.
Housed in the 1930s Bussell Brothers building in Crown Street, Surry Hills, the Four Pillars Laboratory incorporates a Gin Shop, Gin Lab featuring an experimental still (Eileen, named after co-founder Matt Jones’ mother) and Eileen’s Bar, a cocktail bar.
Designed by YSG Studio, Eileen’s Bar combines cocktails, gin drinks and a snack menu from food legend Matt Wilkinson.
The Laboratory bar is accessed via a discreet door on the corner of Fitzroy and Crown Streets. A ‘juniper blue’ 20-stool, concrete bar at 11m in length, dominates the 60-person venue (currently at 24-person capacity).
Banquette seating is organised around the perimeter, while the dark timber and cork finishes keep the focus on the cocktail-making action. At the rear of the space, in a moody alley dubbed ‘Tinder Lane’, timber tables anchor cosy settings for two.
YSG Studio’s Yasmine Ghoniem said: “We wanted to envelop the guest, the patrons at the bar. And make them feel like they never wanted to leave. It was about creating this magical beacon in the middle of the space so everyone could get to enjoy the bar and it wasn’t just one part of the venue, but it was the whole of it.”
Oslo-based bar design agency Behind Bars worked with Creative Drinks Director, James Irvine, to create a bespoke bar set-up in stainless steel to comfortably accommodate four bartenders.
Eileen’s drinks menu, designed by Irvine, combines gin classics and modern creations utilising the full Four Pillars family of gins. From the modern spectrum, Money Trees is a balance of tropical fruit and acidity with Navy Strength Gin, Kakadu plum, kiwifruit, lime leaf and carbonated to order. Or Innerbloom, juicy, round and plump with Davidson plum, macadamia and blood lime mixed with Modern Australian Gin. The Purple Yamos combines Bloody Shiraz Gin, ube whey, citrus and whites and is a take on the renowned Ramos Gin Fizz.
Classics like the Gin Lab Martini feature the new Sydney Winter Gin (made on-site by the distilling team led by co-founder Stuart Gregor) with lemon myrtle, native sandalwood and orange oils, and, of course, there’s a Spiced Negroni Gin.
You’ll also find drinks from drinks businesses including Payten & Jones Chardonnay, Dirty Three Riesling, Thick as Thieves Pinot Noir Gamay plus tinnies of beer and cider.
Irvine said: “The Gin Lab menu highlights the perfection of simplicity through some of our favourite signature serves and classic drinks. Eileen’s Bar focuses on a variety of drink styles, ingredients, producers and techniques, taking into consideration new gin releases, season and of course sitting in the space itself. Both menus stay true to the brand promise of being fun, approachable and foremost – delicious. We look forward to seeing you at the bar.”
A drink-friendly menu that features Salt and Gin Vinegar Crisps and Jimmy’s Taramasalata with Yarra Valley Gin-smoked Caviar, or Angelachu Anchovies, Steak and Pepper Party Pies or a Gin Lab Jaffle with mortadella and mozzarella.
The Four Pillars Gin Lab
The Lab, with Eileen, the 70L German-engineered Carl copper still as its centre, offers all-day gin drinks for walk-in customers including the Four Pillars G&T Paddle (three different gins, three garnishes and a bottle of Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic) alongside a collection of gin classics including a regularly-changing martini and a Negroni. You can also book gin, distiller and cocktail masterclasses.
The Gin Shop on the ground floor of the Laboratory features all the signature and limited-edition gins that have made Four Pillars Australia, alongside the bar gear, books, merchandise and Made From Gin Marmalade and Chocolate that we all know and love.
Leah Mackenzie, Four Pillars Experience Director, said: “The site appealed because of its character and its industrial roots. Essentially we are producers so we love an industrial vibe. So while our Distillery is in Healesville we wanted to still have that maker feel here in Sydney. It’s being honest about who we are. We always want to bring people closer to what we do.
“In terms of the aesthetic, we looked to combine a bit of edge from Melbourne with the sophistication of Sydney, while allowing the base building to shine. Ultimately we just want it to be welcoming and warm, with no pretense. Just a really beautiful, comfortable, warm and happy place to be.”
Take a look inside: