Craft spirits by Granddad Jack's in the heart of Newcastle
Over the last six months, you might’ve noticed a new presence at 515 Hunter Street – a slick green frontage emblazoned with ‘Granddad’s Bar.’
We’ve been patiently waiting since we first noticed the old-school truck out the front of the building, but we don’t have to wait anymore – Granddad’s Bar opens tomorrow, bringing craft spirits by Queensland distillery Granddad Jack’s to the heart of Newcastle.
We headed in for a sneak peek before opening and chatted to Granddad Jack’s co-founder David Ridden about what we can expect from the award-winning distillery’s first New South Wales outpost.
First and foremost, there’s a bit of a twist at Granddad’s Bar – it only serves up Granddad Jack’s spirits. This might seem like an unusual decision, but it’s one David made with a greater goal in mind.
“We want people to come in and we can open them up to a world of Australian craft spirits… It’s an extension of the distillery,” he said.
“One of our goals with this bar is if we can get people to understand that Australian craft spirits are amazing, then hopefully we can get people drinking more brands of Australian spirits and get people thinking about supporting craft distillers, not just our brand.”
With a core range of three gins, a vodka, a coffee liqueur, and a whiskey, plus limited-edition releases each month, spirit-lovers will always have something to look forward to at Granddad’s Bar.
The drinks are certainly the star of the show, with a creative cocktail list named after Newcastle icons (Pasha Bulka, anyone?) and of course, Granddad Jack’s spirits for tasting. If you are feeling peckish, grab the suggested snack pairing for your cocktail, or simply BYO food. Yes, you read that correctly!
“All of our venues are BYO food, and we’ve found that once people know about it, people love it. Because you can save money, you can order food from down the road, and come back and eat it here.”
Once you’ve settled in with a drink and a snack, you can admire the bar’s interior and the story it tells – that of Granddad Jack, the distillery’s namesake and David’s grandfather.
Jack was a whiskey-lover, a keen gardener, and a barber for nearly 50 years – a man of many stories, who had a tough upbringing but worked hard his whole life. David and his son Luke started Granddad Jack’s as a way to tell his life story, and it’s since become a huge success.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like it is now. It was just supposed to be that we had this place, and if we can’t make any good booze, we’ll just tell the story. We didn’t really have a plan. But we’ve had amazing support from the community.”
Looking around the bar, you’ll spot memorabilia from Jack’s life and his stories on the walls. Along with touches like vintage light fittings, an exposed brick wall, a bar made with an old whiskey barrel, and seating created by a church pew, it makes for a cosy space to enjoy a drink and experience good ol' hospitality – just like you would at your granddad's bar.
Granddad’s Bar is an exciting addition to Newcastle’s small bar scene, and if you’re looking to expand your craft spirit horizons, it's the perfect place to start.