Is this the world’s smallest gin bar? Probably.
Tin of Sardines is a fitting name for this new Durham City bar, which has a capacity of just 16 people.
Though it’s small in size, it’s big in gin with around 160 varieties of the trendy tipple on offer with a choice of 42 tonics.
The venture is the brainchild of Ben Davis who already owned the site on the edge of Elvet Bridge in its previous guise as Hog Roast.
Thinking of new business ideas with dad Trevor, who runs the successful Court Inn in Durham, the pair came up with the idea of a pint-sized pub.
At a floor space of 5ft by 13ft, it’s certainly the North East’s smallest gin bar and the owners are waiting to see if it’s eligible for the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest.
Gin-lovers will be able to shoe-horn themselves into the Grade I-listed building from Friday when the bar officially opens to the public.
Over the years, Ben has seen the popularity of gin rise at the family business over the bridge and he thinks this latest venture has the potential to wet people’s whistles.
“There’s been so much interest already,” he said. “We only opened the Facebook page at the weekend and it’s already got 2,000 likes.”
Gins offered at Tin of Sardines included local favourites, such as Poetic License, which is distilled at the Roker Hotel, and Durham Gin, as well as varieties from further afield, including Germany, Portugal and the US.
Ben said: “There’s so much variety with gin and people really enjoy hearing about the history of it. Rather than the barman being stood behind the bar polishing glasses, we’re actually stood next to the customers so we can talk them through all the different varieties.”
Space is at a premium at the bar with every inch utilised, including integrated fridge and dish washer below the bar and storage for the tonics under the snug seating area.
For those who aren’t after a glass of mother’s ruin, the bar also has Kronenburg on tap, as well as a selection of bottled, beers, vodka and rums.
Speaking about how he and Trevor came up with the name, Ben said: “It would have been obvious to call it something with gin in the title but there are so many places like that, that we wanted to do something different.
“Small bars like this are often called elbow bars and we started thinking about what else is small and compact and dad came up with Tin of Sardines. It’s quirky and it works.”