Gin fans will be happy to hear that Whitechapel, the nearly-400-gin-strong bar coming to the Tenderloin in the old Noble space, has every intention of opening on Monday, October 26 ("Fingers crossed," owner Martin Cate told Eater). The bar, a collaboration between owners Cate (Smuggler’s Cove) and John Park (Novela), beverage director Alex Smith (Novela, Gitane) and chef David Murphy (Austin's Uchi), is going steampunk-strong with a "heavily-themed Victorian-era distillery in an abandoned London Underground station" decor. "It’s like an imaginary Victorian fantasia," Cate said. In the year since its announcement, chef Caleb Jones left the project, and Murphy has gotten on board with the Anglo-Dutch-Bangladeshi menu. "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. As such, Murphy’s full menu of apps and entrees has a ton of spices and big flavors.
On the drink side, Smith made a menu of more than 70 cocktails, all featuring gin, of course, with lots of geographical riffs on G&T’s in addition to the classics. Distillery No. 209 created a custom house gin, of which Cate just received the first bottle this week. You’ll likely taste it in the Polk Street Irregulars program, which is a similar tasting and education program as Smuggler Cove’s popular Rumbustion Society. "We’ll have an exciting educational journey through the world of gin and being able to taste different styles, applications in cocktails and side-by-side comparisons. Plus there’s a very interesting interactive component," Cate said. Stay tuned for more details closer to opening.