Described on its website as ‘Bristol’s hippest prohibition bar’, Hyde & Co is a place of style and character that differs from the ‘everyday’ cocktail experience. Hidden away from prying eyes, those who venture here need to know exactly what they are looking for. The only indication that a venue exists here is a discreet sign above the door. If you don’t know what the symbol is, you could be wandering around for hours. To save you some time scouring the website, it’s a top hat – the ultimate symbol of the upper class. Also, appearance and timing is everything with this place. If you’re not dressed to impress, you may not pass the scrutinising eyes of the doorman. However, once you’ve crossed the threshold, a wondrous land of 1950s decor and cocktails awaits you. Be warned, this excursion will not come cheap, but it is definitely worth blowing a hole in the budget to be part of the ‘in crowd’.
Hyde and Co, The Basement, 2 Upper Byron Place, Bristol, UK, 0117 929 7007
From its prime location in Clifton Village to its intimate decor, Amoeba embodies the perfect ‘date night’ cocktail bar. Just around the corner from the main street in Clifton Village, the warm mood lighting of Amoeba is guaranteed to draw you in. With its three-level layout and varied seating arrangements, there is bound to be an area to suit your mood. On some nights, a resident DJ can be in the downstairs area, providing chilled out music as an accompaniment to whatever cocktail takes your fancy. A bit of advice, if you get there between 4-9pm any night of the week, you’re able to take advantage of their Happy Hour, offering two cocktails for £9.50.
Amoeba, 10 King’s Road, Bristol, City of Bristol, UK, 0117 946 6461
If you want something a little more mainstream, Manos Liquor Bar can be found on The Triangle just minutes away from some of Bristol’s most popular restaurants and clubs. Its laidback atmosphere and primarily wooden décor helps to give it the feel of a modern Southern American bar. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, there is a live DJ to accompany your drinking. You might even be tempted to have a dance, with the open space at the back seemingly intended exactly for this purpose. Also, for those wanting to save money, if you order from a particular menu between 4-8pm, Sunday to Thursday the cocktails will be 2-4-1.
Manos Liquor Bar, 37 Triangle West, Bristol, UK, 0117 925 5266
The Milk Thistle, also referred to as ‘the flirty younger sister of Bristol’s hippest prohibition bar, Hyde & Co.’, can be found 5 minutes away from Bristol’s famous harbourside. Like its ‘big brother’, Hyde and Co., this is a place for those with a bit of cash to spare. Similar to Hyde and Co, The Milk Thistle’s 1950s décor and well-dressed staff create the feeling of a high-class joint. Although there is a cocktail menu with a large selection of spirits and flavours, the barmen are often happy to make you your own personalised drink to get your taste buds tingling. Unlike Hyde and Co., that consists of one main room, The Milk Thistle is spread out over several different floors (The Attic, The Lounge, The Vault). Each of these encompasses a completely different vibe, and is available to hire for private events. If you’re planning to go on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening, booking in advance is highly advisable.
Unlike the previous establishments that have gone for a more high-end, expensive feel, Charlie’s Bar aims to please everyone with its simple yet charming decor. This cocktail bar has an chilled out ambiance, with its friendly staff and reasonably priced cocktails making it a great little find in the Clifton area. Although it has a colourful sign above the doorway, it’s location next to Clifton Down train station means it’s concealed from the general crowd on Whiteladies Road. However, keep your eyes peeled for it, especially on a Thursday evening when they play Motown music and offer 2-4-1 cocktails all night. Plus, if you’re really lucky, the owner may have brought his extremely adorable dog, Luigi, who is more than happy to wander round and say ‘Hello’ to all the customers.