, Bristol is brimming with hidden drinking gems across the city. But The Library might just be the most mysterious and discrete of them all. It may well be like an antique bookshop from the outside, but inside you will find a private cocktail lounge tucked away. Perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
This bar on St Nicholas Street in the Old City is only a few doors down from popular steakhouse Mugshot, also run by the same owners Adam Bryan and Zowie Yip. The Library shares the same 1920s, speakeasy vibe as Mugshot. Think Peaky Blinders as it oozes plenty of sophistication from the era with its dark wood panelled walls, brass finishes and low lighting but minus the bottle-throwing and bust-ups.
To enter The Library, visitors will have to ring a buzzer to be let in (Hint: under the copper lamp you’ll find a brass bell). From there you’ll be let into the bookshop, where you’ll be led through a secret entrance hidden behind a bookcase full of antique hardback books. Once finally inside the cocktail bar, grab a pew, either a stool by the bar or a cosy armchair by the fire, and sip on one of The Library’s eclectic cocktails with some served in vintage coupe glasses.
The bar will serve ‘high-end style canapé dishes’ alongside a range of cocktails each evening as well as planning to operate as a tearoom during the daytime. Plus, venture below and you’ll find a distillery in the basement where Bristol Dry Gin is working with The Library to produce wonderful gin for the bar upstairs.
Be sure to try the Mugshot Earl Gray & Lavender Gin as well as the magnificently-crafted cocktails such as Citadel (Glasgow Blend whisky, vermouth, cherry liqueur, Mr Black coffee liquor and chocolate bitters), Norwegian Wood (Brockmans gin, Japanese liqueur umeshu and cacao bianco) or Emerald City (No3 gin, Fleur de Sureau, Green Chartreuses, simple syrup, lime juice and apple juice).
During the day, The Library also doubles as a vintage afternoon tea parlour. From Friday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm, tuck into two silver service courses of mini loaf sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes all created on site. There are champagne upgrades and unlimited Rare Tea Company teas to enjoy too.
The Library is a lively intimate environment and as such spaces are limited. For that reason, priority bookings are given to Mugshot customers (especially on weekends), but they will try to accommodate everyone. You can book a meal at Mugshot here here and book your pre-or post-dinner drinks at The Library here.