As a belated celebration of a lovely friend of mine I have finally sampled the deliciousness that is the Milk Thistle – which I am sure will now become a bit of a favourite haunt for me. The ‘big brother’ of Hyde & Co in Berkley Square, this bar of four floors on the centre is the most recent addition to Bristol’s fabulous celebration of cocktails in a venue where you must ring a doorbell to be let in and people MUST be seated at tables. This is a joy from the usual crowding at bars and shouting for attention.
Now, transport yourself back to the 1920s where chaps dressed in their most dapper of attire and women were enrobed in flapper dresses and elaborate headwear. Well, this is what you feel should be the case when surrounded by the elaborate candlelit surroundings. Quirky little touches make this venue a joy of discovery. For example, as you enter (through a door where only the ‘Milk Thistle’ emblem gives this hidden bar away) you are greeted by a set of ‘House Rules’ on the door. My favourite of which were:
- Swearing, hooting, shouting or shrieking shall not be tolerated; there are other people here too
- Gentlemen will refrain from approaching ladies they are not previously acquainted with, unless of course they are invited to do so
For a girl who quite frankly sounds ridiculous when a swear word is emitted from my mouth and is instead trying to resurrect more old-fashioned terms such as ‘whoops-a-daisy’ and ‘fiddlesticks’, the first of these rules is joy to see! 😉 I have even introduced a swear pig at work to deter the potty mouths of my colleagues, which has raised quite a nice amount for buying treats for the office.
Candles sit in teacups and saucers on the tables…
Cocktail menus are hidden in old books; of which you imagine should be sat getting dusty in the library of a large mansion, read only in a deep red leather chair in front of a log fire… My imagination is somewhat running away with me.
The cocktails are also scrumptious, with each being passed around the table for a sample to the sounds of ‘Mmmms’ and ‘Oooooos’. As a gin and tonic fan, the personal favourite of mine was the ‘Milk Thistle Daisy’: Tanqueray Export Gin, lemon juice, spiced pear syrup, royally finished with fizz. One friend was far more adventurous, sampling various cocktails from the more alcoholic Club Style range such as ‘Turf Club’: Bols Genever, Martini Rosso, Byrrh, Angostura bitters.
Our waitress for the evening deserves a special mention. For one, she managed to bring over a drink that the most fussy of our party liked! After knowing this friend for 15 years I would struggle myself to choose something that I knew would go down well and her first attempt at something ‘Sweet and delicious’ went down a treat! Throughout the night she answered any questions on the more unknown of the ingredients within the cocktails; the stories and background to these cocktails were told with both knowledge and passion. Her excitement for trying something new meant most of our party started to allow her to choose drinks for us and ignored the menu. Impeccable service throughout, going far beyond any expectations.
For non-cocktail fans, The Milk Thistle also serves a wide range of Wines, Beers, Stouts and Porter! There is also a small selection of bar snacks to soak up the alcoholic affair. I will also be keeping an eye out on their upcoming events. For example, The Milk Thistle Gin Club – Once a month a person of stature, knowledge and prestige will be invited to talk and answer questions concerning a style or expression of gin.YES PLEASE!!!!!
I will now be working on coming up with occassions and excuses for more visits. Think I can use my persuading skills to swap the usual after work pub to After Work Cocktail Hours…?