Introducing Eleven Bridges – South Brisbane’s new gin bar and craft distillery
Brisbane’s got an abundance of bridges, 15 to be exact. The city also has a growing number of small-batch distilleries – the newest of which is drawing inspiration from some of Brisbane’s historical overpasses. Eleven Bridges in South Brisbane is a newly open bar, eatery and craft distillery that should be a go-to destination for lovers of all things gin. Take a gander inside ahead of the official launch of Eleven Bridges’ debut range next week …
Lyal Midgley, Darren Lockyer and Mark Nightingale have wanted to open a gin distillery for years. Their recent hospitality moves (including the 2019 opening of The Gap’s beloved gin and craft-beer focused locale Blind Tiger) have hinted at the trio’s botanical-infused plans, which will finally reach fruition next Saturday March 27 with the official launch of the group’s new distillery and bar Eleven Bridges. Seeing an opportunity to make better use of their South Brisbane eatery Peel Street Tavern, Lyal, Darren and Mark have instigated a sharp rebrand, giving the eatery’s interior a cosmetic makeover while simultaneously shifting gears for the venue’s overall focus. Eleven Bridges is a venue of two halves – one half is given over to the street-facing bar and casual-dining space and the other sees a former boardroom repurposed to house a dedicated gin bar and distilling operation (the latter being responsible for crafting the venue’s own gin range). Across both spaces the team has instilled an eclectic vibe – courtesy of shelves stacked with vintage books and knick-knacks, old-school vinyl record sleeves and pops of greenery – while a collection of cushy vintage couches, high-top tables and banquette seating creating an abundance of comfy nooks to cosy up in.
The main bar is where you’ll be able to peruse Eleven Bridges’ extensive gin collection, with a total of 110 varieties from Australia and abroad crowding the shelves. The list features a who’s who of Australian distilleries, from Sydney’s Poor Toms and Archie Rose, West Winds from the Margaret River, Cape Byron Distillery from Byron Bay and local stars Winston Quinn and Laceys Hill Distilling Co., to name a few. Here the crew is looking to take the guesswork out of G&T flavour profiles and pairings, listing a suggested garnish next to each bottle. A selection of intriguing house cocktails showcase these top-shelf gins in a different light, with the Gin Fever (Lacey Hill Dry Australian gin, Aperol, Szechuan tincture, tonic and fresh rosemary), Summer Thyme Madness (Patient Wolf Summer Thyme gin, grapefruit, thyme and sweetness), and the Lavender Rosé Lemonade (a share cocktail featuring rosé, Antipodes Pink Gin, lavender syrup, lemon, mint, sweetness, soda) sure to satisfy even non-gin drinkers. That being said, the back bar is also stocked with an assortment of other spirits, a tight wine list and range of craft beers – all carefully curated by the bar team. Eleven Bridges’ debut food menu currently consists of shareable and hoard-worthy crowd-pleasers like panko-crumbed chicken schnitzel, lemon-pepper calamari, Philly cheese pizzas and pan-fried salmon – but expect the menu to change in response to the cravings of locals and as the team introduces some gin-infused specials. The Eleven Bridges Distillery is helmed by John Bradbury of Laceys Hill, who is employing an organic grain-based distilling process to craft the bar’s debut range of bridge-inspired small-batch spirits. Next week will see the launch of Eleven Bridges gin, which will include a pinot noir-infused gin and the versatile William Jolly Summer Gin – both of which will filter into the drinks menu and will eventually be available for take-home consumption. The distillery’s bar will be the place to perch if you are a die-hard gin imbiber and, beyond drinking, the space will also be used to hold tastings, education sessions and specialty events in the future.
Eleven Bridges is open to the public, with its gin range dropping on Saturday March 27. Head to the Stumble Guide for menu and opening hours.
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