With an exciting calendar throughout the year that sees countless festivals from Cheltenham Race Week to the Literature Festival, you can expect to find a decent bar or two within the town. Throughout weekday evenings, there are plenty of pubs for a pint or glass of wine. Come the weekend, there’s a whole host of bars to choose from and a thirsty crowd. Whether you’re after a classy cocktail bar, a cosy pub, or a lounge with live music and a dance floor, you’ll find it in Cheltenham. Here’s my guide to the best bars in Cheltenham.
Looking for a place to eat in Cheltenham? Check out my guide to the best restaurants in Cheltenham.
Gin and Juice, The Promenade
If there’s any place to hit up for a classy cocktail, it’s Gin and Juice. Located in the ultra glamorous No.131 hotel and restaurant, Gin and Juice has recently undergone a stylish makeover. You’d be mad not to go and try their staple drink, and guests can choose from a whopping menu of over 350 types of gin. Settle in and sit down with a cocktail in the cosy yet chic surroundings of the bar. On weekends or during the races, you’ll be able to enjoy a dance thanks to the in-house DJ keeping the party going. It’s for sure one of the best bars in Cheltenham.
Imperial Haus, Imperial Square
The new kid on the block, Imperial Haus is truly one of a kind. One of the best bars in Cheltenham, it has one of the most unique look and feels in town. Enjoy the most beautiful cocktails in impressive surroundings – it’s decorated as though it’s an enchanted forest. In fact, its interior design is worth visiting for alone, with gorgeous details throughout. There’s also a tempting cocktail menu, and as you’d expect, the service is fantastic. The aesthetic is perfect for the ‘gram, and even the cocktails are presented beautifully.
Bottle of Sauce, Ambrose Street
Whether you’re going for the bottomless brunch at Bottle of Sauce or a casual pint, it’s a great pitstop for a drink. An award-winning Cheltenham pub, you’ll find a great selection of beers and wines. Head to the bar on a weekend for a delicious burger and fries with your drinks, or a range of other tasty pub grub. There’s a great atmosphere no matter when you visit. A local favourite is visiting on a weekday between 5 and 7pm to make the most of the After Work Drinking menu. Guests can grab a pint for an impressive £3 or a glass of prosecco for £4.
The Alchemist, Henrietta Street
The newest kid on the block, head down to Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter for some of the best cocktails in town. With an impressive marble bar and dark murals, you can expect the same theatricality to prevail through the cocktails. One of the best bars in Cheltenham, settle in for cocktails that produce smoke, and ones that even change colour. It’s a fun place with delicious drinks that are bound to impress by The Alchemist’s excellent mixologists. Give the impressive Holy Smokes a try, a tasty blend of mezcal, banana, and pineapple with a side of smoke.
The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie, Montpellier Walk
It’s difficult to find a more beautiful bar in Cheltenham. Enter the Ivy Montpellier Brasserie, and you’re greeted by the palm fringed bar with its dozens of hanging crystal champagne flutes. Soak in the atmosphere of the rotunda bar while you sip on some excellent drinks and cocktails. One of the best bars in Cheltenham, favourites include the delicious salted caramel espresso martini, and the Crimson Vesper with vodka, sloe fin, and fresh orange zest for a drink that packs a punch. In such a high quality establishment, you won’t be disappointed with any drink you order – you’ll simply want more!
John Gordons Whiskey & Wine Bar, Montpellier Arcade
An independent wine and spirit merchant, John Gordons enjoys one of the prettiest spots in Cheltenham, overlooking beautiful Montpellier Gardens. It boasts a large ‘library’ of delicious whiskeys and gins for all palates, and its knowledgeable staff will help you find a delicious drink. There’s also an impressive range of wines, champagnes, cognacs, and beers from all over the world – perfect for any occasion. There’s a relaxed and elegant vibe at John Gordons. It’s a cosy bar in the cooler months, and in the summer, there’s a pretty arcade area and terrace outside. It’s definitely one of the best bars in Cheltenham, so go and give it a visit.
Sandford Park Alehouse, High Street
One of the best bars in Cheltenham for beer, Sandford Park Alehouse has a whopping ten casks lines and 16 keg lines. Don’t just take my word for it – it was voted CAMRA National Pub of the Year a few years ago too. The bar works with both local and national suppliers to ensure a great range of excellent beers. All of the staff are passionate about beer, and will be happy to help if you’re having trouble deciding. If you don’t fancy a beer, the Alehouse also has a menu of tasty wines and spirits should you prefer. There’s also a wonderful beer garden for drinking al fresco – it backs onto Cheltenham’s beautiful Sandford Park and the River Chelt.
The Grape Escape, Regent Street
The Grape Escape has a fancy new location on Regent Street, and is one of the best bars in Cheltenham for wine. As you’d expect, there’s an extremely impressive menu of wines by the glass, and over two hundred options of wine by the bottle. It’s the perfect stop for any lovers of wine, and the friendly staff are extremely knowledgeable about their wine. The glass list changes on a weekly basis, so there’s plenty of opportunity to try a new wine or two. Why not take part in one of their exciting tasting evenings? There’s a perfect wine for every occasion and taste, and a delicious choice of tasting platters to complement each wine.
The Botanist, Brewery Quarter
As you can expect, there’s a true garden theme to The Botanist, which is in the heart of Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter. Imagine a secret garden, full of excellent drinks in one of the best bars in Cheltenham. You’ll find inspiring decor, plants galore, and fascinating trinkets dotted around the bar. The botanicals naturally make their way into the inspiring drink menu. Discover delicious cocktails, including the namesake, The Botanist. It’s a delicious blend of vodka, rum, jasmine cordial, lemonade, and mint – it’s to die for! As well as great cocktails and drinks, you’ll also discover live music to help you enjoy a truly magical time at The Botanist.
The Retreat, Suffolk Parade
Having opened back in the early 1980s, The Retreat has remained one of the best bars in Cheltenham to this very day. Well known for its red walls, French-inspired decor, and great atmosphere, it really is a town favourite. It’s charming, cheeky, and fun, and always inspires an interesting crowd. Located in the Suffolks, in one of Cheltenham’s most glamorous suburbs, it offers pub favourites and a lively vibe. Make like the locals and be sure to come here for a morning pint of Guinness on your way to Cheltenham Races. If you’re lucky you’ll catch some live music to really get your evening off to a great start.
That’s my guide to the best bars in Cheltenham! Are there any other bars you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.