A dark room with a bar, tables and chairs

Crying Wolf, Bristol: cocktail bar review

Try rum espresso, cardamom and orange syrup, and on-trend milk punch at this sultry Bristol bar

Crying Wolf in a nutshell: Hip neighbourhood bar serving on-trend cocktails made with homemade and local ingredients.

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Where is it? Cotham Hill, Bristol


What’s the vibe?

It’s a brooding, low-lit bar with chic contemporary touches – from an inky colour palette to offbeat antler light fixtures – set over two floors in pleasant, quirky Cotham. Sister boozer to The Dark Horse in Bath, it has benefited from the input of impossibly cool local contributors and creatives. Check out more places to eat and drink in Bristol here.

A dark room with a bar, tables and chairs
Crying Wolf’s low-lit interior

What’s the drinks menu like?

It’s split into sections for cocktails, wines, spirits and liqueurs (including plenty of English ones, such as Cornish pastis and Wiltshire limoncello). With its sister bar’s benchmark of acclaimed mixology to live up to, the Crying Wolf crew have thought outside the box to come up with concoctions such as Stone Fence (Somerset ice cider, Four Roses small-batch bourbon, fresh lemon, demerara and cider) and a milk punch called Ocean of Storms comprising rum, cognac, pineapple and cardamom syrup, green tea, fresh lime and à la mode clarified milk (where the dairy solids have been removed from the white stuff, leaving behind a clear liquid that retains the creamy character of milk).

Everything, from vanilla and quinine syrup to cardamom and orange sherbet and various cordials, is made by hand, and thought has gone into the non-alcoholic offering, too – typical options include apple with mint or honey, lime and ginger, with bespoke mixes available. The list promises to get any juice (pink grapefruit, pineapple, red and green apple) on your table within 60 seconds of leaving the fruit. Get the stopwatch out.

A small glass full of liquid
Homemade ingredients and local brands are key to Crying Wolf’s cocktails. Photograph by Gareth Aldridge

Which cocktails to order?

Need a pick me up? Rouse yourself with rum espresso made using house-spiced spirit, or the punchy Shackleton, with its wee dram of Scotch whisky, ice cider, lemon, honey, beer and pine needle essence. If you want to go fresher and lighter, the Flare – dry sherry, sweet vermouth, apricot, peach and bittersweet Kamm & Sons – is a lower-ABV choice that makes for an excellent aperitif. Another gentle option is The Sea of Tranquillity – gin, sloe gin, orange and caraway sherbet, lemon, egg white, soda – which was subtly fruity.


Anything else? The soundtrack you’re sipping to comes courtesy of West Country musician, producer and Massive Attack collaborator Stew Jackson; design is down to hip Bristol collective Jacknife Studio.


Is there any food? There’s a bar snack menu that includes Buxton Butchers’ pork pies with local ale chutney.

Where to go nearby for dinner: Pasta Loco, right next door, for first-class carb-loading. Check out our review here.

olive tip: Owner Louis Lewis-Smith has installed a special ice room to house his four different ice machines – we like the giant ice balls best.

Price: Cocktails start from £9.

cryingwolf.co.uk

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Words by Amanda Nicholls