Five of the best cocktail bars in and around St Albans
- Credit: The Makers Photography
Bored of football matches at the pub? Looking to switch it up for a more boujee night out to celebrate the Euros finishing? Look no further than our guide to some the best cocktail bars in St Albans and nearby. Because when life gives you limes, garnish your margarita.
1. Punchin Palooka, St Albans
From the team that brought you another great cocktail bar (Sucker Punch) Punchin Palooka serves 1920s inspired classic cocktails in a vibrant Great Gatsby decorated lounge bar. This new bar, located on Verulam Road, already has a reputation for excellent personal table service.
During lockdown Punchin Palooka made their cocktails available on Deliveroo and posted cocktails recipes on Instagram. Choose from the VIP area or a cosy outdoor area with heating and blankets, cleaned after every use to comply with Covid regulations.
Ordering off the menu is a fun and unmissable experience at this bar, as their Instagram description reads: ‘expect the unexpected’.
Opening times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (6-11pm), Friday (5pm-midnight), Saturday (4pm-midnight)
2. The Snug Bar, St Albans
Located a hop skip and a jump away from St Albans Cathedral this is the perfect cocktail bar when you don’t want the night to end. Great deals like 2 for £12 all day every day on selected cocktails.
The menu is nothing short of choice with the ability to upgrade your favourite cocktails with flavours like Tokyo, midori and triple sec for just 50p. The snug makes everything from the classics you will instantly recognise to the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ like ‘Unicorn Gin’ and ‘Party Juice’ to the intriguing ‘Disaronno Sour’.
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (12noon-12midnight), Thursday, Sunday (12pm-1am) Friday and Saturday (12noon-2am)
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3. The Yard, St Albans
Formerly the Gin Cave, relaunching in September 2020 The Yard, is located on Holywell Hill. From the people who brought you the Bishop’s Cave, the bar is situated in a Grade II listed building with a rotating selection of street food vendors.
Soak up the atmosphere with a cocktail in the outside seating area, many named as a tribute to quintessential St Albans locations. Sip a ‘Clarence Park’, made with elderflower gin, mint, cucumber, bitters and garden tonic. Seeing as you're on ‘Holywell’ Hill you might as well try their London dry gin, Italicus, dry sherry and grapefruit. Or dive into Worley Fountain: honey vodka, Lillet Blanc, violet liqueur and sparkling wine.
As well as a luxurious list of wine, small batch gins and a famous cheese and charcuterie selection, this venue is more than just a little backyard.
Opening times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (5pm-10:30pm), Friday, Saturday (12noon-10:30pm), Sunday (1pm-9pm)
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4. The Gatsby, Berkhamsted
Since reopening back in November 2005, The Gatsby has established itself as a classic modern European fine dining restaurant. An absolute centrepiece along Berkhamsted high street the Gatsby has become almost synonymous with Berkhamsted itself and that is likely down to the building's rich and interesting history.
Originally known as the Rex Cinema, thousands would flock to the pictures when its doors first opened in 1938. Opulent art decoration welcomed movie goers until the cinema closed 1988 due to dwindling audiences. With a proposal from property developer Nicholas King Holmes, Hanaway won the contract to restore the cinema interior and convert the foyer into a bar and restaurant.
The golden age of the Hollywood cinema experience was restored with the help of actor Bill Nighy contributing to the funds of the buildings as well as Dame Judi Dench making a guest appearance at the reopening.
The Gatsby offers a perfect environment to relax, drink, and think about hiring the resident pianist for your parent’s birthday party. And if you don’t believe me, The Gatsby website has a virtual tour of the building so you can plan your grand entrance with stunning accuracy.
Planning is key to stick to the smart dress code, but I’ll give you a few tips: no sportswear, smart footwear and hats must be taken off. There is also an over 21s policy after 6pm sorry kids.
With an extensive list of 20 cocktails to choose from such as ‘Lady Luck’, ‘Mexican Kiss’, ‘Mango Colada’ and the eponymous ‘The Great Gatsby’, the class and sophistication exuding from this corner of the High Street is enough to tempt any cocktail lover.
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (12noon-3pm, 5:30pm-9:30pm), Saturday, Sunday (12noon-9:30pm)
5. The Peahen, St Albans
Unbelievably a pub and a bar older than The Gatsby. The first mention of The Peahen is in 1480. Trading as a hotel it was a stopping point on the way to London for tourists and business folk. Sadly, the original building burnt down by the end of the 19th century and was rebuilt in its current form as the Peahen Hotel.
Located at the crossroads of London Road with St Albans and Holywell Hill. In 1936 McMullen & Sons Ltd came into possession of The Peahen and remarkably remain its custodians today.
A relaxed atmosphere bursting with character serving traditional cocktails with fresh ingredients. There are 13 different gins to choose from as well as a ‘Ginstitution’ cocktail selection, ‘Martini Club’, sours, classics and spritz.
Furthermore, if soup of the day is not for you why not try ‘Frozen Fix’ where The Peahen’s mixologists create different frozen cocktails each day!
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday (11am-11pm), Friday, Saturday (11pm-1am).