Four Pillars’ founder Stu Gregor blames his pathological love for gin on his mother, who from a young age began teaching him to make gin and tonics. His gin fanaticism is shared by co-founders Matt Jones and Cameron Mackenzie, who together have been distilling gin out of the Yarra Valley since 2013.

Four Pillars distillery now has a home away from home on Crown Street. Nestled in amongst Bartolo, The Dolphin and Bills, the new Gin Laboratory is a welcome addition to the Crown Street precinct.

The new hub will leave no gin-lover wanting. It features a Four Pillars retail shop, a cocktail bar called Eileen’s, and the Drinks Lab, where cocktail and gin distilling masterclasses take place. The Lab is home to Eileen, the smallest of the distillery’s copper stills, named after Matt’s mum.

Eileen’s Bar is accessible via a discrete door on Fitzroy Street, which has garnered the colloquial name ‘Tinder Alley.’ The drinks list is by the legendary James Irvine, who has previously been behind the cocktails at Baxter’s Inn, Shady Pines and Restaurant Hubert.

James Irvine, Stu Gregor and Eileen. Image by Steven Woodburn.

The new venue opened its doors on the 12th June, only days after the more onerous Covid restrictions were lifted.

“I think people understand that it’s been really hard for hospitality the last couple months. I’m hoping people come back out and that the industry starts to bounce back,” said Stu.

Distancing measures are in place at Eileen’s and in the masterclasses, with a maximum of 14 people throughout July, and a forty-person limit in a venue licensed for 110. According to Stu, no one is sure when they’ll be able to operate at capacity.

But he is hopeful that they’ll be able to scrap the ninety-minute time limit for bookings by August.

“Sydney has quickly become a super special part of our DNA. We’ve got some great neighbours. I love Surry Hills because it’s where Sydney-siders go.”

Masterclass sessions can be booked on the Four Pillars website, as can spots at Eileen’s Bar, open Wednesday to Saturday, 5pm till midnight.