Christmas is just around the corner and whether you are planning to host your lunch or dinner at one of our recommended Top 10 Christmas party venues or whether you are simply looking for a space to share some festive drinks with friends, family or colleagues, below is our ‘where to’ guide for the best drinking spots that Cambridge currently has to boast:
1 Novi - Regent Street
Why: set across three beautifully decorated floors, by night NOVI becomes a cocktail bar, complete with home-made botanical cocktails, craft beer and wine. On the first floor you can find the lounge bar with access to the living roof terrace. The terrace is ideal for alfresco drinking and becomes a winter wonderland complete with heaters, blankets and a snug, undercover spot from autumn onwards. The second floor is a cocktail lounge; with the perfect ambience for friends to gather pre or post dinner.
2 196 - Mill Road
Why: brace yourself for the best cocktails in the city, both in style and of substance. The handwritten-style cocktail list is a full A4 page which features plenty of exciting and less known names, in addition to your familiar favourites. Although it is always near enough impossible to get a seat due to the intimate nature of this venue, it is definitely worth a visit. I wouldn’t recommend risking it if you are planning a trip with a large group unless you are able to reserve seating in advance.
3 Parker’s Tavern - Regent Street
Why: boasting the celebration of "Cambridge’s spirit of invention with mixology that reinvents the classics", Parker’s Tavern is a quintessentially English brasserie with a snazzy separate bar area. It is a sophisticated and stylish spot to sit and take delight in sipping on one of their signature cocktails, a glass of wine; or if something from their long list of rum, gin or other spirits tickles your fancy, to have a go at hitting the hard stuff.
4 Pint Shop - Peas Hill
Why: inspired by the beer houses of the 1830s, this venue has an industrial, semi-rustic, simple feel about it and is a quirky, upbeat spot for some drinks. Pint Shop specialise in craft beer on tap, both in keg and cask form but that’s not all. Not only can you opt for a glass of wine or a cocktail, with a menu dedicated specifically to Gin featuring over 70 different varieties, you’re bound to find a tipple that floats your boat.
5 The Maypole - Portugal Place
Why: bang in the centre of town, run by father and son duo Vincent and Mario, this pub radiates a big personality and heaps of character. With 16 real ales, many of which are sourced from local and micro breweries, plus bottled speciality Belgian beers and cocktails, Maypole have heaps in-store for you. With a recently redecorated outside area, fully kitted with heat lamps, there is plenty of sheltered seating, be it indoor or outdoor.
6 Calverly's - Hooper Street
Why: open on a Thursday and Friday evening from 18:00 and on a Saturday from 11:00, located in a former garage close to Mill Road, the taproom is a relaxed space to enjoy locally crafted beer, produced in small batches. You can expect to see up to two of their beers served directly from the cask plus others from kegs and possibly one in a can. You can also enjoy some pre or post-dinner grub with rotating independent traders serving up the best in local street food, such as Al Chile, Pizza Mondo, Steak & Honour and more.
7 Bistro at Cambridge Cookery School, Purbeck Road *Fri & Sat only*
Why: though operating as a cafe throughout the week, on a Friday and Saturday night you can enjoy the space on a slightly different level. Sit back, let go of the week’s stresses and immerse yourself in your surroundings; dim lighting and candles on tables attract your attention as the space transforms into a romantic and intimate hideaway. On a Friday you can wash down the tapas with wine and on a Saturday you can enjoy their bistro style set menu; on both evenings however you are able to swing by and have a few drinks.
8 Cambridge Wine Merchants - Bridge Street
Why: based shamelessly on the good old Oddbins model, scattered around Cambridge, the Cambridge Wine Merchants branches are fun places to shop, full of interesting ‘stuff’ and interested staff. Several of the shops are also wine bars, offering simple food and tasting events. All in all a sophisticated, casual and relaxed spot to enjoy a variety of bevvies.
9 Thirsty’s Tipi at Gonville Hotel - Gonville Place
Why: after a successful debut in 2017, the Thirsty tipi returns again this winter, with a new setting in the rear garden of the beautiful Gonville Hotel. Thirsty take centre stage at this new location as of mid November. You can expect a grand tipi, fire pits, plenty of beer and mulled wine, paired with copious amounts of festive spirit.
10 Cambridge Gin Laboratory - Green Street
Why: an interactive space in the centre of Cambridge, dedicated to the appreciation of gin. The lab consists of a shop as well as a number of tasting rooms, why not book in for a one hour tasting session or an immersive cocktail mixology session pre-dinner?