A historic city that is situated along the River Exe in Southwest England, it is no surprise that many of the bars in Exeter are inspired by its long history and inhabitants. From its vaulted medieval underground passages that evoke a sense of mystery to its lively shopping street along the water, this city is home to many quirky indie bars that will not fail to surprise you. With options for rooftop and underground bars, there is an establishment - and a drink - for everyone visiting this charming city. Read on for the best cocktails bars in Exeter, the UK.
1. Doctor Inks Curiosities
Named the best cocktail bar in the South West in 2018, Victorian-inspired Doctor Inks is based on Exeter’s historic Quay and has picked up multiple accolades since its launch in 2016. It was also named on Imbibe Magazine’s ‘UK Themed Drinks List Of the Year 2017’, with their bar team also reaching the finals of the National Cocktail Competition. They boast an exciting drinks menu, with themed drinks such as ‘Ethereal Beauty’ available for Valentine’s, which is a butterfly pea tea infused with tequila, blueberry liqueur, and jasmine syrup lime. They even have a curious tea experience, where you can enjoy a seasonal teapot punch, cocktails, and scones, for just 25 GBP (32 USD) per person.
Doctor Inks Curiosities
Address:Customs House 43 The Quay, Exeter, Devon
Website: Doctor Inks Curiosities
Opening hours: Wed: 5pm - 11pm; Thu: 5pm - 12am; Fri: 4pm - 1am; Sat: 1pm - 12am; Sun: 1pm - 10pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
2. The Oddfellows
A gastropub and speakeasy lounge, the Oddfellows is the oldest cocktail joint in Exeter. They pride themselves in serving traditional food with a modern, 21st-century twist. Their menus change with the seasons so diners can enjoy the unique dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients. The chefs also use locally sourced ingredients for drinks and meals and prepare them with sustainability in mind.
Address: 60 New North Road, Exeter, Devon. EX4 4EP
Website: The Oddfellows
Opening hours: Tue - Wed: 5pm - 12am; Thu: 12pm - 12am; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 1am; Sun: 12pm - 8pm (closed on Mon)
3. The Monkey Suit
‘The Monkey Suit’ refers to the uniform one wears to work, symbolizing uniformity and compliance. The bar invites guests to leave their 'Monkey Suits’ at the door and have a great time. They boast a wide selection of alcohol, from modern and classic cocktails to craft ales and spirits - you will find a drink for everyone in your party. Aside from the main bar, the establishment also has two private rooms available for bookings: the club and the VIP room, perfect for holding your private celebrations during your vacation.
The Monkey Suit
Address: 161 Sidwell St, Exeter EX4 6RH, United Kingdom
Website: The Monkey Suit
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 5pm - 1am; Fri: 5pm - 2am; Sat: 12pm - 2:30 am (closed on Sun)
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4. The Terrace
If you are looking for a place with fantastic rooftop views, the Terrace on Queen Street should be the top choice. Comprised of a rooftop bar, restaurant and club, it is not to be missed whether you are arriving during the day or at night. Get together for brunch with stunning views of the city and enjoy their extensive menu, including artisan, wood-fired pizzas, or start your weekend from Friday with their #TTBIGWEEKEND, where the terrace rooftop is open until 2 am and DJs are there to spin the best hits.
Address: Guildhall Shopping Centre, 19, Queen St, Exeter EX4 3FB, United Kingdom
Website: The Terrace
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 12pm - 1am; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 3:30am
Named after William Crockett, a wine and spirit merchant who sold his goods way back in the 1840s, Crocketts specialises in artisan gins that are distilled in the Southwest. Alongside local and globally established names, they also showcase new and unusual gins that will appeal to adventurous drinkers. A must-visit for discerning gin lovers, the bartenders here pride themselves in preparing an exquisite glass of gin and tonic, made with love and care - which they believe are the secrets to the perfect G&T - together with a meticulously selected garnish.
Address: 2 Upper Paul St, Exeter EX4 3NB, United Kingdom
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 5pm - 11:30pm; Fri: 4pm - 12:30am; Sat: 2pm - 12:30am; Sun - Mon: 5pm - 11pm
6. Coolings Gandy Street
Offering an extensive menu of coffee and all-day snacks, the highlight of Coolings is actually their Cellar Bar, which is a secret underground experience not to be missed. A quirky cocktail bar hidden within the depths of the historic passageways, enjoy affordable classic cocktails from shooters to fishbowls while listening to live music.
Coolings Gandy Street
Address: 11 Gandy St, Exeter EX4 3LS, United Kingdom
Website: Coolings Gandy Street
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 12pm - 12am; Fri: 12pm - 2am; Sat: 11am - 12 am (closed on Sun)
7. John Gandys
One of the best things about John Gandys is their live music night. Living up to their reputation as Exeter’s premier live music venue, they host popular Friday night shows featuring a variety of bands from funk to rock, battle of the bands competitions and open mic nights that see new music performances. They use homegrown and locally sourced ingredients for their drinks, so you can trust their sugar syrups and sour mix. They also hold cocktail masterclasses, so if you are looking for a fun activity for a day in Exeter, consider popping by Gandy’s to learn some tips on making cocktails and enjoy an evening of music after!
Address: 23 Gandy Street, EX4 3LS
Website: John Gandys
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 4pm - 12am; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 2:30am
8. Artigiano Espresso & Wine Bar
If you are a cocktail lover, you definitely do not want to miss a visit to Artigiano Espresso & Wine Bar. Brewing coffee by day and transforming into a trendy bar by night, it boasts an impressive menu of alcoholic and caffeinated drinks where you will be absolutely spoilt for choice. This bar also has deals on different days of the week, including their Friday Fizz, with house-pour prosecco and champagne deals, and Wind Down Wednesdays with 15 GBP (19 USD) glasses of red or white wine. Drop by the weekends to enjoy their Fizzy Brunch, where you can get a bottle of prosecco for just 15 GBP (19 USD) with any brunch from their menu.
Artigiano Espresso & Wine Bar
Address: 248 High Street Exeter, Devon EX4 3PZ
Website: Artigiano Espresso & Wine Bar
Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 7:30am - 11pm; Thu - Fri: 7:30am - 12am; Sat: 8:30am - 12am; Sun: 9am - 6pm
A drink for everyone in Exeter
While you enjoy learning about the historic city of Exeter, don’t forget to enjoy the nightlife too! Be it heading to the rooftop bar to enjoy the city’s stunning views or going underground for a night of good music. Loosen up and grab a drink - there’s one for everyone.
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