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10 great bars that won’t break the bank

Joshua Atkins shares 10 great bars to enjoy a drink in which won’t cost you the Earth.

If, like us, you’re partial to a leisurely evening working your way through a drinks menu with good company, but are balking at prices which really don’t reflect these austere times, then you are in luck. Some of the swankiest bars with the most delicious drinks are offering all sorts of deals and all you have to do is look a bit off the beaten track. Here we bring you our list of 10 great bars that won’t break the bank.

London Cocktail Club – London

With two bars now open, one on Goodge Street and the other tucked away on the edge of Soho up Shaftesbury Avenue, the London Cocktail Club is one of my personal favourites for a leisurely drink after work. With some seriously high-quality cocktails and the well-stocked bar that goes with them, these two fantastic venues are rapidly growing in popularity. The team there are really accommodating, providing off-menu drinks, and they do everything that they can to make your evening special.

The London Cocktail Club is open at Goodge Street and Shaftesbury Avenue. Happy hour is Mon-Sat 4:30-7pm. Drinks start at around £4 and cocktails at £7.

London Cocktail Club mixologists at work

London Cocktail Club mixologists at work

Lush – Cardiff

Just a short jaunt from Cardiff Central is this lovely, understated bar, perfect for cocktails or a relaxed drink after work. The music is selective but mainstream, reflecting the bar’s atmosphere which appeals to most people. The drinks menu is very generous whilst being reasonably priced and as it’s open all evening every night of the week, Lush is the sort of place where before you’ve realised, it’s closing time.

Lush is open on Caroline Street and has a range of deals throughout the week.

The Old House – Sheffield

Tucked away at the Devonshire Green end of Division Street, the innocuous-looking Old House is an old haunt of ours. Growing in popularity in part due to the comfortable atmosphere and its incredibly generous happy hour the Old House has managed to retain its charm and originality. Its high quality and reasonably priced food is another pull, with mains at around £7, served pretty much all day. It’s the perfect place to take that special someone or to start a night.

The Old House is on Division Street and has happy hour between 5-9pm on weekdays as well as other deals on the weekend, cocktails start at around £5.

New Bloomsbury Set – London

More-or-less equidistant between Russell Square and Kings Cross St Pancras stations, and ensconced in a vaulted basement, the New Bloomsbury Set is central without being Soho. With serious attention to detail paid to everything from the decor and furnishings to the drinks themselves, it’s a lovely place to spend an evening and with their happy hour, it certainly won’t break the bank.

The New Bloomsbury Set is on Marchmont Street and runs an early bird offer from 4-7pm daily.

The beautifully appointed New Bloomsbury Set

The beautifully appointed New Bloomsbury Set

Powder Keg Diplomacy – London

An eclectic mix of colonial, Victorian and industrial design, and in easy reach of Clapham Junction, this is one of South West London’s best offerings. Between the attentive staff and a pleasant clientele there’s a genuinely friendly atmosphere which perfectly complements a fantastic selection of food and drink.

Powder Keg Diplomacy is on St John’s Hill and has a reasonably priced drinks menu throughout the week.

The Lost & Found – Birmingham

A tasteful conversion in a grade two listed building up on Bennett’s Hill, this whimsical bar and restaurant is, in line with its name, filled to the rafters with bizarre paraphernalia. Serving delicious British classics throughout the day and offering some fantastic cocktails and drinks, all with their unique twist, the Lost & Found gives a real break from the mainstream. Perfect for the morning after a heavy night down Hurst Street is Hettie’s £5 Breakfast Club, which serves up reasonably priced and delicious fried goodness.

The Lost & Found is on Bennett’s Hill and has reasonably priced drinks throughout the week as well as numerous events.

The decadently decorated Lost & Found

The decadently decorated Lost & Found

Milk – Reading

A fantastic independent bar in Reading and “the last hoorah before the robots take over”, Milk’s excellent selection of rums makes this a real hidden gem in the heart of the midlands. Milk’s signature drink, a tumbler of milk with rum, sugar and nutmeg, dates from the 1800s and sits perfectly with the live music, comedians, spoken word and some fantastic in-house and visiting DJs.

Milk is at Merchants Place and has reasonable priced drinks throughout the week.

Retro Bar – London

Any bar which claims a perpetual happy hour and provides a welcome escape from central London’s stratospheric prices should, you’d think, be phenomenally popular. Whilst Retro Bar is increasingly well-known to many Soho regulars, its secluded location has meant that it’s comparatively unknown to outsiders, with many of the Old Compton Street bars stealing the London limelight. It’s thanks to being the great music and really reasonably prices drinks that Retro Bar attracts such a fun, welcoming crowd.

Retro Bar is down St George’s Court, and has reasonably-priced drinks throughout the week as well as numerous deals including their well-known double-up-for-£1 offer.

Charles Street Bar – Brighton

After opening five years ago, the Charles Street Bar has established its niche in Brighton’s bustling gay scene. A bar/cafe/restaurant combination, it has become the perfect place to go for that quiet drink which always ends up as a wild night. Linked with Envy upstairs, it has plenty more offers than just the happy hour to attract a really broad range of people, guaranteeing a fantastic night.

Charles Street Bar is on Charles Street and has after-work drinks deals from 5-9pm throughout the week.

TriBeCa – Manchester

Just across the water from Canal Street, TriBeCa has gained a reputation as a great place to spend a night. Drawing its inspiration for everything (from the name and layout to the menu and decor) from New York, you get the best of Manhattan for a fraction of the price. It’s a really versatile venue with some really accommodating staff who can help you whether you’re out for a date or for a party. On the weekend, thanks to subtle changes in the lighting and music, it slowly transforms from a chilled-out bar into a fantastic club, with great music from the in-house and visiting DJs.

TriBeCa is on Sackville Street and has drinks offers throughout the week and on the weekend including their ‘all drinks for £2.50 Sunday – Thursday’ offer.



1 Comment

  1. Carol

    9 Jul 2013 at 13:58

    Have you actually been to TriBeCa,

    You’re review of the place is laughable!

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