Water of Life – Evolve Spirits Bar
There is the textbook definition of “fossil”, i.e. pertaining to any remains, impression, or trace of a living thing of a former geologic age, as a skeleton, footprint, et cetera, and the metaphorical one that refers to a markedly outdated or old-fashioned person or thing.
If you harbour a weak spot for great whisk(e)y bars with all the splendour and sophistication they used to effortlessly encompass, Evolve Spirits Bar in Hobart ticks all the right boxes as it does not only accomplish the former but also is also based on a fossil theme as far as the décor is concerned.
In this day and age with the advent of gin and whisk(e)y and the poisons having firmly established themselves on the mainstream palate, there is certainly no shortage of bars that cater to drench the sheer insatiable thirst for cocktails and other spirits, however, more often than not you find yourself either in an etablissement of a bar with spirits, not a spirits bar, or in one with an elitist high-end demeanour yet a lack of substance underneath the bonnet.
Enter Evolve Spirits Bar.
Stating that Evolve is one that makes me want to go back the moment I leave would be an understatement par excellence as it comprises the very things I have come to love about a good bar.
Drawing a parallel between the work palaeontology and the craft that goes into the distilling of fine spirits, Evolve is a celebration of both worlds. Situated on prime real estate on Hobart’s picturesque waterfront within the confines of the MACq 91 hotel complex, the merits of which would warrant an expose by itself, the view along with the sophisticated interior design would be reasons enough to place it firmly on your bucket list bars, however, it is the personnel behind the bar that elevates the bar into territory that is not often conquered.
The interior design is dominated by prehistoric artefacts and fossils and we are not talking novelty here, au contraire, the exhibits are of museum grade quality and include e.g. the skeleton of a Russian cave bear, megalodon teeth and other bits and pieces that not only serve an aesthetic purpose but serve as conversation pieces and during my visit prompted quite a bit of instant Google research to gather more contextual information.
Upon entering Evolve, I was greeting by one of the most capable, accolade laden and knowledgeable bartenders I have had the privilege to encounter on terra australis: Dan Gregory, a spirit sommelier extraordinaire, who has a track record of propelling what have become some of the most renowned Australian bars under his benign guidance into the stratosphere, heads a team of individuals whose passion for spirits radiates through every conversation you engage in.
It is not further wondrous that Tasmania’s whisky royalty often convene at Evolve Spirits Bar, with not only some of their rarer bottlings on offer, but during one of my visits I bumped into a group of them, only to share the bar the next evening next to FKA Twigs’ after show party. The fact that the bar staff did not miss a beat while catering to her entourage and “regular” visitors is testament to the DNA that has been created by the bar team.
If you have been following this series, you’d know that I harbour a weak spot for Tasmanian whiskies – as everyone with a functioning palate should – and Evolve is not only a forum for telling their stories but has instantaneously established itself as a major constituent of it.
As far as the spirits on offer are concerned: I have been to a spirits bar or two on this earthround, and trust me, it is super rare to find such a collection of gems that has not been picked over and depleted – and yes, we are talking rare, one off bottlings that you will want to take a photo off as chances are you will not get to see them again in the third dimension.
A world class spirits bar that any aficionado in search for a warm and memorable experience should have on their radar.
Photos by @k.a.vv