Dive into the extraordinary heritage of this iconic seafaring cocktail bar

Seafaring Ancestors, Hindley St hijinks, and salvaged momentos. The story behind iconic bar Hains & Co is as intoxicating as their cocktails!

Photo supplied by Hains & Co

Nestled within the heart of Adelaide’s CBD sits Hains & Co, a cosy haven where premium cocktails and gin are tailored for leisurely consumption while soaking in the antiquities of times gone by. 

Propelled by their reputation for premium pours, my partner and I weaved through Currie Street’s home-bound traffic before turning into Gilbert Place, leaving the noise and hectic energy behind us. 

In the distance, the champagne-coloured lights draped from the Hains & Co balcony twinkled, luring us towards the low murmur of laughter and tête-à-tête of an al-fresco gathering, back-lit by the amber glow of their open bar.  

As we made our way into the brick and stone building, we passed by an impeccably styled woman, sipping a cocktail in one hand while balancing a Cuban cigar in the other. Another guest sat beneath a heater, his head buried in a book, cradling a Negroni. 

 Photo credit: Glam Adelaide

 Photo credit: Glam Adelaide

Our intuition that we were about to slide down a time curve into another era was confirmed upon stepping into the warm, cosy, wood-encased world of Hains & Co. A vintage claw-foot bath hovered before us, and an antique diving helmet sat nearby. Scattered around us was an assemblage of heirloom items, restored leather seats, intricately tailored tiling, and exquisitely designed bespoke posters.  

This place intrigued us; we needed to dive deeper. Marcus Motteram, the owner and ‘The Admiral’ of Hains & Co, is also the mastermind behind this beautifully executed homage to his past:

” My ancestors arrived in Adelaide in 1839; they were seafaring men. Hains & Co is a tribute to them. My grandfather grew up by the sea, in Brighton and Port Adelaide,  and they used to play on the jetties there. It’s particularly meaningful to me that I could grab hold of some old Largs Bay jetty timber, which I used as the bar top.”

“He opened a furniture store in Adelaide, ‘Hains Hunkins,’ but I remember him as a prominent figure on Hindley Street. He was well-known and social in the area. Being quite a character, he was expelled once from a private swimming club for wearing topless bathers at a time when men’s swimwear required coverage from the knee to the neck.”

“He would have loved seeing his name on a building near Hindley Street again. It’s a pity he didn’t live to be over 100. He had a talent for business, and his furniture store was listed on the Stock Exchange, attracting a buyer when he was ready to retire. Unfortunately, it was sold afterwards.”

From salvaged portholes, allowing cheeky peeks through doors, to the majestic bar Marcus hand-built using that salvaged Brighton jetty wood, this venue is a testament to legacy and a labour of love.  He has searched for, salvaged and restored more items and furnishings in this bar than you can possibly see in one sweeping glance.

Photo supplied by Hains & Co

It’s clear that Marcus’ Grandfather’s strength of character, purpose and business savviness has been passed down to him. The imagination, devotion and sheer hard work to create a space as glorious as Hains & Co is not easy to come by.

This is a place for stories, and we all know that one of the prime places to chat about ‘all the things’ is with a bartender who spends their days conversing with a vast array of characters. Better still, when your bartender is as passionate about sharing their drinks know-how as they are about making them.

Miki fit the brief with all the navigation and cocktail-shaking skills we desired.  Along with her tips on creating a stellar cocktail, Miki also shared her thoughts about being part of the Hains & Co crew:

“This bar has a big ethos about quality and the customer experience, and I wanted to be a part of that. We serve people in a way that we would like to be treated. We like to make everything personal and put a lot of effort into all our creations.”

“I feel that a lot of our venue’s character is what people enjoy. It’s taken nine years to get it to where it is now. If you look around, you’ll see something new every time you come here”.

Photo credit: Joh Wah for Hains & Co

Unlike many other venues that close on certain weekdays and public holidays, Hains & Co. prides itself on being ‘that’ bar you can rely on to always be open for a quality night out. From casual after-work bevies or settling in for a long session with pals through to a relaxing nightcap, they’ll welcome you aboard every night of the year (except Chrissy Day) from 4pm to 2am.

Photo credit: Joh Wah for Hains & Co

Photo credit: Joh Wah for Hains & Co

After discussing our taste preferences, Miki masterfully concocted a pucker-free, gently tart, and slightly sweet Whiskey Sour and a bright, zesty, and garnished Yuzu Fancy. Our taste buds were buzzing and begging for more. Kristian delivered an Espresso Martini that flowed over my palate and into my heart. Made with The Admiral’s House Spiced Rum instead of vodka, it set a new benchmark for espresso-infused, caramelly deliciousness.

My responsible driver was equally impressed with her alcohol-free, made-to-order mocktail, inspired by her preference for dry rosé and citrus tones.  

Photo credit: Glam Adelaide

After our extended indulgence, during which we also explored the savoury delights of their Kitchen Menu (try the house-made sausage rolls, aptly named ‘Sea Pigs’), we eventually, and reluctantly, headed off into the night with a thirst to learn more.  

Judging by the popularity of their regular Whisky 101 and Gin 101 Masterclasses, we’re not alone in our desire to learn more. 

Beyond their Masterclasses, Hains & Co love a rollicking event and regularly create experiences to keep the good times rollin’.

For regular updates on all that’s happening at Hains & Co, check in on their Instagram, Facebook, and website for event call-outs and bookings, including their annual New Year’s Eve Party.

HAINS & CO | 23 Gilbert Place, Adelaide

  • OPEN EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR | 4pm to 2am (except for Christmas Day).
  • Hot tip: The Hains & Co party fires up on Friday and Saturday nights, so if you want to chat and explore flavours with a Hains & Co bartender, you’d be best off heading in between Monday and Thursday.
  • Contact the Hains & Co crew via their website
  • Phone: (08) 8410 7088
  • Bookings are recommended for early evening group gatherings: Hains & Co Bookings Page.

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