There is no more colourful district in Melbourne than 'Little Lon', the former red-light district and slum between Exhibition and Spring, Little Lonsdale and La Trobe. It included Madame Brussels' famous brothels on Lonsdale Street, but the seedier houses of ill repute were down laneways, such as Casselden Place. The laneway was home to seven three-room brick cottages, and only number 17 remains.
Number 17, the only single-storey house remaining in the CBD, definitely has a storied history. It was a seedy brothel (its most famous madam/working girl was a Chinese prostitute nicknamed Yokohama (real name Tiecome Ah Chung), a sly grog establishment and the site of numerous police complaints.
Now it's back in business, but the grog is much less sly and the clientele much more reputable. It's now the site of a boutique gin distillery and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it tasting bar, which can hold maybe 12 people, and only if they're very good friends.
Little Lon distils its product from scratch, making its gin on site in a 200-litre copper column still. The gins themselves are a nod to the history of the building, with Little Miss Yoko (a lychee-infused gin, named after Yokohama), Ginger Mick (strong notes of ginger and citrus, particularly grapefruit) and Constable Proudfoot on the cards.