Much like the magical land of Narnia; if you’re planning a trip to The Milk Thistle, it’ll be a search for a secret doorway first. If you’re strolling down Colston Avenue, you surely won’t spot it (unless you already know it’s there, of course). The Milk Thistle seems to be one of Bristol’s best kept secrets, and it’s definitely worth uncovering. If you’re after somewhere a bit quirkier than your average bar then this is the place to be. Plus, if you like a little history with your evening drinks then hold on: a few hundred years ago, when the building was right on the harbourside, this was a merchant venturers’ headquarters! That’s where they’d store the good stuff.
Once inside you’ll be greeted by a well-dressed gentleman and sat down at your own table. It’s set up much like a restaurant - but without any food, just a menu of delicious cocktails. You’ll also be given a complimentary bottle of water served in an old whisky bottle – nice touch Thistle. The main bar area is fairly small (apparently it has a capacity of 65 people), but if you venture up or down the creaky, windy staircase there are a selection of other rooms available for hire. Each room adorned with its own fineries (and a fair amount of armchairs and sofas to relax in). It’s clear that this is a great venue for any event, and altogether can cater to 130 people. You don’t have to be here long before realising this place just oozes class. If you fancy busting out a ball gown or a three-piece suit, this’ll be the place to do it.
Music: Jazz, Lounge, Live
Dress Code: Smart/Casual/Fancy Dress
Train Station: Bristol Temple Meads
Address: The Milk Thistle, Quay Head House, Bristol, BS1 1EB
Stave Heart, Carlos Sultana; just a few of the amusing pun-names given to the cocktails here at Milk Thistle. And not only do these names give you a little chuckle, they taste great too! Expertly blended and utilising fresh ingredients to create some unique flavour combinations, you can really taste the quality in these drinks. The music here will definitely make you want to learn the Charleston or the foxtrot. In-keeping with the 1920s setting, the music here is mostly Jazz, but not just your bog-standard Jazz – they’re covers of modern pop in a quirky jazz style, e.g. Kesha’s ‘Timber’, Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’. For any musicians in the house there’s also a piano that’s welcome to be played by anyone, as long as they play to the room – well you’ve got to keep everyone involved!
With the era being set firmly in the early 1900s, just being in this place makes you feel like a 1920s rebel. Cool paintings of animals in formal clothing – plus taxidermied creatures (the best of which: a mongoose wearing sunglasses, I mean where else are you gonna find that!?). If you’re a lover of anything vintage then this place is paradise; old wooden tables and chairs, dusty books neatly tucked away, and even little china teacups as candleholders – very cute! Even the lighting fixtures look like old gas-lamps, casting the place in a dim, elegant light. Milk Thistle is definitely the perfect place for a classy date, or a nice drink before heading off to a fancy restaurant. Because everyone needs a cocktail before an evening of lobster and caviar, darling!
You won’t find Narnia once entering through this secret door – but you will find something better. A cosy bar with delicious drinks and plenty of interesting decor to catch your eye. Unfortunately there are no witches or wardrobes, or lions for that matter... But there is a leopard skin on the wall. It’s difficult to capture something truly unique in today’s entertainment industry, but Milk Thistle have definitely done a wonderful job here. If you’re planning a wedding reception or just out for a quick one, this place can cater for just about anything. Except maybe actual lions. That may be a bit more difficult.