Must Visit Cocktail Bars in Bath

Written & Curated by Emma Dance

Don’t be fooled by the Georgian facades and its genteel reputation – Bath knows how to have fun. And no, we’re not just talking student haunts and hen weekend hangouts. (Though there are plenty of those for sure!) Over the past few years the city has raised its cocktail game in a serious way and now there’s some pretty major mixology talent going on. So, when the clock strikes cocktail hour, whether you’re looking for quirky or sophisticated, something shaken or something stirred, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

The Dark Horse

When owner Louis Lewis-Smith opened the Dark Horse back in 2015 he was on a mission to create a bar that was “world class” in terms of the welcome, atmosphere and quality of drinks. And that’s exactly what he and his team have done. The combination of top-class ingredients and innovative and talented mixologists has proved to be more than just a bit successful and the past few years have seen the Dark Horse team rack up a string of international “best bar” nominations and win a worldwide rep for their creative libations. The subterranean speakeasy is understandably popular then, so it’s always best to book a table because, trust us, the disappointment of missing out might be too much to bear.

The Dark Horse, 7a Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB. Find out more.


Bar 15 at No 15 Great Pulteney

It might be located on one of the most traditional streets in Bath (if it weren’t for the parked cars you could almost imagine Jane Austen sauntering down the road) but Bar 15 is anything but. Behind the classic Georgian exterior lies a drinking den that is both modern and whimsical in equal measure. The vibe is probably best summed up as “playful” with the menu presented on laying cards and the cocktails served with wit and imagination. Sure, you could order a classic, but where’s the fun in that?

Bar 15 at No 15 Great Pulteney, Bath BA2 4BR; no15greatpulteney.co.uk


Beneath

The dark secret of Bath’s cocktail scene, you’ll find Beneath hidden well, beneath, The Botanist on Milsom Street (which also does an above average line in cocktails – just FYI). Edgier and more atmospheric than its upstairs neighbour it’s been “inspired by the rise of apothecary and the darker side of botany” with the menu presented as a list of cures for all manner of ills. Whether there’s any proof that a cocktail can actually protect against lightning or purify the soul perhaps remains to be seen, but we reckon it’s got to be worth a go.

Beneath, The Octagon, Milsom Place, Bath BA1 1BZ. Find out more.


Sub 13

Probably one of, if not the first bar in the city to take cocktail making seriously, Sub 13 is still more than holding its own among the newer kids on the block with an extensive menu where classic mixes rub shoulders with more imaginative concoctions. The sleek, elegant space is on the big rather than bijou side, but with plenty of snug corners and nooks and crannies to retreat to it nonetheless feels cosy rather than cavernous, and it has the rarest of Bath gems – a sun-trap garden for al fresco quaffing.

Sub 13, Edgar Buildings, 4 George Street, Bath BA1 2EE; sub13.net

 


ArtBar

ArtBar certainly puts pay to any preconceptions that hotel bars have to be boring! Found in the fabulously centrally located Abbey Hotel, as the name might suggest, it’s been designed to mimic the feel of an artist’s studio (albeit a rather sleek one), with paint-smudged furniture and a regularly changing collection of art on display. The cocktail menu has been curated as carefully as the paintings and it’s easily apparent that there’s as much creative flair on display behind the bar as there is on the walls.

ArtBar, Abbey Hotel, North Parade, Bath BA1 1LF; abbeyhotelbath.co.uk