Distillery Gastropub, Souk Al Manzil
The impact of wallet-friendly pricing on return bar custom
Laid-back, casual gastropub, Distillery in Downtown Dubai serves up playful, seasonally-changing menus, hand crafted cocktails and accessibly priced wines. Here, the venue’s Group Executive Chef Brian Voelzing shares its secret to building return custom.
A fun, warm and welcoming restaurant tucked away in Downtown Dubai’s Souk Al Manzil, Distillery Gastropub runs an incredible bar program that focuses on wine, beer and spirits, in addition to frequent changing menus from the kitchen that draw on playfulness, creativity and great tasting, simple food.
“The restaurant has a long wooden bar that’s dimly lit by Edison bulbs and the dining area is a very intimate yet social, industrial space with wood and leather furniture, concrete and brick walls and open ceilings. We also have a new, lush terrace that offers Burj Khalifa views,” explains Distillery’s Group Executive Chef Brian Voelzing, adding, “all our drinks are hand crafted and infusions, syrups and bitters are all made in-house. The menu is creative comfort food with twists on burgers, tacos and bar snacks.”
“Quality, wallet-friendly priced F&B really is key to maintaining return custom in today’s competitive casual sector.”
Since its opening two years ago, Distillery has built a loyal customer base who label the venue as their ‘local’ – something not always easy to accomplish in Dubai’s flooded restaurant market.
Discussing ways to encourage repeat custom, the Canadian chef said, “quality, wallet-friendly priced F&B is key to maintaining return custom in today’s competitive casual sector. I would recommend Distillery to anyone who wants a great glass of wine without breaking the bank – we focus on affordability.”
While Distillery’s wine list is not overly extensive, the selection comprises grapes that provide value for money. “The inspiration behind Distillery’s wine list is very much led by affordable quality. We have a great range of varieties from areas like New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Germany, America and South Africa,” chef Brian tells.
Another key to keeping guests happy while boosting sales is to ensure Distillery’s front of house team is prepared, with the chef noting, “they are well trained on the best wine and food pairings so that they are able to help guide our guests with their choices.”
“At Distillery we have a section on our menu called ‘Barely Cooked’. I would recommend the Black and Blue Tuna which is yellowfin tuna that has been lightly coated with a spice mixture, seared quickly and served blue, alternatively there is the Salmon Gravlax which we lightly cure in salt, sugar, spices and citrus. Both of these dishes would be great with a glass of Metis Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa,” advises Brian.
Carrying up to 25 varieties at any given time, Distillery offers at least 10 of these by the glass to its guests, including options such as False Bay Whole Bunch Rose, Dark Horse Merlot and Kapuka Sauvignon Blanc by the glass, to name a few.
“By the bottle we have The Chocolate Block, Willa Wolf Riesling and The Drift, Year of the Rooster Rose and others, as well as Champagne. At Distillery we want to offer guests great tasting wine that’s very well priced,” Brian notes.
With limited space within the cozy venue, Distillery has invested in EuroCave cabinets to store its wine selection, which, Brian reveals has been very useful to its team. “It is incredibly easy to organise our wine list using EuroCave. We have labelled the pull-out shelves by grape variety so our service team never have any issues finding a bottle when it has been ordered,” he said.
Adding that “the exact temperature control is one our team’s favorite features of the EuroCave. Our wines are always at the perfect serving temperature for our guests which makes the experience of serving the wine and of course enjoying the wine that much better for both our staff and our guests.”
For guests looking to visit Distillery, chef Brian suggests you “come for the atmosphere and stay for the wine”.
For more information about Distillery Gastropub, please visit distillerydubai.com/ or call +971549982003.