We here at What’s Up Winchester like a drink. We like beer that is cold, we like ale that is room temperature, we like cocktails – classic and fancy, we like wine. We like all the wine. So we’ve invested some time in deciding our favourite places to have a drink. Caveat here is that we’re not talking pubs here (though one has snuck in), but places for slightly more special drinks. So here are our top five…
Cabinet Rooms, Jewry Street
Run by the lovely chaps who put on Winchester Cocktail Week and Ginchester, Cabinet Rooms on Jewry Street is a place to visit when you are not in a rush. The menu deserves time to peruse, you’ll want to discuss which exact brand of spirit you want and then you’ll want to spend time over an expertly crafted classic cocktail. I have two classic cocktails I always go to – a dry gin martini, (slightly dirty with one extra olive if you were wondering) and then a Manhattan. Cabinet Rooms does both of these to perfection. The decor is classy with a touch of humour and downstairs is really cosy – they’ve worked beautifully with the light here. This place is pure class.
Incognito, The Broadway
If you are looking for some theatre with your drinks, book yourself a table at Incognito. This is really a hidden gem – you would have no idea if you were queuing for a bus outside of the magic going on in there. As you arrive there is an unassuming door with a curtain across and then suddenly you are in a dark tavern. Candles at tables, mix of leather couches and table chairs. The menu lets you know you are in for entertainment – it’s a great read. You might even be a little overwhelmed with the choice. But fear not, no choice will have you missing out. Each cocktail has been beautifully designed not just in flavour, but to give you a thrill – expect smoke, fog or fire. Make sure you make a reservation – I’ve been turned away more than once!
Overdraft, Jewry Street
Do you like beer, ale or cider? Yeah you do. Then get down to Overdraft on Jewry St. With a regular changing selection of drinks, there will always be something new for you to try. The lovely people behind the bar will be happy to let you sample and give recommendations. There’s an upstairs, ground floor and some seats outside. I’ve been here during the day, after work and in the evening and it’s always a good atmosphere. No snobbery, friendly clientele, nice staff. These guys also do fantastic food – chicken wings, tacos, nachos and oh em gee the macaroni cheese. They also have great DJs on in the evenings. Whenever I am in I am constantly Shazaming the tracks.
Proudfoot & co, St Thomas Street
Recently opened on the beautiful St Thomas Street, Proudfoot is something completely different – this place is all about perfectly sourced ingredients. This is a great place to go if you are looking for somewhere to go when you want something interesting, but you don’t want a hangover – everything is alcohol free. Opened to bring life to the old style refreshment rooms – serving up interesting and rare concoctions while being a gathering point for talk. We’ve visited a few times now and have found something different each time as well as a warm welcome. Oh and try the malt loaf…yum!
Gin Bar at Black Boy, Wharf Hill
Friday and Saturday evenings from 7pm, this classic pub open up their gin bar. They have such a large selection and I think even I haven’t tried all their different gins on offer! What I also like about this is their pairing suggestions with tonic waters -however many years ago that I started drinking gin and tonics, it was always Schweppes Light Tonic as the only option, but now there is a great variety of tonic waters out there. All this situated in the always fun Black Boy Pub so any non gin drinkers can get their beer fix.