1073 Cocktails and 238 Bars now listed
Share a romantic glass of wine over flickering candlelight, sip on decadent cocktails amongst friends, or sink into a deep armchair with a pint at Circo, Bath’s leading cocktail bar and lounge.
Named after its circular bar, Bath’s Circo cocktail bar and lounge is a chic blend of the old and new with classic panelled walls, luxurious velvet Chesterfield sofas and a cool palette of chic grey tones accented by dusky burnt orange highlights. Intimate and relaxed – one of Bath’s best secrets.
Circo Bar and Lounge is another of the subterranean bars in Bath that can be found underground, and is accessible by descending a winding iron staircase outside of the rather smart looking Halcyon Hotel. In warmer climes there is an al fresco seating area (very continental with its rickety seats and cobbled location just off the street), but since I visited in winter then I found myself heading down to the grotto-like foyer (watching my stilettos on the grated steps – I imagine many a tipsy lady has lost a shoe to this peril).
There are actually two ways to enter the bar, both presenting the visitor with sprawling leather couches and dim mood lighting. The ceilings are low and curved, suggesting an intimate atmosphere that is increased by the warm orange glow and relaxed but chic decor, with panelled walls and sun-burst mirrors that give the place a sense of stylish sophistication. There are also plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal – my friend and I headed to one of the low leather sofas adorned with plush cushions, and found ourselves practically reclining. So far, so comfy.
And what about the cocktails? The circular bar on the upper level lends Circo its name, but on the first visit we opted for the smaller service area in one of the warren-like rooms below. The drinks choice is very impressive – more a little booklet than an actual list, and for a while we were immersed in choosing between ‘Sours and Treats‘, ‘Circo Classics‘, ‘Cheeky Evening Starters‘ and ‘Coolers and Classics‘.
I’m always a sucker for a martini, and cucumber often makes for a refreshing palate cleanser. In the ‘Bartender’s Favourites‘ I spot a Wild Cucumber – this incorporates Hendricks (my favourite gin), elderflower cordial, Noilley Prat and muddled cucumber. The result is delicious – fresh, clean, and with just the right amount of sweetness from the elderflower. My glass is drained in a few minutes. My friend also goes for a Bartender’s Favourite, and decides on a slightly sweeter Willow Fizz. This uses elderflower too, but in the liquor form, and Southern Comfort, ginger ale and grapefruit bitters. The result is a little too sweet and fizzy for me, but my friend (who’s got a bit of a sugar fetish) assures me she adores it.
Next I decide to go big guns with one of the Circo House Cocktails, and choose their Thomas Mojito Royale. It’s described as using ‘The Finest Havana Club 7 Rum and Chase Elderflower Liqueur; mashed with limes, mint and hearty Demerara sugar, topped with Gaston Derichbourg N.V Brut Champagne.’ Apparently it is the only way a Mojito should be done in Bath… the Thomas way. My friend decides to pick a mojito from the ‘Latin Quarter‘ part of their menu – they have a fine selection, from a lemon and elderflower option (more elderflower! the slut of the liquor world?) or a black raspberry. Eventually she goes for the exotic and ‘decadent’ chilli and cacao variety, which includes Mount Gay Eclipse, Creme de Cacao Blanc and Tabasco.
Mojitos say a lot about a place – sometimes it’s best not to mess with a classic. In regards to her chilli choice I have to agree. Full marks on being adventurous, but I don’t like the Tabasco alongside the other ingredients. My Royale is superb though – all the qualities of a very decent mojito, with an added splash of bubbles. What girl couldn’t enjoy it? And at £11.50 (the most expensive we’ve tried so far) then it should be nice.
The next time we come is a weekend night, and we try the top bar. The vibe is completely different. Bar stools are propped around for those wanting to sit amongst the action, or there are nooks for couples and larger sprawling areas for groups. It attracts all kinds – students, parties, older business types – but if you want to be served fast and assured a seat then get there early. The bar staff are certainly capable and whizz around making drinks, although when it’s busy they can get rather frantic.
Circo caters to an eclectic mix, and with its huge variety of imaginative cocktails then there’s sure to be something to please everyone. If you fancy a roaring night with a group of friends and don’t mind waiting for drinks or standing up then try this place at a weekend – the crowd will put you in a good mood and it turns into a nightclub with a cramped, crowded and very sweaty dance floor below. Not so great for a date or for chilled catch ups, but if you go in the week then this becomes more possible. It’s a buzzing bar with assured staff and very tasty drinks; perfect for those wanting to be a bit social and meet friends, or simply turn up and make new ones.