9 of the best cocktail bars in Suffolk
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From martinis by the river at Woodbridge to the signature Marquis Fizz at the Marquis in Upper Layham - where will you go for cocktails in Suffolk this weekend?
Here we bring you a run down of some of our favourite cocktail bars from around the county.
1.The Northgate, Bury St Edmunds
Average cocktail price: £10
Open: 11am to 10pm daily
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A restaurant with rooms – and a very slick, almost retro-style bar. Surely one of the most stylish in the whole of Suffolk? There’s standing room (if you want to watch the bartenders in their wizardry), or take a seat in the cocktail lounge or adjoining terrace. Chef Greig Young cooks up a storm in the kitchen, and his team also make some pretty special bar snacks – hello crispy fish with curry mayo and crispy capers. The drinks list is likely one of the most inventive you’ll see in the area, combining premium spirits with the bar’s own infusions. Try the Rhubarbarian (rhubarb vodka infusion, sweet vermouth hibiscus, orange and peach liqueur and raspberry vinegar), The Evergreen (mastika, black tea syrup, bourbon, oregano, lemonade and bitters), and The Bee’s Knees (Cambridge Dry, pisco, grapefruit, honey and Chatreuse). There are non-alcoholic cocktails too.
2. A Listers, Woodbridge
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Open: Daily 12noon until late
There’s a real buzz in the evenings around this bar/restaurant attached to The Riverside cinema. Creative modern classics with a twist are served from the kitchen (think baked garlic chicken wings with truffle aioli and pan-fried seabass and lemongrass noodle bowl with garlic and chilli).
Classic cocktails such as mojitos, the St Germain, espresso martinis and margaritas feature alongside awesome shots made for sharing. It’s £4 for one, up to £26 for nine – from the Cranberry Cookie (Disaronno and cranberry), to the Kamikaze (vodka, Cointreau and lime).
There’s regular live music at weekends.
3. Nine Jars, Haverhill
Average cocktail price: £9
Open: 10am to 4pm every day except Sunday, then 6pm to 10.30pm Monday to Thursday and until Midnight Friday and Saturday
A family-run café, restaurant and cocktail bar with rooms – known for its ‘epic playlists’. Stop in for dinner, which takes you all over the world, packing in mango prawns, chimmichurri ribeye, Bloody Mary monkfish and more. Or just drop by to sample the cocktail menu. It’s Happy Hour every single day, with two for one on a selection of the drinks (Woo Woos and Blue Lagoons included). Or go for The Melon Baller (Midori, Blue Curacao and pineapple with crushed ice and watermelon), or the Jam Donut (Chambord, cream and vanilla ice cream).
4. K-Bar, Ipswich
Average cocktail price: £8.50
Open: Tuesday to Thursday 11am to 3pm and 5pm to 11pm, and until 1am Friday and Saturday
Awesome beats. Proper pizza. Craft beer. And cocktails. K-Bar has long been a go-to in Ipswich – not least because it’s one of the only bars in the town to have an outdoor space (perfect for those long summer evenings). A bumper cocktail list takes in sours, sweets, dessert, strong and fresh drinks. Alongside all the old favourites you have to try the Black Forest Souffle (Absolut Vanilla, Cherry Marnier, lemon, sugar, crème de cassis, blackberry jam, egg white and prosecco), and the Toblerone (Bailey’s, Kahlua, Frangelico, milk, honey, chocolate sauce and honeycomb). Who needs dessert?
5. Baskerville’s, Bury St Edmunds
Open: 8am to 4.30pm Tuesday to Thursday, until 10pm Friday and Saturday, and 11am to 2.30pm Sunday.
Formerly Moriarty’s, this was the town’s first vegan café/bar. Alongside plant-based food, Crude coffee and Novus teas, there is one of the kookiest, theatrical cocktail menus you’re likely to see in Suffolk. It’s pure magic. Pay £10 per person to book a table in the subterranean bar (taken off your final bill) and watch in awe as staff arrive with your drinks shrouded in foggy dry ice, concealed in books and clocks. A little piece of Wonderland. Baskerville’s has recently launched bottomless afternoon teas with teapot cocktails.
6. ICE, Rougham
Average cocktail price: £8
Open Thursday to Saturday 10am to 4pm and 5pm to 9pm, and 10am to 4pm Sundays
The team here are pleased to finally be open again following lockdown...and a devastating fire on the premises. Yes, it’s on an industrial estate, but don’t let that fool you because a table at this place (part of the Infusions group which supplies some of the UK’s top chefs) is highly sought-after – especially for brunch at the weekends.
Inside, it’s all ‘industrial chic’, ‘posh’ street food (mac and cheese, burgers steaks and loaded fries) and loads of premium spirits and cocktails which are, by the way, £15 for two or £11 for two mocktails. Check out the frozen strawberry daiquiri with coconut rum, fresh strawberries and lime, the Vanilla Mule (ginger, Ciroc French vanilla vodka and lime juice), and the Kentucky Cherry Coke (with Maraschino cherries and Buffalo Trace).
7. The Marquis, Upper Layham
Average cocktail price: £11
Open: Monday to Saturday 12noon to 11pm and Sunday 12noon to 10pm
If your idea of heaven is sitting outside on a sunny day with a cool drink, we can think of few places better than this luxurious restaurant with rooms near Hadleigh. As well as a dedicated bar area inside (with comfy sofas) there is a huge, elegant outside stepped terrace across multi levels, dropping away to a perfectly manicured lawn, and the river below. There is a very extensive wine and spirit list, and the cocktail menu puts the restaurant’s little twists on classics. The Marquis Fizz is made with their own pink gin and New Hall sparkling wine. Mojitos can be whipped up with strawberry, raspberry or dragon fruit. And the Marquis Peach Iced Tea fuses world award-winning Adnams Longshore vodka with the bar’s peach tea. Fancy something sweet? Check out the O’Leary’s Apple Crumble cocktail – the owner’s apple juice, cream, salted caramel vodka and Disaronno topped with crumbled shortbread.
8. King’s Lounge Bar at The Marlborough, Newmarket
Average cocktail price: £8.95
Open: Monday to Thursday 5pm until late, from 4pm Friday and Sunday, and from 3pm Saturday
Tuck into Wagyu burgers and wings alongside an impressive cocktail list at this bar in the home of British horseracing. They make a mean espresso martini and Aperol Spritz. Or go for the Cherry Cola (Amaretto, cherry brand, grenadine and cola), or the more-delicious-than-it-sounds, Dirty Bath Water (Southern Comfort, Amaretto, Blue Curacao, cranberry and pineapple).
9. Gastrono-me, Bury St Edmunds
Average cocktail price: £6.95 to £8.95
Open: 9am to 9.30pm daily and until 4pm Sunday
When normality eventually resumes, you’ll be able to book the Under the Table, underground karaoke venue here (complete with cocktail and beer vending machine) with up to around 20 of your mates. But, for now, why not stop in for something tempting from the café-bar menu (you have to try the molten lava cheese fries) and one of the drinks from the long cocktail list?
You can go ‘bottomless’ until 5pm with one main course for an additional £30, choosing tipples from the selected menu. Or go for one of the premium blends. A Bacon and Egg Martini perhaps (bacon infused bourbon with maple syrup, orange bitters and egg white), or the Bahama Mama (rum, Southern Comfort and tropical juice).