Blue Mountains Gin Parlour

 gin_parlour_03.jpegPhotos: David Hill

A speakeasy gin parlour in the lobby of a 1930s picture theatre? A piano and comedy bar where local lore is served by the glass? What’s quirky to visitors is our normal here in the Blue.

By Ellen Hill

Hidden in plain sight at the top of the main street in our largest Mountains town – Katoomba, the new Blue Mountains Gin Parlour showcases the alchemic talent of Harry and Jann Dillon amid the unique heritage of the Avalon Restaurant.

The collaboration came about through serendipity, as things often do in our community.

In their quest for a local-leaning Avalon cocktail menu (they’ve so far achieved 95 per cent), owners since 2016 Dylan Brookes and David Cartwright linked up with Harry and Jann’s Blue Mountains Gin Company, which started up in mid-2021.

David and Dylan were looking to refresh the downstairs lobby space of the former theatre building and broaden its life beyond just Saturday nights between a piano parlour and comedy club.

Without a cellar door space of their own, the Avalon was the ideal place to showcase Harry and Jann’s gin.

Each finely crafted gin product in the award-winning Blue Mountains Gin Company collection nods to a local landmark.

The company’s Mountain Devil range pay homage to the well-known Lambertia formosa plant whose “horned” seed pod has long been an emblem of the Mountains.

Nelly’s Blush is after Nelly’s Glen in Katoomba, Nelly being the daughter of John Britty North who started the coal mine at the bottom of the Scenic Railway.

If you visit Blue Mountains Gin Parlour from 5.30pm Fridays or 2pm Saturdays, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to a 1930s lobby bar, where friends gather in cosy clumps for a gin cocktail (or neat if you prefer), good conversation and smooth live jazz.

Self-guided gin tasting of four flavours ($25pp) is available anytime and Meet the Maker sessions ($45pp) are held each Saturday at 3.30pm ending with a full gin and tonic of your favourite flavour.

There will be gin masterclasses ($95pp), after which you will receive a discount voucher to buy the products at Katoomba Fine Wines five doors down the street.

You can also indulge in a gin high tea ($79), with glass pots of pink gin blush cocktails with berries, from 12pm to 2pm in the upstairs dining room on weekends.

Blue Mountains Gin Parlour will be another reason to return to the Avalon besides the hearty comfort food and renowned Avalon quirk (think caged Barbie dolls, mannequins and retro tunes).

“Sitting in the bar downstairs surrounded by vintage typewriters and theatre memorabilia enjoying a flight of gins is a lovely prelude to your dinner booking upstairs in the dress circle of the old Savoy picture theatre,” Jann says.

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Avalon Restaurant,
18 Katoomba St, Katoomba
T: 02 4782 5532
avalonkatoomba.com.au/gin-parlour

Blue Mountains Gin Company
T: 0457 486 587
 bluemountainsgincompany.com.au

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