A tipple at the new Evolve Spirit Wine Bar is never a solitary affair – guests share the bolthole on Hobart's historic docks with a Russian cave bear and a Triceratops, or its nose horn at least.
Set within the MAC01 complex, next to the MACq01 Hotel, the luxury lounge bar houses 38 glass-encased fossils, including the imposing frame of the aforementioned bear, which once called the Ural Mountains home and is the youngest of the collection – a mere 70,000 years old.
The private collection, predominantly from Europe and the United States, also contains a sword-ray from the Cretaceous period and a giant land tortoise from the Paleogene period.
Evolve is an intimate space, with leather seating and soft lighting, and guests can choose from two lists of whisky and gin from around the world. There's the bar list, with whisky by the nip from $10-$250 and gins between $10-$16. Then there's the "keep list" from which the full bottle is purchased and stored behind the bar for return visits. It includes the Balvenie Forty ($8500) or the Sullivan's Cove French Oak Single Cask ($2800).
Jake Smith, MACq01's general manager, says the bar is a space to show both Earth's evolution through the fossil collection as well as the development of the state's spirits industry.
"We're proud of where Tasmania sits against the rest of the world," he says.
Other local spirits include whisky from Lark Distillery, founded by Bill Lark, the "godfather" of the industry in Australia, and Poltergeist gin from Shene Estate and Distillery in Pontville.
After a nightcap, it's but a short walk to the MACq01 rooms for rest.
Rooms from $320 a night. See macq01.com.au
Jane Reddy stayed as a guest of MACq01.