Harrogate welcomes its first dedicated gin bar

The Hotel St George has opened Harrogate’s first dedicated gin bar – The Duck In gin lounge.

The bar, which is situated in the hotel’s reception area, before leading to a dedicated lounge, opened on Friday and offers a range of more than 40 gins, including locally sourced options like Harrogate-based Slingsby Gin, as well as gins from other Yorkshire distilleries including Otterbeck.

The new lounge sees the Hotel St George add a unique spin to its hospitality offering with the bar’s new décor featuring a ceiling that has been bedecked with a hanging garden of flowers, giving it a distinctive ambience, and guests able to retire to a seated lounge area once they’ve perused the many gins available.

The focus on a lounge rather than standing bar has been made with Covid sensitivities in mind, with the hotel aware that people are still keen to maintain their personal space. The lounge arrangement allows for more refined hospitality, mixed with an element of unobtrusive social distancing.

Alongside its gins, guests will be able to enjoy a selection of canapes whilst they socialise, including the more traditional options such as camembert, while the hotel’s chef has also added a distinct spin through the inclusion of salt and vinegar scraps, deemed ‘duck feed’ to reflect the lounge’s name.

Commenting on the opening, Paul Donkin, general manager of the Hotel St George, said: “Previously the space in the hotel was little used, however, we wanted to revamp the area and use it in a way that would add to our appeal, while also adding an element that would make us stand out. With our hotel bar already known as the Dog & Duck, we hit upon ‘The Duck In’ as a name, as people can just duck in for a quick gin – or stay for longer of course if they’re particularly thirsty!”

Since reopening in May, the hotel, which is part of the newly formed Coast & Country Hotel Collection, has enjoyed a period of busy trade and views this latest development as the next step of its post-pandemic recovery.

While the lounge will only serve gins and gin cocktails, the hotel’s other bar the Dog & Duck continues to offer its traditional wide-ranging drinks menu with gin lounge guests welcome to move through should they want to enjoy alternative refreshments.

The Hotel St George was rescued from the risk of permanent closure in 2020 following the collapse of Specialist Leisure Group, the then owner of the Shearings brand. Having reopened under new ownership and as part of a new hotel management agreement in May 2021, the hotel is going from strength to strength.