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June 11, 2015

My compact life: Hains & Co

There's few places better than a small bar for exploring the art of fitting city living into tight spaces. So for the second edition of My Compact Life, we visit Hains & Co and learn that one little bar back can hold quite a lot of liquor.

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  • Words: Tiarne Cook
  • Pictures: Julian Cebo

Hains & Co owner Marcus Motteram has all he needs within arm’s reach.

Everything is neatly stacked in its place behind the bar – a glistening wall of Hains & Co’s finest spirits wait to be administered, an eclectic mix of fresh and dehydrated garnishes sit atop the bar at the ready, and delicate glassware and a cigar or two finish the scene.

Beyond the barback, a vast array of nautical-inspired trinkets, plush leather booth seating and a choice of Tuckshop Tiff’s sausage rolls or hot smoked salmon aioli sandwiches can be found and it’s obvious that its small size doesn’t stop Hains & Co from living large.

Since opening the doors in January, Marcus has become known for his high end gins and specialty rums, range of craft beers on tap, local wines by the glass and whiskeys that all co-exist in an extraordinarily little space.

It’s all about quality he says, and the experience.

“My first love as a white spirit was gin. My first love as a dark spirit was rum. To combine gin and rum I used a bit of nautical inspiration because they’re both steeped in nautical history.”

The interior also draws on maritime themes, but is careful not to overstep.

“You know you want to create something – a feel, a style. I didn’t really want to go with a full on theme necessarily. But I wanted something to guide it,” says Marcus.

The bar is a homecoming of sorts for Marcus – after opening multiple businesses in Melbourne, he returned home to open it after realising the industry in Adelaide was changing.

“Coming back to Adelaide I felt as though it was on the cusp of greatness in terms of the hospitality scene. And I can sort of see it going through that metamorphosis now,“ he says.

“Not only with new bars but these new restaurants, more casual dining experiences which people are happy to go out and be a part of.”

Having wandered Adelaide’s laneways scouting locations, the first of Marcus’ Adelaide ventures now sits in prime position, tucked in the dogleg that winds between Currie, Hindley and King William Streets.

“It’s the meeting of these three laneways that make up Gilbert Place… And only a stones throw from the small bar precinct which makes up Leigh and Peel and Bank Street, and now Gresham Street,” he says.

Warmly lit and very inviting, Hains & Co is sure to lure a lonely sailor or two. And it’s no surprise really, being so packed to the brim with quality loot.

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