What to know about Dr Gimlette in Brisbane: when it opens, what they're doing and more.
Martin Lange is opening his seventh bar, Dr Gimlette, with business partners Wiebke Lange, and Belle and Blake Ward.
Opening a bar in a global pandemic is tough enough, but to complicate things further? This is probably Lange's most ambitious opening to date.
"I’m losing hair every day," he jokes.
Set to open on Tuesday 7 September, Lange says that Dr Gimlette is a big and bold take on a proper, experience-driven cocktail bar — the kind of bar which, in his opinion, Brisbane hasn't done before.
"With Cobbler and Death & Taxes, we wanted to do something simple and good: you come in, you have a good cocktail, you have a good whisky and that’s it," says Lange. "You come to this one, we’re doing the whole experience and theatricals without becoming cliche or cheesy. It’s a very fine line."
Below, everything we know about new cocktail bar Dr Gimlette in Brisbane.
What’s the big idea behind Dr Gimlette?
“I’m going to have to give kudos to Sven [Almenning] for this one,” says Lange. It’s clear he’s keen to put together a high-end cocktail bar, big on experience, one which draws inspiration from Sven Almenning and Greg Sanderson’s Eau de Vie in Melbourne, along with the sorts of touches you'll find at the grand hotel cocktail bars of Europe.
“I know that in the industry, it has been done for years, from a bartender’s perspective this is nothing new. But there’s gap in the market for that, especially in the city,” says Lange.
“So we’ll be doing a Martini trolley, done at the table in whichever way you want: if you want it frozen with liquid nitrogen we’ll do that, if you want it thrown we’ll do that. Stirred, shaken, whatever you want. Pick your garnishes, all that stuff.”
The difference with Dr Gimlette is that this ritzy, experiential style of cocktail bar will be backed up by Brisbane’s humble hospitality style, Lange says.
“That extra friendly, humble way — without being stuck up,” he says.
What’s the go with the name?
Lange and his partners were fascinated by the story of the Gimlet cocktail, and the bar is named for the man who — according to one version of events at least — is supposedly behind the drink’s invention.
In the 1800s, the British navy began encouraging its sailors to consume a daily ration of lime juice to ward off scurvy; Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette is the fellow who supposedly suggested drinking the lime with gin to get the medicine down the hatch.
Whether that’s true or not depends on how much you believe stories about sailors and booze.
“The day we signed the lease, Gimlet opened in Melbourne; [but] we really liked the name and we really liked the story of the cocktail, so we called it Dr Gimlette, after the last name of the admiral,” says Lange. “It also allows us to work a little bit more on the experimental side of things; obviously the Dr in front of the name allows us to be a little bit more experimental.”
What will the drinks be like?
Lange’s other bars, Cobbler in West End and Death & Taxes in Burnett Lane in the city, both have big back bars with a deep focus on whisky. And whilst you can expect the back bar at Dr Gimlette to be large, there won’t be a particular spirit focus to the bar; instead, the cocktails are front and centre.
“We’re going to push hard the cocktail theme,” Lange says. Among the drinks cocktails on the list, expect three takes on the namesake cocktail: a House Gimlet, one focused on Australian ingredients with native lime, and a traditional, old style take on the limey cocktail.
“It’s a great drink to be honest,” says Lange. “But you know how much I love my spirits and my back bar, so we still have a pretty sizeable back bar.”
Where is it?
Dr Gimlette is at 109 Edwards Street in Brisbane City. [Open in Google Maps.]
“It’s bigger than Death & Taxes,” says Lange. “It’s a pretty big space but we’ve arranged it so that it still feels cosy and small bar. It’s a heritage-listed building — it’s one of the oldest buildings in Brisbane.”
The building dates to 1892, Lange says. “I can’t even touch the beams on the ceiling because they’re something like 200 years old.”
When will the bar open and what are its trading hours?
Dr Gimlette opens its doors for the fist time on Tuesday 7 September. Like their other bars, Dr Gimlette will trade seven days a week, opening from 2pm until 1am.
Who is behind Dr Gimlette?
It’s the same partners as Death & Taxes: Blake and Belle Ward, and Lange and his wife Wiebke.
Lange was previously involved in Fortitude Valley bar Savile Row as well, but has since sold his shares in that bar to his other partner.