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Dark Horse, 7A Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB

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Dark Horse

Dark Horse, 7A Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB
May 23
09:27 2017
dark horse

(Drinking Trends) Down a discrete stairway off a picturesque square in the idyllic city of Bath is not the first place you might think to look for a world class bar. Then again, this is just the first in a number of ways that Dark Horse lives up to its name.

This enchantingly seductive cocktail bar which opened just a couple of years ago has already earned itself a glowing reputation on the global drink scene. So much so, that it has become something of a destination for drinks enthusiasts, and what better excuse do you need for spending an evening or a weekend in what may well be England’s most beautiful city. Bath had long been on my list of places to visit, yet having lived over 16 years in London, I’d never quite managed to make the trip. Until I visited Dark Horse. I’ve now been twice in the space of a month and plan to revisit often.

Dark Horse is the creation of Louis Lewis-Smith, former Brand Ambassador to Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum. Louis has clearly benefitted from the inherent R&D that comes with visiting hundreds of bars as part of your job. This atmospheric hideaway encapsulates many of the best aspects of some of my favourite bars. But it isn’t his brand experience that shines through, but rather attention to detail, a warm welcome, and a banging drinks list that may owe more to his Milk & Honey days. And not forgetting legendary West Country bartender Sam Kershaw, who also opened Dark Horse, and has now moved on to a national role with Wild Turkey.

In short, this bar gets an awful lot of things spot on. From the charismatic door-lady, to the inviting lighting, pitch-perfect playlist, and warm welcome, you know you’re in good hands before you even take a seat. And then the drinks… it’s a while since I’ve read such a balanced drinks menu. A considered classics list is balanced by seasonal cocktails and a decent selection of non-alcoholic options such as house-made ginger beer. Indeed the house-made and locally sourced ethos permeates the entire drinks list, with locally sourced fruits, local craft beers and local spirits featuring heavily. Highlights include Dark Horse Spring Cup #2, Somerset Lightning, and an absolutely delicious Penicillin.

dark horse

And then there’s the unbelievably fast speed of service. This is, I’m told, down to the back of house heroes who spend hours in prep before opening, and continue pressing fresh juices, and batching ingredients throughout service. With only two stations front of house, the bar team somehow contrives to produce consistently excellent drinks with hardly any wait time. And yet their efforts are something you’d hardly notice due to the relaxed atmosphere and wonderful hospitality. Dark Horse is a rare jewel of a bar.

You might expect a bar of this high standard, owned and run by a former Brand Ambassador, in an outlier city to have benefitted from some heavy brand support. But this is another area where Dark Horse is doing things right. Rather than signing over swathes of their cocktail listings to large brands, the cocktails here are listed simply on the basis of what works for the drink. And it’s the guest who benefits. With most cocktails priced around £9, it won’t break the bank either.

If like me, you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit Bath, now you have one.

Dark Horse opens 17:00 seven days a week.
It closes Mon-Wed 00:00, Thurs 01:00, Fri-Sat 02:00, Sun 23:00.
Booking strongly recommended.

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The post Dark Horse, 7A Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB appeared first on Drinking Trends - News and Trends for Bars, Pubs, Cocktails, Mixology, Spirits, Wine and Beer Worldwide..

Dark Horse, 7A Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB - overview
4.5out of 5
Menu
4.5out of 5
Drinks
5out of 5
Service
5out of 5
Atmosphere
5out of 5
Value
4.8 Excellent
4.8 out of 5
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Industry Expert

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy

A seasoned veteran of the international drinks scene, our Managing Editor, has spent the last decade opening new venues across the globe, consulting for key drinks industry groups, running A-list parties, and advising major spirit and beverage brands. Charlie is a respected figure in on-line, televised and print media for the global drinks industry. If it involves making drinks, chatting about drinks, thinking about drinks, writing about drinking, or drinking drinks, Charlie has been 'biting that bullet' since 2005.

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