10 cocktail bars in Bristol you have to try

Bristol is home, amongst other delights, to a myriad of weird and wonderful bars offering a decadent selection of tasty and daring cocktails.

<p>Bottoms up!</p>

Bottoms up!

Whether you’re loyal to the classics like an Old Fashioned or a Mojito, or are in the market for something a bit different like a Jaffa Cake Martini or a ‘Don’t Call Me Shirley’, something is bound to take your fancy.

Cocktails reek of celebration - and with our city reawakening from the pandemic afte a super tough year, what better time is there to celebrate?

The hard part is choosing the venue.

To save you a job, we’ve rounded up some of the best cocktail hot spots in Bristol - all in the name of research, you understand.

The Milk Thistle

It might be one of the best and most-loved cocktail bars in Bristol, but you may have a spot of bother tracking down this clandestine venue without knowing where it is (well, it was the city’s original Prohibition bar). The Milk Thistle prides itself on being a chic haven ‘for the discerning drinker’, featuring ‘stunning architecture, eclectic decor and exceptional cocktails’. Enjoy a tipple in the hidden vault or decadent lounge bar. If the weather is fine, the Parlour bar has an outdoor terrace overlooking the city centre.

“You could easily walk past this place and be none the wiser that such a cool cocktail bar lies inside.”

Where is it? Look for the doorway between the Tuk Tuk cafe and White Lion pub at Quay Head House

What should I order? One of venue’s most popular drinks is the Big City Epiphany, a refreshing cocktail made with Hendricks Gin, Ahus Akvavit, Russet Apple Liqueur and yellow chartreuse.

Cosy Club

This grand split-level restaurant ‘oozes grandeur’ with its chandeliers and marble flooring. The Grade II listed Neo-Palladian style building, which features a beautiful domed roof, once housed a banking hall and before that, a church. An imposing and stylish spot to enjoy a cocktail or two in the heart of the Old City.

“What elegant and ornate interior surrounds. Lovely staff too decked out in period regalia.”

Where is it? 31 Corn Street

What should I order? The Butter Toffee Old Fashioned, a sweet twist on an old favourite using smoky 8.75 Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey, is delicious.

Kinkajou

Kinkajou, formerly Hausbar, is a Bristol ‘secret bar scene’ favourite all about ‘exceptional cocktails, outstanding customer service and a sophisticated environment’. The bar doesn’t operate a formal dress code but asks that customers ‘appoach their eveningwear selection with a sense of occasion’. A classy affair perfect for late night drinks.

“The staff are incredible; the atmosphere delicious! Without a doubt, the best and dirtiest martini in town. If you like it salty and sultry, this is your place.”

Where is it? 52 Upper Belgrave Road, Clifton

What should I order? While Kinkajou offers a range of classic cocktails, don’t leave without trying one of their amazing signature creations, such as the Honeybear with Abhelha peanut cachaca, pineapple juice, lime and honey foam.

The Bootlegger

This cool, snug space aims to ecapsulate the same energy felt in 1933, when Prohibition ended (’We play the best music, from the best times with the best drinks’). The Bootlegger has more than 90 cocktails on offer including specialty CBD infused concoctions. Revellers looking to let loose somewhere away from the normal bar scene will enjoy the 1920s inspired decor, live music and an ‘air of the intruiging and the hidden’.

“This place has an amazing vibe coupled with some exquisite cocktails. The whole experience is one that is unmatched.”

Where is it? 233 Cheltenham Road

What should I order? If you’re partial to an Espresso Martini, you’ll be spoilt for choice here- choose from popcorn, white chocolate and mint, mocha, hazelnut, salted caramel and jaffa cake versions of the classic drink.

Hyde and Co

A low-lit, speakeasy-style bar for cocktails served amid standard lamps and framed mirrors by the prolific owners of The Milk Thistle. Not your average cocktail joint - you to have buzz to be let in before being lead into a velvet curtain-clad room. A unique atmosphere inspired by the shady cocktail bars of New York City.

“The atmosphere has a brooding, mysterious, romantic buzz.”

Where is it? 2 Upper Byron Place

What should I order? Rather delightfully, the cocktails are named after pubs and bars all around Bristol. Be brave and try a Highbury Vaults, inspired by the pub where convicted felons would have had one last meal and a pint before being sent to the gallows in the 1800s. Featuring Hyde rum blend #2, coconut palm sugar and bitters.

Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This James Bond-inspired haunt is hidden behind a phonebox and offers a quirky, warm vibe with creative cocktails. Union Jack pillows, classic barstools, tropical plants, leather booths and small, low-lit lamps set the scene. The bar also features antique objects such as grandfather clock. old-fashioned telephone and a piano.

“Quirky little bar with some really fun and unusual cocktails.”

Where is it? Whiteladies Road

What should I order? For a drink that’s ‘silky, soft and loads of fun’, plump for an R&B Sour with Lot 40 Rye, Banane du brésil, lemon and whites.

The Clockwork Rose

Bristol’s first and only Steampunk cocktail bar and the fictional watering hole of the adventurer Captain Sebastian Commodore. When Captain Commodore would return to England he and the crew of his airship, The Nautimore, would gather at The Clockwork Rose to tell the tales of their travels. These accounts have inspired the venue’s range of stunning ‘libations and intoxications’ served in an intimate, quaint and quirky atmosphere.

“The care and attention they put into their craft is phenomenal.”

Where is it? 16 St Stephens Street

What should I order? Go hard or go home with a ‘Death in the Afternoon’, a champagne cocktail with La Fee Parisienne absinthe and Tattinger Brut. La Vie Bohème!

Loose Cannon

A ‘proudly independent’ and fun cocktail bar in the heart of the Habourside, Loose Cannon aims to serve ‘decadent, delicious and inventive’ drinks in a ‘seriously stylish’ setting. A place for quality drinks and time with your mates. The cocktail menu is a work of art in itself.

“The presentation of the cocktails was amazing. Really fun and unusual styles, especially with all of the foliage.”

Where is it? 8 Millennium Promenade

What should I order? Sugar Tax is a firm favourite - Beefeater London gin, Aperol, Irn Bru, lemon juice and prosecco. Yum!

The Florist

This botanical-themed wonderland has undoubtely been designed with Instagram in mind, but nothing wrong with that. The Florist wants to bring a’ sensory world of culinary delights, fragrant cocktails, daily beats and nightly DJs’ and has proved popular with locals and visitors alike since its opening in Clifton in 2018.

“Delicious vegan brunch, lush cocktails and fab, friendly service.”

Where is it? 69 Park Street

What should I order? The Rhubarb in Bloom corresponds pleasingly with the floral environs (Portobello Road gin, rhubarb liqueur, rhubarb andraspberry cordial topped with ginger ale). Almost too pretty to drink. Almost.

London Cocktail Club

One for the party animals among us - visitors to the LCC are urged to ‘leave your inhibitions at the door and let your fantasies run wild’. In an ode to Neverland, rare birds adorn the walls while a curious ticking crocodile keeps his beady eye on revellers. Watch out for the mischevious green fairy.

“The drinks are always on point and the staff are hilarious, attentive and always fabulous.”

Where is it? The Clifton Triangle

What should I order? Fans of a cheeky Pornstar Martini will love the Sgroppino Passione, a crisp Italian dessert cocktail made by pouring prosecco over sorbet. This one packs an extra punch with Damoiseau passionfruit rum, supasawa clear citrus and vanilla syrup.