52 Upper Belgrave Road, Bristol, Clifton BS8 2XP
0117 946 6081
Widely acknowledged as one of the top bars in the UK (The Times, Guardian, etc). Voted second best bar in the UK at the Class Bar Awards in 2010. Relaxed, laid back (cocktail) bar. Table service. Old school bar for grown-ups.
Hidden up a hill, down some stairs and behind a locked door, finding this elegant bar can sometimes pose a challenge, but it is well worth taking the time.
Sitting on one of the many bar stools under the watchful gaze of a photograph of the owners grandfather, one really gets the feeling that this independently owned bar is a labour of love. The secret compartments, the infamous globe, the beautiful (if not slightly unnerving) original painting of a depressed teddy bear; show an attention to detail that is continued by the drinks and service.
The cocktail menu is extensive, but well thought out, with a combination of original and classic cocktails, with a fairly clear nod to the bars spiritual father; Charles Schumann.
I wanted to start my evening with something of an aperitif, and as the bar manager Will Humphery was rather excited by the arrival of some new Absinthe pipes it would have seemed rude to have anything else. After talking me through their range of absinthes we selected the one that it was felt I would enjoy the most. It was poured into the bowl of the elegant vessel with a touch of sugar and crushed ice. The mouthpiece of the pipe then acts as a straw, making a drinking experience that is fun, simple, unique and tasty. I followed this with a classic cocktail from the ‘digestif’ section of their menu; the “Widows Kiss” (Calvados, Yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine, Bitters). While this drink was perfectly balanced, it packs a bit of a punch so I took my time. However, rather than this resulting in a warm drink, at various moments it was popped into the freezer while I left the bar, or the glass exchanged for a fresh one (also from the freezer) if I was nattering too much, resulting in a perfectly chilled drink for the duration. Having enjoyed myself so much, i decided to finish my night with something with a little sparkle to it. In the end I decided to go off menu and chose a Negroni Spagliato (a bittersweet and fresh cocktail, finished with prosecco). The bartender was happy to oblige, and I was blown away when he pulled out a vast block of almost perfectly clear ice, and hand cut a lump the size of my fist to place in my glass.
A real classic of a bar; the quality cocktails, relaxed ambience, and exceptional service combine to make Hausbar one of the best drinking establishments in the city.