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The Square Club

The Square Club

The Square Club says:

Bristol’s original Private Member’s Club in Clifton. There is nothing stuffy about this club however, with eccentric décor in the Lounge, contemporary artwork throughout the building and the stylish Lower Deck Cocktail bar providing the perfect setting to mix with Bristol’s finest. With a range of events from networking to jazz nights, open to non members also, The Square Club is an interesting and unique venue for a night out or private party. Guest may also wish to sample our award winning menu in The Square Kitchen, winner of 2 AA rosettes and home to the best Sunday Roasts in Bristol! Don’t forget about our Terrace, tucked away from the hustle and bustle, the perfect hideaway to enjoy a few after work cocktails or drinks on hazy summer days.

Social and Cocktail says:

The Square Club is not, in fact, a club, but is the only entirely private members bar in Bristol. Housed in a luxurious hotel on Berkeley Square, it seems to be geared towards the networking professionals of Bristol.

After an email back and forth and a bit of pleading I managed to arrange a visit as a non-member. As I wasn’t paying the £50 per quarter membership fee and not wishing to affect the service received by the members, I had wanted to visit on a quieter night, so decided to go on a Wednesday evening. I had high hopes of the atmosphere as my walk to The Square showed town to be bustling with mid-week revellers. Unfortunately, after discovering I wasn’t on the guest list, and having to bring out the email confirmation I had received from the General Manager, it turned that we were the only guests.

However, the quirky decor with its curtained off areas and varying floor levels counteracted the feeling of being in an empty room so we were, in fact, quite comfortable. Along with the eclectic decoration there was a projector playing a film of Brick Lane onto the wall.

The slightly grubby looking cocktail menu was divided up into sections; original, classic, tiki (surprisingly, as there was nothing tiki about the place) and sparkling. I decided to start with an ‘original’ offering; the “Hive” (Gin, Honey Syrup, Lime, Fresh Ginger, Apple Juice) as I am a huge ginger fan. On the bar manager’s (Greg, formerly of All Star Lanes) recommendation the gin and honey was substituted for Wild Turkey honey flavoured Bourbon. The drink was served to our table with the largest apple fan I have ever seen. Unfortunately the impressiveness of the garnish didn’t follow through with the drink. It was nice, and well balanced, but somehow rather bland; tasting more of lime and apple than the bourbon and ginger I had hoped for.

I then decided to ask the bartender for a recommendation. After some questioning we decided to go for a twist on my favourite cocktail, the Negroni (Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Campari). The variation that was made was to substitute the house Gin for Gin Mare. While this did create a tasty, light and slightly floral drink (again beautifully presented), I had been hoping for something a little more adventurous and further from the original, rather than what was still, entirely, a Negroni. While this was being mixed we decided to take a look at the terraced garden, having heard many good things. It was lovely, with fairy lights all around the edge. The sort of place one could happily spend a summers evening.

All in all, there’s some slight preponderance of style over substance – if the substance you want is an innovative drinking experience. However for a reasonably priced evening in stylish surroundings, this would be a place to consider.

Annie Mason



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