Looking for cocktail bars in York?
The magnificent city of York is steeped in history and bursting with all manner of brilliant things to see and do, including some of the best museums in Yorkshire. Whether you’re visiting for a day of sightseeing or making an entire weekend of it to ensure you fit in all the top attractions, you’ll undoubtedly have some truly memorable experiences. When visiting any city you’re unfamiliar with, it’s always good to know a little about its hospitality scene before you arrive, to save yourself from unnecessary disappointments.
York is home to a tremendous array of family-friendly restaurants, Italian restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and bakeries all varying considerably in price, quality and offering. There are fine-dining restaurants boasting top industry accolades, quirky independent cafes serving home-baked treats, traditional pubs that cook up sumptuous Sunday roasts and some utterly superb hotels offering afternoon tea.
In recent years, cocktail bars seem to have made a bit of a comeback. They’re popping up all over the place and we can’t get enough of them! Surprisingly, cocktails vary in quality just as much as food does and they are by no means cheap to drink! Spending £10 – £15 on one drink is a personal choice but when paying such prices most of us expect it to not only taste good but to be able to enjoy it in a venue that offers at least some kind of ambience.
There are numerous cocktail bars in York perfect for a cheeky midday Margherita, an evening of Strawberry Daquiris with friends or a cheeky bottomless brunch. To help you narrow down your choices and create that all-important city break itinerary, we’ve compiled this list of the best cocktail bars in York…
These are the best cocktail bars in York…
42 Stonegate, York YO1 8AS
Suitably situated on York’s oldest street, Evil Eye is a quirky little gin shop and cocktail bar boasting weird and wonderful decor and a huge cocktail menu.
In addition to all the timeless tipples like Cosmopolitans, Singapore Slings and Moscow Mules, you’ll find an extensive range of modern favourites plus plenty of their own unique creations. Every possible cocktail seems to be on offer here so expect to spend a considerable amount of time choosing if wishing to deviate from your usual cocktail order. Teetotalers are also well catered for at Evil Eye as there are an incredible twenty-six different mocktails to choose from.
If visiting Sunday to Thursday between 17:00 and 21:00, you can get any 2 of their £7.50 cocktails for just £13. We do love a happy hour!
From 8 pm on Thursdays, they also have an open mic night so you’ll get to enjoy the talents of local musicians whilst merrily sipping your way through the menu.
Swinegate Court East, York YO1 8AJ
Bora Bora is a vibrant cocktail bar which is small in size but big in character. It’s quite compact inside so not ideal for those seeking somewhere to spend a full evening with a large group of friends. They do have outdoor seating too so it’s a nice little spot to enjoy a Mojito or two on a sunny afternoon. It’s all about those holiday vibes at Bora Bora so expect fruity creations, reasonable prices and lively music. They only use fresh ingredients so the cocktails are great quality, especially considering they are far lower priced than many of the others on our list.
The vast majority of cocktails on their colourful menu are priced at £7 but you can also get most of them in a sharing jug. The jugs are priced at £25 and easily contain enough for a table of four. Evoke memories of beachside drinking with a jug of Sangria, get the party started with those super-popular Pornstar Martinis or opt for something a tad more sophisticated like a Kir Royale or a Bourbon-based Scarface cocktail.
Impossible Wonderbar and Tea Rooms
3 St Helen’s Square, York, United Kingdom, Y01 8QN
Impossible is housed in York’s iconic Terry’s Chocolate Orange building. The stunning Grade II listed building on St Helen’s Square is one of the most recognisable in the area with its Corinthian columns and elegant windows. The interiors are just as grand with ballroom-style drinking and dining areas and beautiful decor throughout.
Impossible doesn’t have the longest of cocktail menus but there’s certainly something on there to suit everyone. You’ll find classics like Mojitos, Bloody Marys and French Martinis as well as a number of their own unique creations.
Beautifully presented and often served with a quirky twist, the signature cocktails at Impossible are a must! The Terrys Twist (£9.95) pays homage to the building’s fascinating history and is comprised of York Chocolate and Orange Gin, Mozart Dark Chocolate Liquor, creme de cacao and, of course, Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Delicious! Those seeking something a fruiter will adore their dazzling Luna Eclipse (£9.95) cocktail.
5 Little Stonegate, York YO1 8AX
Bobo Lobo (or Bobo’s) has been one of the most popular cocktail bars in York for quite some time. Conveniently located in the heart of York city centre, it’s a quirky and fabulous venue offering the best of both worlds when it comes to cocktail drinking. Party the night away downstairs and enjoy colourful cocktails between boogies on the dancefloor or head upstairs where you’ll find a heated rooftop terrace offering laidback drinking and quality shisha.
Open 7 nights a week until 3 am, it’s one of the best party spots in York so perfect for birthdays, hen nights and other celebrations.
You’ll find plenty of boozy beverages here but this place is best known for two cocktail types in particular – fresh pineapple cocktails and a unique Skull Sharer. At Bobo’s, three of the cocktails on their eclectic menu, including Pina Coladas, are served in fresh pineapples. Perfect for those Instagram selfies! Those drinking or celebrating in a group of 4 – 6 people, should definitely order their signature Skull Sharer. Priced at £30, it’s a delicious combination of house rum, Malibu, cherry brandy, apple juice and pineapple juice served in a glass skull with flaming Tiki Fire.
Of course, like any good cocktail bar, Bobo’s has a happy hour offer. All day Sunday to Friday and until 6 pm on Saturdays, cocktails are 2 for £12. There are 9 different cocktails to choose from but you must order two of the same in order to qualify for the offer. They’re usually £9 each so it’s excellent value for money.
The Fossgate Social
25 Fossgate, York YO1 9TA
As the name suggests, The Fossgate Social can be found on Fossgate in York and it’s in good company with numerous independent foodie favourites as neighbours. This small but uber-trendy cafe bar is open 7 days a week for speciality coffee, craft beer and cocktails. An intimate but characterful venue, this proudly independent cafe bar is the ideal spot to enjoy a quiet cocktail or two after a tour of the city.
They also have a great beer garden to the rear and those who prefer a pint to a pornstar will no doubt adore the ever-changing selection of craft ales available behind their bar. Beers from breweries like North Brewing Co and the fabulous Bundobust feature regularly. Although the cocktails here are meant to be superb and packed with flavour rather than watered down by an excessive amount of ice, it’s the friendly staff and the overall ambience of The Fossgate Social which makes this one of the best cocktail bars in York.
Skeldergate Bridge, York YO1 9WJ
Situated inside York’s iconic Motor House on Skelergate Bridge is an excellent cafe bar serving contemporary menus of home-cooked food and a small selection of perfectly poured cocktails. Offering views of the River Ouse and the historic Clifford’s Tower, Dyls is a unique venue possessing charm in abundance.
The food here is meant to be delicious so if you’re popping in, we recommend pairing your cocktail with one of their generously filled toasties or a portion of their Fondue Fries. Skin-on french fries smothered in a rich cheese sauce and sprinkled with crispy bacon pieces would make a great accompaniment to your Aperol Spritz or classic Tom Collins. There are just five different cocktails available on their main menu but they always have a Cocktail of The Week too. Cocktails at Dyls are priced at £9-50 – £10.95.
Fancy Hank’s Bar & Kitchen
39 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LS
Hidden away in York’s historic Minster Quarter is an absolute gem of a venue. Fancy Hanks Bar & Kitchen offers flavours of the Deep South and was inspired by travels through the southern states of America undertaken by its founders. The food menu is bursting with tempting small plates and magnificent mains based around southern street food favourites. Expect to give in to temptation and order one of their authentically flavoured dishes, even if you don’t intend to eat! Fried Shrimp, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Loaded Pickles and many other equally tasty treats will help to soak up the generous amount of alcohol they put in their cocktails
Each of the creative cocktails at Fancy Hank’s was inspired by states of the Deep South. All except one are priced at £7 and options include the delicious sounding, Virginia-inspired ‘The President’ comprising peanut butter-infused bourbon, brown sugar, angostura bitters and maraschino syrup. Mmmm…
If you want to learn how to recreate your favourite then you can book a cocktail masterclass. These must be booked in groups of at least 6 people and cost £25 per person.
The 1906 Bar at The Grand
Station Rise, York YO1 6GD
If it’s a more classic setting you’re after then the 1906 Bar at The Grand Hotel will undoubtedly suit. Elegant interiors, top-notch service and a mouthwatering menu of delectable drinks await at one of the best hotel bars in York. Intimate. homely and oozing with sophisticated charm, it’s a gorgeous little spot at which to take the weight off your feet after a long day.
Being one of York’s finest and most romantic hotels, the drinks menu here is expectedly extensive and features everything from local ales and small-batch gins to premium whiskeys and champagne by the glass. The cocktails, however, are what most visit 1906 Bar to enjoy. Cocktails at 1906 Bar average around £15 each and there are plenty to choose from. Enjoy a classic cocktail in a classic setting by ordering a Dirty Martini or an Old Fashioned, experiment a little and choose one of their signature cocktails such as the Japanese gin and lychee liqueur-based Eastern Delight or satisfy that sweet tooth with a dessert cocktail like the Cherry Bakewell or the Strawberry Shortcake.
6 Stonegate, York YO1 8AS
We’d be shocked to discover you haven’t heard of the incredible Plush cafe already! This phenomenally pretty venue boasts an incredible reputation and its colourful interiors and equally colourful food and drink offerings are showcased on social media regularly by the region’s top influencers. Located on Stonegate, this family-run independent cafe bar has quite deservingly won numerous industry awards and accolades. At The Yorkshire Press, we love it when an independent gains recognition for individuality, honest hard work and ingenuity!
Boasting three individually themed dining rooms, a boutique shop crammed with quirky homeware items and a menu of Instagrammble dishes, it’s no wonder that Plush Cafe is rapidly becoming a city attraction in its own right.
The fun and funky cocktails at Plush Cafe are priced from £6.50 to £8.80 so not bad at all, especially considering how beautifully they are presented and the delightful setting they are served in. There isn’t a huge selection to choose from but there’s certainly something to suit all tastes. Wash down one of their brilliant brunches with a classic Mimosa, glam up your afternoon tea in York with a Rose Gold Prosecco or enjoy the dreamy blueberry and vanilla flavours of the Blue Sky Gin which is topped with a candyfloss cloud.
2 Micklegate, York YO1 6JG
Conveniently located just minutes away from the train station, Jalou is a relatively new addition to York’s thriving drinking and dining scene. Set in a former church, the interiors are a marvellous mishmash of old and new with original features, Parisian furnishings and ultra-modern neon lights. The first Jalou venue opened in Newcastle more than a decade ago and rapidly became one of the must-visit party spots in the city. The geordie hotspot now has a sister venue in York city centre so the people of Yorkshire can party the night away to sets by local DJs whilst working their way through a masterfully compiled cocktail menu.
Cocktails at Jalou York cost between £7.50 and £9.95. The menu is extensive and impressive with classic, contemporary and creative cocktails all on offer for under a tenner each. Daquiris, Mojitos and Martinis sit alongside a diverse range of highballs and some super sweet creations like the Kinder-inspired Bueno Surprise and the Insta-worthy Cookie Monster which combines chocolate cookie syrup with vanilla vodka, Baileys and whipped cream.
As with all our articles of this nature, we will be adding to this list over time. If one of your favourite cocktail bars in York hasn’t been featured and you think they deserve a spot, you can send your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!