Sometimes a door is more than that. It could be a wardrobe or a phone booth. It could be hidden behind an unusual shop or opened to reveal a secret word. A concept born in the USA during the Prohibition era, between 1920 and 1933, over the last decade speakeasy bars have reappeared everywhere. An illusion of secrecy that transports us back to a time when drinking was illegal is part of the appeal. Retro style and great cocktails are the signature elements for these hush-hush spots.
Everybody loves secrets, so do Bristolians. Bars with a clandestine atmosphere, where Bristol’s bartenders create sinful cocktails, are all over the city. If you are looking for sharing a drink with your mates in a different context, filled with mystery, you should go discover these hidden entrances. Here, a look at the best speakeasy bars in Bristol. Let’s go back to the ’30s, then!
1. The Red Light
A phone box and a door covered with graffiti mark the entrance of this secret spot. Placed in the heart of the city at Unity Street, one of the best speakeasy bars in Bristol offers charismatic cocktails, from classics to original mixes. Bartenders in braces and retro style are the signs of this old-fashioned drinking den. An unmarked doorway between two empty shops: an interesting venue which is intentionally difficult to find is, indeed, part of the game. Perhaps, you have walked past its door a hundred times without noticing it, right? Follow the red neon and enjoy its old-fashioned vibes!
2.Hide & Co
Opened its doors in 2010, Hide & Co has been immediately an institution among speakeasy bars in Bristol. Placed just off Clifton Triangle, it is the perfect, not so secret, spot for enjoying sophisticated cocktails which concoctions drawn directly from Prohibition times. A piano in the corner and a selection of vintage lampshades decorate the venue in a proper retro style. If you fancy a night out away from the crowd, look for the bowler hat, its only presence mark. Remember, you will only get in if the staff like the look of you. So, knock on the door and be ready to present yourself with your best smile!
3.The Milk Thistle
The flirty younger sister of Bristol hippest prohibition bar Hide & Co, The Milk Thistle is hidden in one of the finest historic building in town. Get ready to come back to the ’20s among its 4 floors, including a cocktail bar, lounge, and private function rooms, which exude a Great Gatsby atmosphere. So, good food, good drinks and a good time with a pinch of class! With a reputation as one of the best speakeasy bars in Bristol, you should contact the team in advance for checking their availability. Not just amazing cocktails though, they offer also craft beers, ciders, as well as a number of non-alcoholic drinks. What are you waiting for? Let’s organise your next party there and have you feeling like Daisy Buchanan. The only sad part will be the lack of Leonardo DiCaprio by your side!
4. Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Feelings of espionage adorn this James Bond-inspired secret bar, placed in Clifton, tucked away off Whiteladies Road. Very popular since opening, it is one of the most renowned speakeasy bars in Bristol at the moment. Eye-catching and delicious cocktails created from the imagination of the best bartenders. Every sip will make your tastebuds dance! On top of that, all the drinks are listed in a passport-style menu with a bespoke illustration, ingredients and funny description. Pick up the phone outside its doors and be ready for an amazing drinking experience!