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Written by Luke Bull - 09 October 2023

Bristol's 5 best secret bars

Secret bars are a bit of a misnomer. Bristol's 'hidden' drinking holes hide themselves away behind an increasingly convoluted labyrinth of false doors, misleading facades and secret knocks. The aim, of course, is to become as well known as possible, having the city's bar-seeking masses flock to their premises.

The innate contradiction of the 'secret bar' does not, however, make them any less worth the visit. In fact, some of the best bars in Bristol are hidden ones, and the drinks they offer are well worth the often ludicrous lengths you must go through to be granted access.

We've collected a few of our favourites below.

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Bristol secret bar blame gloria
Bristol secret bar blame gloria

1. ​​Sip on your favourite tipple and party the night away at Blame Gloria


Gloria was (and still is) known for throwing the wildest parties and crafting the best drinks – including her famous Flaming Zombie cocktail which David Bowie claimed was like drinking rock in a glass.

Located in Bristol City Centre, Blame Gloria’s striking floral exterior gives you just a taste of what to expect inside. This secret, underground bar, illuminated by neon lights, offers a carefully curated cocktail menu and a playlist guaranteed to get you dancing and singing along by the end of the night.

The bar hosts a number of cool events, including ABBA and Power Ballads-themed bottomless brunches, perfect for all celebrations and get-togethers.

Milk thistle bristol secret bar
Milk thistle bristol secret bar

2. Hidden in plain sight, The Milk Thistle in Bristol is a prohibition-style secret cocktail bar


With a reputation for some of the best drinks in Bristol, The Milk Thistle is a prohibition-style bar perfect for any occasion - including casual drinks, decadent dinner parties, or cocktail and spirit masterclasses.

Hidden in plain sight, this secret speakeasy bar is spread across four floors in one of the most spectacular historic buildings in Bristol’s city centre. The Milk Thistle is a haven of stunning architecture, eclectic décor, and award-winning cocktails.

The relaxed atmosphere and exceptional drinks, combined with top-notch service from some of Bristol’s best bartenders, make The Milk Thistle a great bar if you’re searching for a secret hideaway.

the library bristol secret bar
the library bristol secret bar

3. The Library is a must for anyone visiting Bristol


Bristol is full of hidden gems, but this bar may just be the most mysterious and secret of them all. From the outside, this bar looks like an antique bookshop, but The Library is a secret 1920s-inspired cocktail bar. Think dark academia – oozing sophistication with dark wood-panelled walls, brass features, and low-lit lamps.

To enter the bar, visitors must ring a bell to be let in and then find the secret entrance behind a bookcase brimming with hardback books.

The Library is an exciting bar to visit for some pre/post-dinner cocktails, or for a quiet few drinks with friends.

Cosies birstol secret bar
Cosies birstol secret bar

4. Cosies!: Bristol’s best kept secret


On Portland Square, head downstairs to find one of Bristol’s livelier secret bars: Cosies!

Set in former wine cellars, Cosies! is a top choice if you’re looking to dance the night away under neon lights to DJ tracks that are amplified by the brick-vaulted underground setting.

Favouring reggae and dub tunes, the bar has become a huge name on the Bristol nightlife scene with its knack for hosting huge DJ names, particularly among students and fans of Bristol’s underground music scene, despite its secret location.

Entry is usually under a fiver and the busy bar goes late, it’s never a quiet night at Cosies!

Her majesty's birstol secret bar
Her majesty's birstol secret bar

5. Her Majesty’s Secret Service cocktail bar is a James Bond inspired drinking den with entrance via a classic British telephone box, serving up creative cocktails.


Hidden behind what might look like a plain black door tucked away down a lane towards Clifton Down train station, lies a secret, James Bond-inspired cocktail bar.

Decked with Union Jack pillows, leather sofas, an old-fashioned piano, and low-lit lamps, Her Majesty’s Secret Service offers a cosy yet sophisticated vibe in an old-school speakeasy style setting.

As well as celebrating all things James Bond, the bar also loves to celebrate cocktails. Serving up a carefully curated selection of delicious cocktails with occasional outrageous – but unpretentious – twist, with all the classics available too, of course.

More of the best secret bars in Bristol

Thinking of hiring a bar for your next event? Great idea. Bristol is known for its secret bars. From busy speakeasies and underground cocktail bars with world-class mixologists to quiet and mysterious bars, we've got every type of bar in Bristol for you to browse and book. Stay in the know and have a look at these top Bristol hidden bar venues. Alternatively, tell us exactly what you need and we'll make sure the very best Bristol venues respond to your enquiry.

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How to hire a secret bar in Bristol

We know that finding a venue the old-fashioned way (where you trawl the internet, contact 10 venues or set your heart on one, only to find that they're out of your price range and not even available on your dates) is a pain, and there are a few pitfalls between you and book your perfect secret bar. Getting the venue-finding process down to professional art is what we’ve made our mission ever since we took on the events industry. We often get asked the same questions, so here's what we recommend to quickly and easily hire a space in Bristol.

Frequently asked questions

For secret bars in Bristol, you're spoilt for choice. Here are a few extra special ones that we vouch for:

The Lost & Found Birmingham – Enter into a whimsical world of botanical cocktails and floral decor that creates a beautiful hideaway. This venue is located in the heart of the city and serves delicious food and playful drinks.

The Botanist Bar & Restaurant Birmingham – If you are looking for a friendly bar and restaurant that delivers a fun experience with yummy cocktails, Sunday roasts and live music all at your fingertips.

There really is no one answer to this question: so many variables come into play when understanding the cost of exclusive hire of secret bars. How many guests are you planning for? Is the venue for the day, an afternoon, or the night? The good news is that you can find a venue for pretty much any budget (okay, almost any budget). Instead of letting the venue dictate the price, our advice is to be proactive and set a budget that you feel comfortable with – this way the right venues can reach out to you through HeadBox.

There are lots of ways to book a Bristol secret bar. You can do the old-fashioned thing and pick up the phone, or email the venue directly. Unfortunately, lots of venues are busy and may not get back to you in time. That's where we come in. Give us your enquiry and we'll reach out to the best secret bars in Bristol and let you enjoy your free time. Easy.

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