Yeah, you read that right. Four hundred gins. One hundred and twenty cocktails. You may never be able to order the same thing twice at Whitechapel, which opens tonight in the Tenderloin. The steampunk bar from owners Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove) and John Park (Novela) is a shrine to the herby, flowery spirit with a 17-page drink menu that’s pretty easy to get lost in. Beverage director Alex Smith (Novela, Gitane) created many martinis, gin and tonics, popular classic gin drinks, original cocktails, gin flights, gin punches, drinks on tap and so much more. There's a custom house gin from Distillery No. 209 that’s featured in a bunch of them. If it’s all overwhelming, there’s also a tasting and education program called Polk Street Irregulars where you can try different styles, applications in cocktails and side-by-side comparisons of various gins.
As for the food, chef David Murphy (Austin's Uchi) made an Anglo-Dutch-Bangladeshi menu, which sounds like a convoluted mash-up, but there is a rational thought behind it. "It sounds like a hipster parody, but it’s actually rooted in the notion that the Dutch and British are our two most prominent gin countries, and their food reflects the spice trade that informed the creation of gin," Cate explained. The result is dishes like welsh rarebit with a beetroot chutney and fish and chips with curry sauce.
As of today, Whitechapel is open Sunday to Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The kitchen is open until midnight. Check out both menus in full below.