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Best Secret Bars in Bristol

Friday 18 August 2023

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Pssst… we want to tell you a secret. Bristol is home to some incredible bars to enjoy a cocktail or two, but you have to be in the know to find them. Lucky for you, we have scouted out the best secret bars in Bristol to help you know where to find the best mojito, margarita, or martini.

With daring décor and charismatic cocktails, prohibition style bars have popped up in various locations around the city. From bars with secret entrances to an espionage themed speakeasy, join us to sample Bristol’s secret bars.

If you love to visit secret bars, check out our guides on secret bars in Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Cambridge.

Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The clue is in the name – Her Majesty's Secret Service takes inspiration from British espionage, so secrecy and mystique are built in! Once you’re inside, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve snuck into MI6, so be on the lookout for spies. Get into the mood with a martini, shaken not stirred of course, in one of Bristol’s best cocktail bars.

The menu comes disguised as a pocket travel guide, with each drink themed around a location in the UK and served with a recipe attached. Plus, they regularly update their menu with seasonal specials, so you have to visit again just to sample something new! Some favourites include the Scout’s Honour, the Palm Beach Cooler, and the Shark Attack.

Getting to HMSS Bar: Located in Clifton, you can hop on a bus from Bristol Temple Meads station, taking around half an hour.

Alt: A hand holding a cocktail glass and strainer pours two cocktails into frosted glasses on a cocktail bar.

Cosies

Brick vaulted ceilings, flagstone floors, and old Church pews – this might not sound like a cocktail bar, but this is why Cosies is so full of unique character. Whatever time of day you decide to visit, the underground den will be lively – right up until they close at 2am. During the day, Cosies serves excellent home-cooked food in a chilled-out atmosphere, but at night the bar transforms into a bustling cocktail bar. With an emphasis on reggae, dubstep, and DnB music, this underground music hub is a great night out.

Getting to Cosies: From Bristol Temple Meads station, you can hop on a bus to Cosies – taking around 15 minutes.

Red Light Bar

Very easy to walk past on the street without even realising, the Red Light Bar in Bristol is an adult-only drinking den concealed in the basement of a worn-down looking building. Trust us, it’s a lot more glamorous than it sounds! With retro 1950s décor inside, you’ll find all the staff in this speakeasy dressed in vintage attire to complete the experience.

If that doesn’t sound like enough fun, maybe their custom cocktails will tickle your fancy. Their menu features classic cocktails and innovative beverages to sample. To get in, you need to pick up the payphone, press the button, and await admission. From start to finish, this is an experience to remember! Make sure to pop into Red Light’s sister bar, Scarlet Lantern, for more secret fun.

Getting to Red Light Bar: From Bristol Temple Meads station, you can walk to Red Light Bar in less than 20 minutes.

Two citrus cocktails sit on a wooden ledge with salt-rim glasses, cherries, limes, and rosemary garnishes.

The Milk Thistle

Located in one of Bristol’s most historic buildings in the old town, it’s a wonder that this four-storey emporium is still a secret – but it’s an exclusive cocktail bar, perfect for weekends away. Inside, you’ll find a delightful dining room along with a cracking cocktail bar. With plenty of events in the calendar, make sure to check to decide when to visit. From expertly mixed cocktails to taxidermy decoration, the Milk Thistle is a must-visit cocktail bar in Bristol.

Getting to the Milk Thistle: You can hop on a bus, taking 10 minutes, from Bristol Temple Meads.

Hyde & Co.

Sister venue to the Milk Thistle, Hyde & Co. is Bristol’s first speakeasy – and it is still one of Bristol’s best secret bars. When it first opened in 2010, it had no social media or marketing – they spread the word with word of mouth alone. That was a roaring success, as it is a multi-award winning ‘must-visit’ location among Bristol’s celebrated cocktail scene.

The décor is eclectic, just like the Milk Thistle. With low lighting and a gentleman’s club vibe, it feels as exclusive and mysterious as it is. Look out for the bowler decoration and ring the doorbell to gain entry, where you will find 1950s aesthetics and deliciously refreshing cocktails.

Getting to Hyde & Co: From Bristol Temple Meads, you can get a 20-minute bus to Hyde & Co.

The Library

Don’t be misled by the name – the only thing you’ll be reading at The Library is the cocktail menu! The bar is kitted out with luxuriously decadent décor to take you back in time to the Golden Age, where you can really enjoy sipping on some exciting beverages. The intimate venue is the perfect place to enjoy a date night drink.

To get in, ring the brass bell under the copper lamp, and a waiter will buzz you into the Library to serve you a refreshing drink. If you fancy something a little more tame, why not book in for a vintage afternoon tea experience with homemade patisserie?

Getting to the Library: From Bristol Temple Meads, you can reach the Library in just 15 minutes on foot.

If you’re planning a trip to Bristol’s secret bars, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Abby

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