Swap your mulled wine for something altogether more sophisticated in the run up to Christmas: cocktails are serious business these days, carefully crafted works of art, designed to be admired and enjoyed. Where’s your favourite venue? Here’s our pick of where to go for the best cocktails in Bath!
One of Bath’s more glamorous drinking spots, Sub 13 is found on (and partly under) lively George Street at the top of Milsom Street. Get comfy on one of the white leather armchairs in the champagne lounge or wrap up warm and head outside to the twinkly walled garden tucked away at the back. The signature cocktails incorporate everything from home-infused orange and homemade truffle bitters to Sub 13’s very own cucumber syrup. House cocktails are 2-for-1 until 10pm daily, with gin and bubbly cocktails 2-for-1 all night.
tel: 01225 466667; sub13.net
The Canary Gin Bar
Just round the corner from our office (lucky us!), The Canary Gin Bar on Queen Street boasts around 200 gins: fruity, floral, vegetal or dry, whatever your preference, you’ll find you’re perfect one here. Home of Bath Gin (distilled in the cellars right under the bar), the staff are über friendly and knowledgeable and love to talk gin, so don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone and ask for a recommendation. We love a Dr Orchid, a heady mix of Bath Gin, maraschino cherry liqueur, Lanique spirit of rose, cherry syrup, lemon juice and rose lemonade. If you fancy having a go yourself, then the gin-making classes come highly rated. Would make a great Christmas present too…
tel: 01225 462457; thebathgincompany.co.uk
It’s all about the drama here: a sultry subterranean den with velvet drapes, brass-studded leather chairs and plenty of candle-lit corners to claim as your own. Just off Kingsmead Square, the cocktail menu is innovative and exciting, with plenty of seasonal offerings to tempt you. The bar champions local producers: all the beers come from the South West and much of the fruit and herbs used in the cocktails are foraged from the hills surrounding the city. Despite the grown-up décor, the staff are welcoming and charming; it’s an intimate place serving up some of the best cocktails in Bath and the perfect option for those seeking out a quiet, relaxed city centre oasis.
tel: 01225 282477; darkhorsebar.co.uk
Hall & Woodhouse Bar & Restaurant
The more mature Bath resident will recall the original Bonhams auction rooms on Old King Street, transformed several years ago into a buzzy bar and restaurant. The building is split into sections over three floors and is designed around the original Woodhouse family and their interests and passions. Downstairs you’ll find the Copper Bar, built from the old brewing coppers from Hall & Woodhouse brewery in Dorset (after which the building is named), and the Pantry with long bench-style seating, leather Chesterfield sofas and shelves of board games. Up the grand central staircase is the dining room with its open kitchen and the roof terrace (open until 10pm). The cocktail menu here is divided into modern classics and ‘signature serves’, the highlights including the delicious Clover Club (Sipsmith London dry gin, Chambord black raspberry liqueur, Martini Rosso and fresh raspberries). Weekends are generally noisy, busy and fun, but if you’re looking for a ready made atmosphere, this is the place for you.
tel:01225 469259; hall-woodhousebath.co.uk
Last but by no means least is Walcot House. Housed in a former bakery, this exclusive, upmarket bar on Walcot Street boasts some of the best live music in the city and some of the best cocktails too. It’s open five days a week with live music and DJs until 3am, and the food (a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tapas) is always top drawer. Cocktails (a very reasonable £9-10 each) are served from a long marble-top bar to a backdrop of live swing, jazz or soul funk. 100% family owned, this is a place with a heart and a soul, refreshingly different and if you haven’t been already, then Christmas is the perfect excuse….
tel: 01225 314938; walcothousebath.com