Gin is a divisive beverage. Proponents put it on a pedestal, parsing out nuances of flavor, aroma and weight as fans of whiskey or bourbon do. Yet to many people, gin is vodka with some fancy clothes on. The anti-gin set would have you think that gin tastes like Pine-Sol and is only good for cleaning your bathtub.Fortunately, the St. Louis bar scene has Natasha Bahrami, who has created The Gin Room in the front of her family’s longtime Persian restaurant Café Natasha’s on South Grand.

The Gin Room affords gin fans the chance to make up their own mind about the spirit. The bar offers a wide variety of gins – 70, by Bahrami’s count – stocked inside the slick, modern space. In the past year, Bahrami has introduced eight different housemade tonics that guests can pair with the lengthy list of gins, as well as various gin and whiskey infusions available for sampling. That, of course, is all in addition to the whimsical takes on classic cocktails that Bahrami and team have created.

All of this is very impressive, but what will keep you coming back again and again is Bahrami herself. Her positive energy is palpable, and she is the sort of business owner who not only knows the names of everyone walking through the door, but also knows their stories and what they like to drink. She moves about the space like the consummate hostess, ensuring everyone is comfortable, has a tasty beverage in hand and is well fed. Behind the bar, Bahrami is fun-loving, and her passion for all things gin is infectious. She thrives on the chance to educate you about the wide world of gin, and if you’re not a fan, Bahrami is surely the person to change your mind.

The Gin Room, 3200 S. Grand Blvd., South Grand, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.771.3411, cafenatasha.com

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