The rumours are true Harrogate has a new gin bar as iconic hotel bounces back from risk of closure

What has been described as Harrogate's first dedicated gin bar has opened with the promise of offering something new to the town's hospitality scene following a difficult 18 months for the industry.
The Duck In’ gin lounge at the iconic St George Hotel in Harrogate.The Duck In’ gin lounge at the iconic St George Hotel in Harrogate.
The Duck In’ gin lounge at the iconic St George Hotel in Harrogate.

Called The Duck In, the brand new gin lounge is located in the iconic The Hotel St George.

The bar, which is situated in the hotel’s reception area, before leading to a dedicated lounge 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 such as Otterbeck.

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The new lounge, which opened at the end of last week, sees the Hotel St George add a unique spin to its hospitality offering, helping it to stand out from other Harrogate venues – with ‘The Duck In’ lounge being the town’s only bar dedicated specifically to gin.

Saying it with flowers - The Duck In, the brand new gin lounge located in The Hotel St George in Harrogate.Saying it with flowers - The Duck In, the brand new gin lounge located in The Hotel St George in Harrogate.
Saying it with flowers - The Duck In, the brand new gin lounge located in The Hotel St George in Harrogate.

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!”

As part of the bar’s new décor, the ceiling above it has been bedecked with a hanging garden of flowers, giving it a distinctive ambience, with guests then able to retire to a seated lounge area once they’ve been able to peruse the many gins available.

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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.

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.

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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.

Becky Edmundson, Sales Manager at the Hotel St George who reprised her role at the hotel following its reopening, said: “The addition of a gin lounge helps us to stand out and offers something new to Harrogate.

"When rumours of it first emerged, we’ve had so many people popping in to ask when it would open.

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"Now it’s here, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming guests – both old and new – to enjoy this new aspect of our offering.”

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, with the gin lounge following hot on the heels of its recently announced 2021 wedding package that allows prospective newlyweds to celebrate their nuptials with 30 guests from just £2,021.

The Coast & Country Hotel Collection, which the Hotel St George is now part of, incorporates 37 properties, spread across well-established leisure destinations throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

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The collection includes celebrated spots such as the Windermere Hotel in Windermere, The Great Western in Oban, Argyll and Bute, and the Ship and Castle in St Mawes, Cornwall.

Many of the hotels, as their collective name implies, are within areas close to coastal or rural attractions and offer guests a base to visit established regional tourist attractions or take part in active outdoor pursuits.

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