While the city is lauded for its eighteenth-century architecture, there’s another remnant of the Georgian era that also demands celebrating in Bath - gin! During the Georgian era, Bath was gripped by the Gin Craze and now that stills are once again operating in the city 250 years on, there’s no stopping the gin renaissance.
If you’re looking for a hefty measure of ginspiration, here's our pick of the best gin bars and experiences in Bath.
Bath Gin Company
Tucked down a cobbled Georgian street in the city centre is The Canary Gin Bar, home of Bath Gin (who you can thank for bringing gin distilling back to Bath for the first time in over 250 years, after stills were closed due to the Gin Act in the eighteenth century).
Each week, the distillery creates a select gin list of new flavours alongside which its team of mixologists whip up inventive gin-based cocktails. Not enough gin for you? They also have a whopping 230 other gins on their shelves, each paired with their own unique mixer and garnish.
Mother’s ruin enthusiasts can learn all the booze-fuelled secrets of Bath Gin on a one-hour tasting experience and distillery tour (now located a short stroll from the Canary Gin Bar). Alternatively, perfect your own Bath Gin tipple in one of their cocktail masterclasses.
Milsom Place’s octagon-shaped building began life as a fashionable private chapel for Georgian high society and can count Jane Austen and William Herschel (discoverer of Uranus) among its many distinguished visitors.
Now in the hands of national chain The Botanist, upstairs is a bright, airy restaurant and bar where people come to brunch and expert bartenders whip up a whole host of gin cocktails. It’s here you can book onto a 90-minute group gin tasting masterclass to discover the origins and history of the spirit and learn to identify the unique flavours and botanicals in every bottle.
Beneath @ The Botanist
For something a little more mysterious, head underground to The Botanist’s (evil) sister bar. Amid the stone tunnels and rocky arches of the old vaults is ‘Beneath’, a medieval apothecary-style watering hole serving curious elixirs and stunningly crafted cocktails.
If you’d like to mix and muddle like a master apothecarist, Beneath offers cocktail classes for private parties and events in Bath.
Set over three floors of a swish Georgian townhouse, Sub 13 has gained a reputation as one of the coolest places to drink in Bath. Make your way to the ground floor for a serious gin fix – here you’ll find The Gin Bar, dedicated to G&Ts with a twist, served in a balloon glass. And the best part? They’re 2-for-1 all night. Take your tipple onto the twinkly lit terrace, try a cocktail in Bar Two or carry the party on in the club below.
For those that want to get clued up on the wonders of England’s national spirit, you can book a one-hour gin masterclass with the Sub 13 experts.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa
A luxury hotel with many glittering hospitality accolades under its belt, The Gainsborough Bar is not your average hotel bar. With a stellar collection of artisan gins and craft spirits, plus expert bartenders adept at curating bespoke concoctions, it’s a drinking destination in its own right.
ArtBar at Abbey Hotel
The quirky interior of ArtBar at the Abbey Hotel was inspired by an artist’s studio. Wine glasses dangle from the ceiling and an ever-changing, expertly curated collection of art supporting local artists and charities graces the walls. Apparently there are 64 gin and tonic combinations to tempt your tastebuds!
No.15 Great Pulteney
Hidden within luxurious boutique hotel No.15 Great Pulteney, on one of Bath’s grandest streets, Bar 15 is a peaceful cocktail spot. Swizzling and shaking the best British spirits, liqueurs, shrubs, syrups, brews and bitters, their bar staff mix all kinds of scrummy cocktails. Their gin selection is particularly impressive and features all the usual classics as well as local tipples.
Gin High Tea at Circo
*Circo Bar is currently unable to offer Gin High Tea due to Covid-19*
G and Tea? Elevate your classic afternoon tea experience by swapping your regular brew with gin at Circo. Discover more about the juniper drink’s history while tucking into sweet and savoury afternoon tea treats and sip gin (steeped by your own fair hand) from teapot and teacups. Gin High Tea lessons last around two hours and include four gins, food and a dedicated expert to impart gin wisdom.
Bath Botanical Gin Distillery
Based in Widcombe, this charming craft gin distillery is laid out like an old Apothecary shop, dispensing artfully arranged gin bottles and intriguing jars of coloured liquids – seasonal fruit gins, cocktail bitters and herbal elixirs.
Qualified medical herbalist Sue Mullett is the mixologist behind Bath Botanicals and her No.1 Gin is concocted using her knowledge of plant flavours and historic flower and herb-based remedies. Created in-store in a gleaming copper still, all ingredients are locally sourced, organic, biodynamic and hand-picked (where possible), including lime flowers from Bath, which give this gin a fragrant West Country flavour.
If you’d like to sample this gin for yourself, tastings can be arranged on Mondays and Tuesdays. They also offer private group gin tastings after business hours, or you can book them for a private event.
Still Sisters Gin, Frome
A relatively new addition to the local gin scene, this award-winning London Dry Gin is created by two sisters using locally sourced botanicals from family businesses and rustled up in their bespoke copper still, ‘Storm’.
The mistress distillers, Hannah and Tori, offer a veritable gin paradise at their micro-distillery, where visitors can book a simple gin tasting, or choose from tapas, afternoon tea or cheese and charcuterie boards to enjoy with their gin.
Want an at-home gin fix? Sweet Drinks can help with that. These lovers of all things local, botanical and drinkable showcase wonderful West Country drinks, including a fine selection of gins. Stock up from their online shop, or let them organise a bespoke virtual tasting experience for you and your fellow gin enthusiasts.