Eat & Drink


There's a new bar opening, and it's all about gin

Gin lovers, listen up! For those of you who haven’t seen the posts or heard the whispers, there is a new bar opening in the Newcastle CBD and it’s all about gin, and a whole lot more.

Owners Jackson Dunlap and Mara Zenteno will be opening the doors to Saints next week and is a welcome surprise to the Newcastle small bar scene.

Located at 31 King St (formerly Kitami) the duo have spent the last six months stripping the interiors back to bring a completely new look and feel to the space whilst cleverly merging the building's former lives into the mix, as Jackson explains,

“You can still see elements of the past peeking out through the paintwork, the hoist bar and big beam are still here from when it was the auto shop. We wanted to keep the old industrial feel of the building which points to the fact that it’s got a history. The gargoyles have even grown on me.”

On entering the bar your eyes are instantly drawn to those beautiful Chesterfield lounges and the massive wall mural that was undertaken by one of Mara’s favourite local artists, Jordan Lucky. Aside from the art, Saints is the realisation of Jackson and Mara’s dream to open a space that captures all of their passions under the one roof,

“Saints is about my firm love for gin. Since I was 18 and began working in this space (Kitami), I wanted to run my own bar and create something that was mine, then Mara came along and completed it.” Jackson says.

Mara continues, “I always wanted to do something creative that I could express who I am through, and this is pretty much an embodiment of all my interests. So my creativity with Jacksons know-how have created this.”

Throughout the venue there are different corners that each bring their own mood. The comfy Chesterfields offer a loungy intimate vibe, for a more classic bar experience sit by the front windows and capture all the King St happenings, or gather your group for a more social outing on the bench seats.

Back to the gin, Jackson’s passion for the clear liquid is obvious, but it’s his passion for keeping all things local that really shines.

“I love drinking gin so it made sense to create a bar that’s not purely about gin but has a very strong selection. We also want to show our commitment to local producers, our Espresso Martini is going to be the cocktail of Newcastle. We're using Mr Black Coffee Liquer from the Central Coast, Newcastle Distilling Company Vodka and an espresso Martini mix by the Newcastle company Drop Bear coffee, and I gotta say using all local producers is pretty damn tasty.”

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“Our wine list will also be exclusively from the Hunter Valley, I legitimately think you can create a solid bar using just local products.”

Jackson and Mara together bring a cultural collision of unique flavours and ideas to the local bar scene, promising a completely new experience for lovers of quality eats and drinks.

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“Initially we’ll be offering a charcuterie style menu however with my mum’s family originally being from Chile and Jackson’s family both from Mexico and Spain, we want to introduce flavours that reflect what Jackson and I have grown up with, who we are and our love of Chilean and South American food.”

When it comes to the drinks with Jackson having worked in the Hunter Valley you can expect some interesting cocktail flavours on the menu, 

"Cocktails will be our focus but it's safe to say that we'll be serving a few wine-based cocktails like New York Sours, and plenty of Spritzers, I love my Spritzers."

Jackson and Mara have loads of plans, some exciting events and lots of tasty things to look forward to, needless to say, Saints is going to become a go-to for those who love to drink local and be social.