Daily Necessities

5 Must-Try Gin Bars with Incredible Design

April 18,2024 by Matthew Bell

Gin is a spirit with a complicated history. As Richard Barnett recounts in The Book of Gin , what was first used as a medicinal beverage descended into disrepute in 17th-century England due, in part, to the cheap cost of grain. With the rise of cocktail culture in the 1800s, first in the U.S. and then in Europe, gin began its steady ascent toward prominence. Today, it’s in some of the world’s most-ordered cocktails, including the gimlet, the Fitzgerald, and, of course, the gin and tonic, and even has entire bars devoted to it. Here, AD rounds up five of the best designed gin joints around the world.

At Whitechapel in San Francisco, a good gin cocktail can be enjoyed amid the decor of the Victorian era. Conceived by San Jose–based designer Ignacio Gonzalez, Whitechapel’s interiors resemble an abandoned London tube station from the turn of the 20th century. And if the setting doesn’t capture your attention, the 400-plus-selection gin list—North America’s largest—surely will.

Previously named New York City’s best gin bar by the Village Voice, Madam Geneva in New York’s East Village takes its moniker from the 19th-century nickname for gin. Designed by AvroKO, Madam Geneva uses exposed brick and salvaged metal, coupled with warm lighting and posh seating, to make this gin bar a private and gritty, yet inviting, destination.

More than 200 gins await the patrons of the Gin Palace in Melbourne, Australia, a bar that would be a fitting location for a Roaring Twenties–inspired party. Grandiose chandelier lighting complements the more reserved seating alcoves, kitted out with high-backed chairs and unmistakable Art Deco furniture.

Elegance and subtle sophistication inspired the aesthetic of the Library Bar in Tel Aviv, Israel. Located inside the Norman Hotel and designed by David d’Almada, this bar features handsome midcentury decor. The Library Bar is renowned for more than its extensive cocktail list and world-class gin: If you’re not in the mood for cocktails, guests of the hotel can book a traditional afternoon English tea.

One person’s trash is another’s treasure—or, in the case of Bobby Gin in Barcelona, the essential design ingredient. Local design firm Normal recycled old doors and cabinet drawers to line the bar and provide wall-mounted tables in this gin bar. Perhaps the most charming part of the interior is the empty picture frames mounted on the ceiling.

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