With more basement bars and drinking dens than you can shake a bottle of bitters at, Bath has become a breeding ground for serious bartending talent. Check out our roundup of the best cocktail bars in Bath
The Dark Horse
Ask anyone where to sink the best cocktails in Bath and they’ll point you in the direction of The Dark Horse (pictured top). And there’s merit to the enviable reputation of this basement bar on Kingsmead Square: it was included in Imbibe‘s top three UK bars and has featured in multiple world rankings.
The cocktails, crafted by founder Louis Lewis-Smith and his team of skilled bartenders, are complex, creative and like no drink you’ve ever tasted before. Tell them your deepest desires and they’ll make a recommendation from the menu or mix something delicious on the hoof.
Beautiful drinks are complemented by a richly furnished backdrop filled with curious finds from Bath’s antique dealers.
Mexicans know a thing or two about making eye-popping cocktails, and the gang behind this tequila and taco bar in the centre of Bath pay homage to Mexico City’s spirit slingers via a lively line-up of Margs, Micheladas and signature cocktails.
Choose from the likes of the Mezcal Margarita, Tequila Old Fashioned and Lagerita, or go in with a tasting flight of house-favourite tequilas.
Rock up for cocktails at Dos Dedos and there’s a strong chance you’ll stick around for the food. Nachos are piled with hot cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream, while soft corn tacos come loaded with flavour-packed fillings such as courgette, cannellini beans, red potato and bell peppers sautéed in cumin and garlic.
Head below pavement level at this intimate cocktail bar and it’s easy to forget which era you’re in, let alone what time of day it is. An opulent blend of shabby-chic meets renaissance glamour with a dash of country-house shooting party, Opium is a sensory salvo before you’ve even laid eyes on the drinks list.
There’s a great line-up of world beers and wines, but a trip would be wasted without exploring the cocktail menu. The list is lengthy and features Opium’s take on classics alongside its own creations such as the A.Wood, comprised of bourbon whiskey, apricot brandy, apple juice, angostura bitters and honey.
Bread & Jam
There’s often a positive correlation between the popularity of a cocktail bar and the eccentricity of the building in which it resides, so it’s no wonder this drinking den in the vaults of a former bakery is one of Bath’s hottest hangouts.
Bread & Jam only hosts guests on Friday and Saturday evenings, but it’s well worth syncing your schedule to its selective opening hours. Skilled bartenders create unconventional cocktails using seasonal ingredients and artisan spirits – including beers, wines and spirits from local producers such as Wild Beer – while a vinyl DJ spins an eclectic playlist.
Expect low lighting, dark leather, neon signs and mischievous vibes.
The Bath Distillery Gin Bar
If you’re usually drawn to any tipple spiked with gin, you’ll want to make a trip to The Bath Distillery Gin Bar on Queen Street. The bar, on the ground level of The Bath Distillery, is one of the best spots in the city to sink a G&T, but it’s also a great shout for an expertly compiled cocktail.
House-distilled gin is, of course, at the heart of every concoction, yet the list strays far from the classic compilations. C-Biscuit, for example, features Bath Gin, cold brew coffee liqueur, Licor 43, sugar and amoretti biscuits, while the Make It Rein is a delicious mix of Bath Hopped Rhubarb Gin, peach bitters, peach puree, sugar and Champagne.
Like 5 of the best cocktail bars in Bath? Read our Bath staycation guide here.