Looking for the best cocktail bars in York? Then you have come to just the right place! We have put together a list of the 15 best York cocktail bars that you must visit. Whether you’re a fan of the classics or like to try something different every time – there is a cocktail bar in York to suit every taste.
While the historic city of York isn’t exactly notorious for its nightlife, it is packed full of brilliant cocktail bars that won’t leave you feeling disappointed. Being a quintessentially English cathedral city, York is much better known for its rustic pubs than its fashionable cocktail bars. However, you don’t have to look too hard to find skilled mixologists shaking up delicious concoctions in bustling bars all across the city centre. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and discover the 15 best cocktail bars in York in 2021.
The 12 Best Places to Have Cocktails in York 2021:
Where: 3 St. Helen’s Square YO1 8QN
Recently opened in York, this plush cocktail bar is located in the historical Terry’s of York building on St. Helen’s Square. Breathing a new lease of life into this magnificent property, Impossible is complete with a ground floor tea room, a brasserie serving Bavarian-inspired dishes and, of course, an opulent first-floor cocktail bar.
The intricately crafted central island bar is the perfect spot for concocting up some truly tantalising beverages. Within theatrical surroundings, this York cocktail bar serves up incredible drinks, including the Terry’s Orange Martini and the Mad Quacker – topped with a rubber duck. The bar area makes for the ideal place to sit back and sip some cocktails, complete with velvet booths, original wood panelling, a striking dome glass ceiling, antique gold details and a horse-shoe stage for entertainment.
Where: Malmaison, 2 Rougier St, YO90 1UU
Another new and very swish cocktail bar in York is the Sora Sky Bar, located in the Malmaison hotel. The Sky Bar is definitely one of the best cocktail bars in York with a view – situated on the seventh floor of the brand new hotel, you can sip cocktails against the backdrop of the city’s impressive skyline. Step inside and be welcomed by the sharp interiors, including monochrome decor, statement lighting, massive windows and stand-out accent fabrics.
While the hotel is impressive, it is the sky bar you have really come for. Take the golden lift up seven floors to the slick cocktail bar and take in the views looking across to York Minster. The menu doesn’t disappoint either, continuing with the bar’s Asian theme. Some of this bar’s signature cocktails include the Cherry Blossom Negroni, the Sesame Old Fashioned, the Coconut Espresso Martini and the Peach and Lychee Spritz, along with many more.
Where: 42 Stonegate, YO1 8AS
By far one of most beloved and best cocktail bars in York, Evil Eye offers something a little different to the usual suave and sophisticated cocktail bars of the city. Hidden behind their specialist gin shop lies this cocktail heaven where you will certainly be spoilt for choice. In fact, Evil Eye has a world record for the number of gins it stocks (over 1000). If that’s not reason alone to head down to this York cocktail bar, then surely the exciting menu will be.
The menu comprises a whole list of the best classics along with some very interesting Evil Eye creations. The drinks menu adds to all the fun of this trendy bar with some very unique (and slightly strange) cocktails, including the Apple Pie cocktail, the Black Cat, the Kick in the Head, the Peanut Butter & Jam and many more. Amongst the classics are Espresso Martinis, Cosmopolitans, Margaritas, Pina Coladas, White Russians to name just a few. All cocktails are creatively made using fresh ingredients, prepared by skilled and friendly staff. Enjoy your cocktail and get tipsy in the graffiti-splashed downstairs bar or in the Roman-style loungers upstairs. Described as ‘rough and ready’, the Evil Eye cocktail bar in York is the ideal spot to unwind and escape the bustling cobbled streets of the city centre.
Where: 1 Little Stonegate, YO1 8AX
Although better known for its delicious tapas, Sotano York also offers a fantastic selection of beautifully created cocktails – from novel creations to old favourites. During the day, it is more than easy to totally miss this bar – hidden behind a chunky metal door, Sotano is an intimate underground bar lit by candles. Long dining room-style tables beg visitors to socialise with strangers while on-tap brews flow from steel pipes and cocktails are shaken by smart bar tenders. Open brickwork, timber cladding and low lanterns give this artistic space a soft industrial feel and a relaxing ambience.
Sotanos really is a specialist bar, serving top-notch craft beers and lovingly crafted cocktails all night long. Of their new creations, why not try a Dirty Negroni, an Ancho Sour or an M.I.A? Alternatively, you might prefer to stick to what you know – opt for an old classic like a Queen Bee, a Viva la Vida or an Amaru. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed in this chill but stylish York cocktail bar.
Where: 39 Goodramgate, YO1 7LS
Fancy Hanks is a relatively new bar and kitchen-style restaurant on Goodramgate. This York restaurant and cocktail bar draws inspiration from two brothers’ travels through the 11 states of America’s deep South. The venue itself is immediately noticeable when you step inside, with welcoming soul-soothing music and a distinctive style created by female graffiti artist, Hazard. With its ultra laid-back feel, this is the perfect spot for chillin’ with a cocktail or two. They even have a cute outside space for summer evening cocktail sipping.
Bringing flavours all the way from the southern states of America, all the way to York, this cocktail bar has a cocktail on the menu representing all 11 states. They have the Pretty as a Peach for Georgia, the Charleston Fizz for South Carolina, the My My Apple Pie for Arkansas, The President for Virginia and all the rest to perfectly suit any taste. What really justifies Fancy Hanks being on the list of the best cocktail bars in York is that you can collect a cocktail stamp from every state and receive a free bottle of prosecco!
Where: 17-22 Fossgate, YO1 9TA
You cannot miss this beautiful, grand building down the infamous Fossgate, and the inside is arguably even more impressive. Taking residence within the huge space of York’s first purpose-built cinema – The Electric Theatre, the plush red furniture and low lighting is all very in keeping with the building’s roots. Cosy Club has lovingly restored this old building into a vintage-style cocktail bar, retaining their trademark cosy spaces within. The sleek bar stretches along the right hand side of the space and is lined with high stool seats, along with a more relaxed collection of 1930s sofas and chairs in the windows.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or just drinks with friends, this classy cocktail bar has a delicious selection of drinks to choose from. Try their Rhubarb & Elderflower Spritz, the Cosy Mimosa, Butter Toffee Old Fashioned, Vanilla Espresso Martini or Summer Sangria. This York cocktail bar even caters for the drivers of the group with an excellent array of mocktails, such as Cooling Lemonade and the Virgin Mary. So, go ahead and take your pick off the menu of one of the best cocktail bars in York.
Where: 54-56 Fossgate, YO1 9TF
Previously Sutlers, the Fossgate Tap is located at the very top of the street in an extensively redeveloped building in a fantastical quirky Edwardian style. The space boasts trendy shabby chic touches throughout, including the Edison bulb cage lights over the bar, tables repurposed from old machinery and, of course not forgetting the bowler hat lights. The ground floor is home to two levels – the first of which contains the loos, and the second of which hosts an impressively well-stocked bar. There is window seating by the bar, reaching all the way along to the small room at the top – so, although it’s always pretty busy, you can always find a little nook to settle into in this York cocktail bar.
Take a look at the menu and you will find a selection of cocktail classics with a twist. Be tempted by the Pinkstar Martini, the Blood Orange Negroni, the Cucumber Elderflower Collins or the Rum Old Fashioned. You can even book a gin masterclass to learn how to concoct your very own beverages.
Where: 3 Coffee Yard, YO1 8AR
Experience an array of unique cocktails at new cocktail bar, The Printer’s Apprentice. Located in Coffee Yard, just off Stonegate, this York bar used to be York’s oldest coffee shop which closed in 2018. Set across three floors, this cocktail bar even has a basement which is home to a snug and the original coffee roasting ovens. The ground floor is home to seating with a bar and stairs up to an open plan kitchen and dining area. The decor has clearly been thought about, with glass-topped tables showcasing original printer’s blocks and coffee beans, as well as wall art such as the red and black Printer’s Devil. This speaks to the fact that printer’s apprentices were referred to as ‘devils’ given that their skin was inevitably stained black from the ink they used in printing.
It will be difficult to choose from their sensational selection of cocktails – will it be the Lemon Drop, with fresh lemon, limoncello vodka and a meringue foam; or the Violet Moon, with Boe Violet Gin, Violet Liqueur and fresh lemon under a flavoured bubble; or maybe The Bohemian, with Bakewell Gin, elderflower liqueur and fresh grapefruit under a white chocolate foam.
Where: 2 St. Helen’s Square, YO1 8QP
Situated in the stunning St. Helen’s Square, this grand York cocktail bar is the perfect place for cocktails no matter what the occasion – whether it’s drinks with friends or a special occasion. With 1960s-themed cocktails set within a luxe ballroom-like space, you’ll never want to leave. The clean and tasteful decor is very in keeping with the classic Ivy look so it is recognisable wherever you go. This cocktail bar in York offers a relaxed but refined night on the town.
The Ivy cocktail bar combines an eclectic modern British menu with old school slick service. Menus are seasonal, combining the best in-season ingredients, and the drinks are no different. This season, you can try their ‘Bee Inspired’ collection of cocktails, a range of unusual but delicious drinks that celebrate ‘the best that British flora and fauna has to offer’. This selection consists of four limited edition cocktails, including the Ramsbury Apricot Fizz, the Bumblebee Garden, the Queen Bee’s Delight and the Mr. Blue Sky. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the more well-known cocktails with a twist – think Blood Orange Margarita, Salted Caramal Espresso Martini, Maple Spice Manhattan, Yuzu Negroni, Smoky Ginger Martini and many more.
Where: Skeldergate Bridge, YO1 9WJ
An independent family run business, Dyl’s is one of the best cocktail bars in York, set within an intimate, cosy but casual setting. Located inside the old Motor House on Skeldergate Bridge, this cocktail bar in York was formerly a toll booth that granted travellers access to the city. The small, rustic interior is perfect for snuggling up with a cocktail during the chillier months, while the large outdoor area, on the banks of the River Ouse is ideal for chilling on a summer evening. Climb the spiral staircase up to the hexagonal tower room where you can take a seat, sip a cocktail and look over the river views.
While Dyl’s is largely known as a spot for craft beers, it also does excellent cocktails that definitely give the pints a run for their money. With a huge selection to choose from, you will certainly be spoilt for choice. Perhaps you want a classic like the Aperol Spritz, the Espresso Martini or the Pimms. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not try one of Dyl’s special creations? You could opt for the Yorkshire Rose, a delicious mix of Finders fruits of the forest gin, rose lemonade and Prosecco; or the Dyl’s Garden, a concoction of Finders triple distilled vodka, fresh mint, fresh lime, elderflower and apple presse.
Where: 25 Fossgate, YO1 9TA
There’s lots to enjoy at Fossgate Social, including the bustling atmosphere, the cosy interiors and the superior cocktails. Inside this York cocktail bar, neon-lit walls are adorned with work by local artists, while rough wood and open brickwork add to it’s charm. Small but perfectly snug, this hip cocktail bar boasts a wonderfully friendly and social environment. The focus on ‘social’ really does come through with the enthusiastic staff and eclectic mix of art shows, live music and other events. Adding to the inside space, Fossgate Social has a little walled garden hidden behind the building, adorned with fairy lights.
While this bar definitely appeals to craft ale enthusiasts, it certainly has space for plenty of cocktail-drinkers too. This independent York bar is the perfect place to transition from day to night with it’s fantastic selection of craft beers on tap and it’s extensive cocktail menu, with both classic and brand new creations on offer. Claimed to have the best espresso martini in the city, so this is definitely not one that you want to miss.
Where: 5 Little Stonegate, YO1 8AX
Just steps away from the Shambles Market, Bobo Lobo is an incredibly stylish Latin-themed cocktail bar with a vibrant atmosphere and live DJs almost every night of the week. Fairly small and intimate but with both an indoor and outdoor space, this cocktail bar screams fun. The ideal spot for fresh and funky cocktails in a stylish and atmospheric environment.
Definitely the place to go for fancy cocktails, this York bar maintains that it serves the very best mojito in the entire city – having tried almost all of them, I can confirm that this is very good. Choose from a selection of house favourites, including Bobo’s Famous Zombie, a version of the classic tiki drink; the Witchdoctor, with dark rum, cognac, vanilla, watermelon syrups and pineapple; or the Banana Republic, the ‘adult’s version of a banana milkshake’. Not feeling too adventurous? Not to worry – you can opt for one of their ‘straight up classics’, including a raspberry martini, French martini, Porn Star martini or Cosmopolitan. This York cocktail bar even has a section dedicated to pineapple cocktails, such as Bobo’s famous pina colada, Club Tropicana and Copocabana Beach. So, get your hula skirt and your flower necklace on and get ready for a tiki-themed cocktail night.