Name a more quintessentially British tipple than gin! Gin’s a popular spirit in Bath and you’ll find G&Ts and gin-based cocktails on the menu of most of the bars in the city.
If you want to try a local gin, keep your eyes peeled for anything from The Bath Gin Company or Bath Botanical Gin Distillery & Herbal Apothecary as these are both distilled in the city, and you can take a tour to see how they are made if you’re interested in the science behind the sauce.
Bath’s architecture lends itself well to hidden bars where you’ll find skillfully crafted cocktails.
Check out our top whisky bars for inspiration for places to also try a gin-based concoction or head to an underground bar like Opium and Beneath to indulge in fancy cocktails, including some gin-based beauties.
Hotel bars like Bar 15, Gainsborough, and Montague are the best places to head for more upscale tipples based on the juniper and botanical based spirit and each have some world-class gins on the menu.
Ready for a drink? Here are three of the best bars in Bath to taste local gin and to learn more about the popular spirit.
1. The Bath Gin Bar
It’s not exactly a cryptic name – The Bath Gin Company distills locally and has its own cosy bar on Queen Street (previously The Canary Gin Bar) where you can taste their gins, from Classic (distilled using 11 botanicals including bitter orange, kaffir lime leaf, and English coriander) to Orange Sloe, and Hopped Rhubarb.
Unsurprisingly you’ll find a very extensive gin-based menu and with 230 other gins on offer, you can create all kinds of G&Ts with unique mixers and garnishes.
The bar also has infusions of the Bath Gin Company Classic Gin, with flavours like Cucumber & Jasmine, and weekly specials (showcasing gin, obviously).
Originally the distillery was underneath the bar and you could take a peek on the way to the loo, but now it’s moved to a way bigger facility nearby on Monmouth Place and you can take a distillery tour that includes learning about the distillery (which was the first distillery to open in Bath for 250 years) and tasting gins back in the bar.
If you’re taking part in the distillery tour, you’ll get a miniature bottle to take home as a reminder of your visit. There’s also a distillery shop located in the bar if you want to take a bottle (or two) home with you.
Address: 2-3 Queen Street, Bath, BA1 1HE
2. Sub 13
Spread out over three floors of what were once the domestic quarters for a grand Georgian townhouse, this labyrinthine experience is home to all manner of grown-up, post-sunset entertainment options including late-night DJs on the private, heated garden terrace, VIP areas and an exceedingly sophisticated cocktail list.
But Sub 13’s dedicated Gin Bar – a chic, street-level, gin-lovers paradise, also available for private hire – is the gin-related hotspot that botanical dreams are made of, offering multiple options from a bespoke selection of G&T’s served with style in sparkling balloon glasses at 2-for-1 prices throughout the evening.
Address: 4 Edgar Buildings, Bath BA1 2EE
3. The Grapes
There’s been a public house on 14 Westgate Street since 1792… and The Grapes (https://thegrapesbath.co.uk/) keeps that centuries-old tradition thriving in fine, contemporary style.
The well-stocked bar here flies the flag for local artisan producers, not least of all those who specialise in gin. Have you ever tried the Oxford Artisan Distillery’s Ashmolean Gin, created in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum using heritage grains?
What about Conker Dorset Dry, or Ramsgate Single Estate, or Scout and Sage’s distinctive London Dry Gin, made just up the road from Bath? Now’s your chance! Meanwhile, the prospect of Rosemary and Black Olive, Rhubarb and Hibiscus or Elderflower and Cucumber tonics are equally uniquely fascinating.
Address: 14 Westgate Street, Bath BA1 1EQ
4. The Cosy Club
Artfully stylised décor flourishes have transformed a little corner of a contemporary shopping mall into a uniquely quirky space, at once daringly flamboyant, wittily ostentatious and laden with contemporary flair, complete with an alfresco balcony offering cityscape views.
A perfectly characterful backdrop, then, against which to peruse the Cosy Club‘s Curated Gin and Tonic menu that offers an opportunity to explore either signature pairings such as Didsbury Strawberry and Sicilian Lemon Gin, or Cygnet 22 Gin combined with Riesling and topped with tonic.
The stand-alone options, meanwhile, include lesser-spotted gin delights including New London Light (made in Salcombe, Devon), Hendrick’s Neptunia and Hayman’s Sloe gins.
If you find yourself working up an appetite while you sip and sup, stylish sharing platters and small plates go large here.
Address: Unit R4, Southgate Place, Bath BA1 1AP
5. Be At One
This atmospheric, grown-up cocktail bar with alfresco terraces out front and to the rear may be convenient for both Bath Spa Railway Station and the Bath Bus Station hub, but be warned: you might want to linger long here rather than get panicky about making the 20.14 service to Paddington.
Be At One‘s mixology magicians turn the wait for your bespoke order into a theatrical experience, and the dedicated Gin Menu puts the spotlight on eight gin-based cocktails (including the Shaky Pete, for example, which replaces tonic with pale ale, or the fruity Bit of Me) and four classic gin Martinis, while either the Neon Pink G&T or the Rosy Cheeks cocktail (both on the Signature Long Drinks menu) have to be sampled to be believed; once tried, never forgotten.
Address: 11 Brunel Square, Bath BA1 1SX
6. The Marlborough Tavern
Occupying a comfortable location wedged between proper pub and upmarket modern bistro, the Marlborough Tavern offers an appealing blend of friendly familiarity and a fresh, smart outlook in both decor and menus.
While the private walled garden outback offers an indoor/outdoor experience all year round; little wonder, then, that this is one of the most popular pubs in Bath, keeping regulars, locals and visitors alike revisiting on a regular basis.
But despite the pub’s multiple charms, many familiar faces return, we’re sure, for the gin menu alone: a lovingly-curated range of 15 classic varieties from classic Hendrick’s to sophisticated Bombay Bramble by way of elderflower, raspberry/hibiscus and sloe infusions. Fancy a gin-based cocktail? The honey-infused Beekeeper is a buzz!
Address: 35 Marlborough Buildings, Bath BA1 2LY
7. The Architect
If you’re a fan of grand designs, The Architect has got it all going on; think, high ceilings, polished wood and palm trees, with a casually elegant chill-out zone at the start of the journey through to the shiny, sparkling bar and adjacent alfresco terrace, and a spacious restaurant beyond that.
And if you fancy the prospect of grand gins within those grand surroundings, you’ve come to the right place. The Architect’s aptly-named Grand Gin Menu, featuring nine locally-sourced gins including distillations courtesy of Bath’s Electric Bear and Bath Hopped Rhubarb Gin, has designs on temptation from the off: your choice is served over ice in a dramatic Coppa De Balon glass with a perfectly-paired tonic.
Or, chat to one of the friendly bar staff for advice on the range of 50+ gins that make their presence felt behind the bar, all to be enjoyed an understatedly chic, welcoming environment that’s bought a little bit of a West London vibe into the heart of historic Bath.
Address: The Empire, Orange Grove, Bath BA1 1LP
Georgian in essence, built on foundations that boast 13th Century origins and surrounded by acres of beautifully-manicured lawns and chill out zones, Homewood gently challenges perceptions of the country house hotel experience – not least of all when it comes to the beautifully-curated gin menu.
The Homewood homies are big on botanicals; their bespoke Kaleidoscope Gin, for example, features hibiscus grown in the hotel’s very own no-dig garden, while herb, spice, root and floral notes abound across the whole selection resulting in a magical, secret garden party experience.
Talking of which… the spacious alfresco, partially-covered terrace adjacent to Homewood’s Olio restaurant offers spectacular views across the hotel’s surrounding greenery and unique Dining Domes.
Address: Abbey Lane, Freshford, Bath BA2 7TB
9. The Mint Room
Venture upstairs from The Mint Room‘s restaurant and you’ll find a subtly glamorous, urbane alfresco experience on the super-smart rooftop cocktail terrace complete with twinkly lights, shimmering bling and sparkly flourishes, and offering urban cityscape views that make you feel like you’re in uptown NY rather than downtown BA2.
From the 17+ gins on the menu, the Tanqueray Rangpur (flavoured with limes from the Bangladesh city of Rangpur) might be the obvious choice given the Mint Room’s modern Indian theme, while the East Indian Gimlet (a heady mix of Colombo No 7 gin, fresh lime and sugar syrup) encapsulates the taste of an Indian summer; team it with a deconstructed Punjabi samosa from the restaurant’s super-smart Indian Street Food selection and you’re instantly transported to downtown Delhi.
Address: Longmead Gospel Hall, Lower Bristol Road, Bath BA2 3EB
10. Widbrook Grange
Okay, bear with us as we’re going to take you on a journey around 8 miles/12k south-east of Bath – but a very special treat awaits gin lovers at none-to-arduous journey’s end.
Situated with a snug, atmospheric drinking den with a distinct ‘escape from it all’ vibe, the Gin Bar at Widbrook Grange – a magical pastoral bolthole based in a historic former farmhouse and laden with rustic eclectica – is home to one of the biggest gin collections in the south west: 160+, to be precise, every one of them approved by Widbrook’s team of gin connoisseurs to guarantee unique personality.
Overwhelmed? Board a Gin Flight (there are four to choose from, including A Trip Around The World and Scotland’s Yard) and prepare to take a voyage of discovery, while Gin Tasting events and dinners abound. Can’t decide on a designated driver? Book one of Widbrook Grange’s 19 Dreaming Dens and rest easy.
Address: Trowbridge Road, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1UH
If you’re in Bath with a group, book a private tasting at Bath Botanical Gin Distillery & Herbal Apothecary to learn about how gin is distilled and get a taste of their locally made gins, or visit the shop to buy some to take home and try.
There’s no public bar, but the distillery does sometimes host Gin Masterclass events, so you can come along without a group and get to taste the gins and herbal elixirs, as well as learn more about the gin making process.
Keep an eye out for Circo Bar’s Gin High Tea, too. It should be running again in the summer and it gives groups the chance to ‘make’ their own gin while enjoying afternoon tea, learning about the history of the tipple, and of course tasting gin.
Melissa relocated from Liverpool to Bath in 1999 and has since made the city her official first home. She has 30+ years of published freelance writing commissions on her CV and is a regular contributor to several local and national publications, typically specialising in restaurant and theatre reviews, food-related features and interviews with interesting people.