Patient Wolf’s new location pays homage to the complex history of gin

Patient Wolf’s new location pays homage to the complex history of gin

Words by Marnie Vinall

After many years stationed in Brunswick, Patient Wolf Gin Co. has relocated to Southbank with a new distillery, bar and gin-tasting experience on offer.

Melbourne’s much-adored gin, Patient Wolf, has opened the doors of its new home, which is the realisation of a dream.

“The vision has always been to have a place where people come and visit, have a bar and front of house”, says co-founder and distiller Matt Argus.

It hasn’t been an overnight success for Argus and co-founder and distiller, Dave Irwin. They’ve devoted seven years to the development of Patient Wolf, while the Southbank location has been in the works for a little over a year.

“We’ve gutted it, renovated it, decked it out and now we’ve got a world-class bar and working distillery right in the heart of the city,” Argus says.

The decision to move into the heart of the city was prompted by a desire to make their offering and experience as accessible as possible.

“We’re kind of bucking the trends for regional distilleries,” Argus says. “We want to be accessible and whether you’re coming from the north, east, south or west suburbs, we’re a 15 minute walk away from Flinders Street Station.”

The building looks like an old warehouse on the outside, but features a thoughtfully designed interior.

“As you walk in through these glass doors, the bar is just front and centre. We wanted to make sure the working distillery and the bar is kind of one,” Argus says.

“On the outside, it’s still very traditional and has that traditional warehouse feel, but as soon as you walk in to the building we’ve absolutely modernised it and created a really cool, chic, almost New York-style filling.”

The venue pays tribute to the history of gin. The clear spirit came to the fore during prohibition; the nationwide alcohol ban in the US in the 1920s and 30s, which led to the rise of underground bars known as speakeasies.

“It’s a hark back to that really important time in gin’s history and a nod back to that time when the cocktail culture was really born,” Argus describes.

One of the first things you notice when you walk through the glass doors of Patient Wolf is a beautiful, German-made copper still.

“When people sit at the bar, and they have a Negroni or a G&T, they look across and see the still and know they’re really drinking from the source,” Argus says. “The gin was made 15 metres away from where they’re sitting.”

The pair worked hard to make sure the venue is welcoming to everyone who walks through its doors. So, whether you’re a first-time gin drinker or a seasoned pro who wants to geek out and learn all the details as you sip a world-class cocktail, you’ll feel right at home.

And along with the classics – G&Ts, gin & sodas, Tom Collins, Negronis and martinis – you can sip on some pretty unique beverages.

“We’ve got some of Melbourne’s best bartenders working behind the bar and so the next tier up is that we’re going to offer more experiential and very bespoke cocktails,” says Argus.

These, Argus assures, are only available at their bar. There’s the snowpea Collins, a pear liqueur-based old fashioned, and bespoke variations on the Negroni, some of which feature a token bean, one of the botanicals they use in distilling. Plus, they offer gin flights where you can taste all four spirits with a staff member running you through.

All Patient Wolf gins have a big bold flavour that won’t get lost in a cocktail. The owners want to provide world-class quality and taste while proudly supporting local enterprise.

“Melbourne is the food and drink capital of Australia, and we want to be part of that scene,” Argus says.

Patient Wolf is located at 34-36 Market St, Southbank. See the venue website for more information.