A Christmas cocktail and make it snappy!
Whether it's a chocolate Espresso Martini or a Christmas Collins by a flickering fire you fancy, we've found fifteen places to order yourself a festive quaff around Devon.
Stacc, The Promenade, Ilfracombe
You might know Stacc as Ilfracombe’s patissier-extraordinaire but they whizz up a mean cocktail on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday 18th December is their birthday, and they’re celebrating with cocktails, cake (obvs) and a live DJ. They also do a 2-4-1 offer on their already very reasonable tipples, include Espresso Martini, eggnog and mulled wine, with a Pineapple Passion mocktail for the driver.
Southernhay House, Southernhay, Exeter
When you need to escape the city’s shopping throng, hive off to Southernhay’s indie hotel with its sophisticated bar and new Green Room for some liquid relief and a sharing plate of Christmas crostini. Choose from over twenty cocktail options, including their classic Your Way Martini with gin or vodka, stirred with Noilly Prat. Fancy something festive? How about Kylie’s Kiss, their original Exeter Pride cocktail with Exeter Gin, pomegranate, lemon and egg white.
Liberty Tea Parlour & Cocktail Bar, The Quay, Brixham
Book your seat in the Naughty Corner (it even has its own sign) at this newly-refurbed tea and cocktail parlour on Brixham’s quayside, where you can quaff on a choice of over 40 cocktails, including a Devon Bramble made with Plymouth Gin, or one of their 2 for £12, a spicy mulled wine or go the full bottomless brunch. Open every day until late.
The Crafty Beer Shop, Butchers Row, Barnstaple
Have you tried mulled gin yet? It’s the new mulled wine! In fact, it’s even better as even mulled wine haters like it. And Muddy award-winning Crafty’s have it on their Yuletide menu, along with their regular cheese, charcuterie and vegan mezzo sharing boards, G&Ts, organic wine and six Crafty beers on tap. Open late every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and do remember to book as they’re only small.
Gandy Street’s gorgeous little gin bar stocks over 130 gins on its apothecary-like shelves, and the impressive staff have a librarian-like knowledge of their their tipples. They’ve just launched three tempting festive cocktails (pictured), including a sloe gin with champagne, a Perry Como and a Mandarini Chocolatini with Christmas spice syrup, all £9.50.
Halulu Bar, The Seafront, Teignmouth
Halulu’s Christmas tent is back! It’s just as well as you wouldn’t want to be on their seaside terrace when the Beast from the East is blowing. But they’ve covered up for Christmas (unlike Muddy) with a heated fairy-lit grotto and heaters by which to drink your Tiki-inspired tipple.
We’re loving the velvet-upholstered vibe at Dartmouth’s hidden gem with jazz, cocktails, and a late licence on Fridays and Saturdays. Head to Hauley Street just off the Embankment to try their Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini. And doesn’t their Winter Mojito look mouth-watering? A Christmas twist on a cocktail classic.
Palm, Rolle Street, Exmouth
Quaff the night away in the Gatsby-esque sophistication of the new Palm bar overlooking Exmouth’s Strand, and where Monday to Thursday their cheeky cocktails are 2 for £14 until 7pm. But be warned – their signature Zombie is so strong it’s limited to just two per customer so you won’t be able to misbehave (too much). And for good news for fizz fans, Friday is 10% off sparkling and champagne.
The Treasury, Royal Parade, Plymouth
This beautiful cafe and restaurant in Plymouth’s historic former treasury has over 150 gins and over 35 cocktail choices behind their well-stocked bar (and their amazing spiced rum hot chocolate) so plenty for the connoisseur. They’ve just extended their happy hour to 12-7pm, every day plus, there’s a bottomless drinks menu, a gin club on the last Thursday of every month and the opportunity to reserve a roped-off VIP area for a private party complete with your own barman.
Dr Inks Curiosities, Exeter Quay
The quayside’s gorgeous little L-shaped bar, Dr Inks, is finally back open with a new look, which they describe as “Victorian with a hit of tropical disco and loads of attitude”, which seemingly translates as multi-coloured parrots on the Christmas tree, an idea which Muddy is definitely copying. Their originality doesn’t stop there, with their cocktails including the (18% cheaper for women) ‘Gender Pay Gap’, made with whisky, Campari and bitters. Their Myths Conceptions cocktail menu aims to debunk common booze myths, like ‘drinking gin makes you depressed’ and ‘port gives you a baaaad hangover’. And the doctor should know, shouldn’t he?.
The Small Bar, Nelson Road, Bideford
This Muddy Awards Finalist for Best Bar in 2021 may be small but their cocktail menu lives it large, with plenty of new ones coming on from the family-run team for Christmas, including the New York Sour, a bourbon-based sour with added depth from a red wine float, and a classic winter Grog, made with navy-strength rum. Table booking recommended.
Bar 62, Boutport Street, Barnstaple
Barnstaple’s go-to for pre-theatre and post-dinner drinks has over 40 house curated cocktails on the menu, and some originals for Crimbo. We like the sound of ‘North Meets South’ – muddled with Limoncello and Havana Rum, and one for chocoholics, Chocolate Espresso Martini which has a garnish of Terry’s choccy on the rim. Extra brownie points for their Cocktail Tree – a metal tree brought to the table holding a mixture of shot and wine glasses for nine people. For every one bought they promise to plant a tree across the world – and that’s the proper spirit of Christmas.
The Lounge at No5, Cathedral Green, Exeter
Once you’ve shopped till you dropped at the Cathedral Christmas Market (last day is Sat 18 December), it’s a short stagger to the stylish upstairs cocktail lounge at No5, where you can nestle contentedly among the cushions while nursing a restorative Bramble or two by the wood burner. Open from Wednesday to Saturday from 4pm
The Crabshell Inn, The Quay, Kingsbrdge
Need a hair of the dog, madam? For when a daytime tipple is medicinal, the thoughtful peeps at the Crabshell have just introduced their ‘Bloody Marvellous’, with the intention of perking us all up when we’re feeling fluffy. In what can only be described as a selfless act, they’ll be serving them up on New Year’s Day. With a side order of bacon butty, please.
The Botanist, Exeter
The Guildhall’s newest bar and restaurant isn’t just for hanging kebabs and burgers, oh no! Head to the rooftop for some atmospheric al fresco drinking with your Pornstar Martini. And don’t worry, you won’t freeze your mitts off. They’ve installed fire pits to keep you toasty while you knock back a Christmas Collins and a bird’s eye view of the city.