Gin Palace version 2.0

Gin is one of nature’s great levellers. Hogarth captured it beautifully in the Gin Lane engravings in the 18th century, showing the social disorder that comes from unregulated cheap booze. Any politician who claims drunkenness is a modern phenomenon should firmly pointed his direction.

But the key to life, as Tiger Woods might well lament, is moderation. To quote Freddy Mercury, too much love will kill you, everytime. Quite.

So then, moderation and style are the key. Which brings me to Plymouth Gin.

Plymouth Gin Distillery on the Barbican

Now, I could wax lyrical about Plymouth Gin’s increased profile in recent years, the fact that you can buy it across the globe, blah blah blah. But I could say that about Ginsters.

What I love about Plymouth Gin is its bar. Plymouth, my home city, is a great place to live but it is slightly rough around the edges. It isn’t Manchester or Liverpool but it is a naval dockyard city and has the corresponding attributes. And thats fine, I enjoy backstreet boozers as much as the next man.

But what the Refectory – as the bar is called – adds to the city is a touch of class. This is not a place to go to get wasted and throw up down the stairs, this is place to drink cocktails and shorts in comfy leather seats while chatting to your mates. It operates a membership policy on Friday and Saturday, even though this drastically reduces the number of people who come through its doors, deliberately so that it is not over-run by pissheads. What this means is that while you have to wait while your cocktail is freshly prepared, you won’t have much added queue time. And did I mention the gin is quite good?

At at least £5 a pop, this is one for people with money. Or, as I like to think of it, a broad swathe of the population, just not all the time. It should remain a destination bar for those wanting a special start to the night or a relaxed classy night with friends.

This is pretty much a unique thing for Plymouth. The Treasury tries to do it but is let down by fizzy lager, DJs and hen parties.

Plymouth Gin, make mine a Martini.

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2 Comments on “Gin Palace version 2.0”

  1. Ash Mashhadi (@inspirationguy) Says:

    Great review of a real Plymouth landmark. It is a stylish venue with an ambience that we could do with more of in our city.

  2. Marc Says:

    Definitely, The Refectory is a rare gem. I’ve only been there once or twice myself (having the albatross of student debt around my neck), but I’ve loved it each time.


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