Time Out says
A juniper dream of a gin bar by Victoria's master distillers, Four Pillars
Sydney is home to plenty of gin distilleries, from big deal brands like Archie Rose and Australian Distilling Co to boutique operations like Manly Spirits and Poor Toms. So, you might reasonably assume that the arrival of an interstate interloper could add very little to an already very crowded scene.
And yet, what Victorian gin juggernaut Four Pillars has created with its first outpost in New South Wales is treading a singular path. With three 'venues' under one roof, its shop and gin lab are conspicuously geared to heroing the brand (and flogging a few bottles in the process). However, its carefully conceived cocktail bar, Eileen's, is far less about racking up sales, and more about creating a refined space that can go toe-to-toe with any of the neighbouring watering holes in the hospo hotspot of Surry Hills.
Perhaps it's a little wink to Melbourne, but Eileen's makes no attempt to embrace Sydney's alfresco status quo. Its almost windowless interior and soft, moody lighting create a sense of intimacy and late-night sophistication, regardless of where the sun may or may not be in the sky. Rich juniper blue finishes with pops of orange offset exposed beams, steel girders, and what must have seemed like architectural fate when the distillery moved into the Bussel Bros building on Crown Street: four structural pillars, holding the ceiling aloft.
With such a prominent storefront, there could easily have been an offputting 'exit through the gift shop' vibe to Eileen's, but a separate, speakeasy-style entrance on the corner of Fitzroy St keeps business and pleasure separate. In fact, for all intents and purposes, aside from the hanging bottles of Four Pillars around the central bar, it would be easy to forget that you're drinking in a microdistillery. And this seems to be the point: Eileen's will charm you with the quality of its atmosphere and the calibre of its cocktails – a mixture of classic staples and bespoke inventions – not the blunt instrument of its label. After all, who cares what's in the drink when it's this damn good.
410 Crown St
|Opening hours:||Wed-Thu 5pm-late. Fri-Sun 3pm-late|