Southbank has a new gin joint where you can drink at the source. Moving to a site large enough to house a working distillery, cocktail bar and cellar door has been on the cards since Matt Argus and Dave Irwin launched Patient Wolf in a Brunswick warehouse in 2016. On November 28, they reopened in a freestanding 1940s-era red brick building in Southbank, a short walk from Flinders Street Station.
With the help of design studio Mr Bankes, Argus says they have transformed a "rabbit warren of an office space" into an airy, New York loft-style public bar and distillery. With exposed brick walls and a seven-metre-long brass-topped bar, it's inspired in part by prohibition-era speakeasies, from that bootleg-heavy period that was important in gin's history.
Gin is, naturally, the bar's star. Flights of their core range, which include Melbourne Dry (distilled with tonka bean), Summer Thyme and Blackthorn gins are available, as are cocktails from classic gin and tonics to a Tom Collins made with snow peas, soda and lime, or a spritz-like mix of gin, pear liqueur, verjus, sparkling wine and strawberry sherbet.
There's no commercial kitchen, so food is limited to snacks such as roasted nuts, cured fish and pâté with fresh bread.
Argus and Irwin plan to play around with some experimental small-batch gins that will be sold exclusively through the venue. They'll also be able to significantly increase production once their new, custom-made 1000-litre Muller copper still arrives in 2020. For context, they are currently capable of producing 500 bottles a day in a 220-litre still.
"We're so happy to be able to show people what we're doing," says Argus. "And wherever you live, we're just a 15-minute walk from Flinders Street."
Open Thu-Fri 4pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 11am-5pm.
34-36 Market Street, Southbank, patientwolfgin.com