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Downtown's newest hot spot features a nostalgic twist down below (6 photos)

Gin Mill on upper Wyndham Street features fresh food, from-scratch cocktails and a speakeasy in the basement

The sign on the non-descript door down the short hallway in the basement reads: "BROOM CLOSET (PROBABLY)."

Spoiler alert: It's not.

Behind the door is a 35-seat speakeasy, complete with retro lounges, comfy chairs, mood lighting and downsized bar.

The speakeasy is one of the allures of Gin Mill, the newest addition to Downtown Guelph's restaurant and lounge scene.

Featuring a bistro lunch and dinner menu and house-made cocktails on the main floor seven days a week, there's also a late-night speakeasy for drinks and snacks downstairs that is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. You need a password to get into the speakeasy though, so follow them on social media.

Brandon Rennie, who opened the Gin Mill with brothers Spencer and Josh, said the new place has been going well since opening a couple of weeks ago. He said the buzz of the speakeasy helped get things rolling.

"We're the kind of thing I don't think you can find anywhere else in Guelph right now," said Rennie. "We're just hoping people are going to like it and so far so good."

Gin Mill is located at 107 Wyndham St. N., a spot that has seen a number of establishments over the years, including Wally's Tavern for many years, Biggies for a couple of years and most recently the Black Bell.

It has sat empty since 2016.

Gin Mill is the sibling of the Gin Mill the Rennies started on Toronto's Bloor Street a couple of years ago.

"We always kind of planned on doing a Gin Mill here in Guelph at some point and the opportunity just arose. We had a real estate agent reach out to us about this space being available and we jumped on it," Rennie said.

"We walked through and a lot of the bones were there, we just had to make it our own. Since then it's been renovations, getting it set up, sourcing it and rolling this place out."

The fact that a lot of the restaurant infrastructure was in place made it a little easier on the renovation pocket book.

It's slightly upscale, but not too much. The cocktails are the main draw.

"Our cocktails stand out the most. We're serial innovators, always trying to figure out what else we can do new," said Rennie.

They also have their own draught beer: Prohibition pilsner.

Example: the recent heat wave  led to a slushy machine in the speakeasy to make booze slushies.

"The speakeasy is just serving cocktails in the type of environment they were probably served in back in the 1920s, during prohibition," Rennie said. "Difference is we actually have our licence."

Gin Mill is open 11 a.m. until midnight seven days a week. More information on Facebook and their website.