Reaching the 10 year mark for a bar is a big deal. After 10 years, a bar becomes more than just a place to drink at: the lives of regulars, staff, suppliers all intersect in the space, memories are made, stories told — the bar becomes something more meaningful.
And tonight, The Barber Shop celebrate 10 years of gin and cocktails, during which time they’ve won multiple awards — including being named Gin Bar of the Year more times than I can remember.
Owners Mike Enright and Julian Train first opened The Barber Shop — so named because of the barber shop one had to walk through to find the cocktail bar — all the way back in 2013, on York Street in the Sydney CBD. It was one of the few small bars in the area at the time — The Baxter Inn was across the back laneway from them, but there was not a lot else around the area back then. Today, the landscape has completely changed — York and Clarence streets are now home to more than a few of Australia’s best bars.
And 2013 was also the beginning of the boom in gin. It might be hard to conceive now, but there weren’t really any other places dedicated to gin and gin cocktails (the mighty Gin Palace in Melbourne being the one exception).
So, in this week’s return of the Drinks At Work podcast, I talk to Mikey about what he’s learned over 10 years of running The Barber Shop, ask him if he ever thought of selling the place, and how he and Julian got into the business of not just selling gin, but making their own.