Prior to me writing this article, if you googled “best cocktail bars in Derby” you basically get lists of national chain pubs. Whilst there’s a time and a place for that, I know that personally I’d rather be drinking at a great independent, with a professionally trained mixologist who serves high quality cocktails in beautifully ambient surroundings.
Here are my favourite independent cocktail bars in Derby and Derbyshire for an amazing night out. No faceless chains – just lovely, local, independent small businesses.
Cocktail bars, Derby
The newly opened, The Buji Bar in Derby is a great option for a cocktail next time you’re in town. Maybe not the comfiest set up, but with it’s neon signs and quirky décor it’s highly Instagrammable. I loved my Rosetta cocktail on a recent visit, a gorgeous mix of vodka, lychee, guava and lime and topped with rose petals. Cocktails are priced from £8, but there’s currently an an ongoing offer of two for £12 everyday. If you get peckish, the Korean BBQ chicken is insanely good, as is the aubergine dish on their small plates menu.
Despite being situated outside the city centre, Seven at Pride Park quickly established itself as a serious contender on Derby’s dining scene. This contemporary restaurant has a lovely courtyard area with definitely holiday vibes. There’s a decent cocktail list and the main menu always carries a few specially selected seasonal favourites. The same team also own the White Hart in Duffield which is just outside Derby city centre. So if you enjoy the cocktails or general vibe at Seven it’s definitely worth trying there too.
Bustler market has a small range of cocktails – and currently they’re all served in plastic glasses – which spoils the fun for me somewhat but it’s Derby’s biggest bar garden and has great street food, so I think does warrant a spot on this list. Check out their Thirty Thursday deals. Read my full review of Bustler here.
Binary Bar in Mickleover on the edge of Derby city centre is a great option for cocktails. There’s a really appealing menu featuring lychee cosmopolitan, pop goes tequila, flossy fizz (topped with candy floss!) as well as the classics. Something I haven’t seen anywhere else is that Binary offer a cocktail flight consisting of three smaller cocktails served on a wooden board for just £12.95. How every great night out should start, surely?!
Best Places for Cocktails in Darley Abbey, Derby
Darley Abbey has quickly established itself as the place for discerning drinkers in Derby. Set around Darley Mills, a UNESCO World Heritage site – this really is a lovely place to be.
The Cottonworks has riverside seating and great cocktails. It’s so good that it recently featured in The Times national round up of the ‘30 best cocktail bars and terraces in the UK’.
Just outside Derby city centre, is the gorgeous Kedleston Country House. This would be a great option for cocktails as there’s a lovely bar area and on a sunny day you can enjoy their manicured gardens. There’s a good cocktail list and they even run cocktail masterclasses. I thoroughly recommend ‘The Kedleston Cup’, a delicious, refreshing mix of Mulberry gin, elderflower liquor, vanilla, lime and apple, served in a cute little plant pot and adorned with edible flowers. Cocktails start at two for £12 for options on the classics menu, which is excellent value for somewhere of this standard. In addition to the cocktails there’s a varied gin menu and the bar features lots of local brands such as White Peak Distillery. (Just bear in mind that this is an exclusive use wedding venue so it’s worth ringing ahead to check/book.)
Best cocktail bars in Derbyshire: Chesterfield
Bottle & Thyme is one of my favourite places in Chesterfield – it’s great for everything from brunch to lunch to dinner – but also serves the most amazing cocktails. I love that they’re adorned with edible flowers. There are a good range of cocktails starting at just £6.50 with the most expensive only £7.50. My all-time favourite is the Violent Gin Sour, made with Portobello Road gin, violette liqueur, fresh lemon and sugar. There’s also a good range of delicious sounding alcohol free cocktails (e.g. rhubarb and pear alcohol free mojito sounds delicious).
Barca Bar in the Casa hotel in Chesterfield is also a great spot for cocktails in Chesterfield. There’s all the usual suspects: margarita, espresso martini, Long Island iced tea, passion fruit martini, Cosmopolitan and various flavours of frozen daiquiri, plus lots of more unusual choices. I tried the Citrus & Pear, a beautiful blend of tequila, fresh lime juice and hints of spiced pear – utterly delicious! There’s also a Happy Hour every Friday where all cocktails are two for one between 5pm and 7pm.
The Red Lion at the Peak Edge Hotel has quickly become one of my favourite places to eat over the last year. And they whip up a mean cocktail!
The Hunloke Arms in Wingerworth also does good cocktails.
Looking for bottomless brunches in Chesterfield? Check out my guide to the best places to brunch in Chesterfield. And for the loveliest bars, cafés and restaurants with outdoor seating in Chesterfield, click here.
Best places for cocktails in the Peak District
The Coolstone in Eyam is a great place for cocktails. Their sunny courtyard is the perfect place to kick back and relax with professionally mixed cocktails. Or the weather isn’t kind head to their cocktail lounge. You can’t go wrong with a classic mojito. Mine was served in a reassuringly heavy crystal style glass and tasted divine on a hot sunny day. For something a little quirky, check out their Plague Village cocktail which is served with a teapot of soda so you can adjust the strength to your personal taste. I was particularly impressed to see that The Coolstone’s cocktail menu features spirits from local, independent businesses, like Reap and Sow. If local gin is your thing, read about their Derbyshire gin shop here and read my full review (including their delicious food!) of The Coolstone here.
Derbyshire bars that are great for cocktails
Bradmans has bars in Duffield and newly opened Dale Road in Matlock. Specialising in fine wines but they also have a short, but very tempting cocktail menu. I recently had the best Bramble of my entire life at Bradmans so this is definitely one to check out! Friendly, professional staff will also make cocktails on request (providing they have the ingredients). Read more about my impressions of Bradmans Wine Cellar in Matlock.
Monk Bar are a small local chain with a few bars dotted across the county, in Belper, Chesterfield and Matlock, and one on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield. All their venues feature a beautiful bar and an impressive cocktail menu. Priced around £8, there’s a good range of classics that we know and love (e.g. mojito, pornstar martini, margarita and Long Island iced tea) as well Monk Originals such as ‘Devil Wears Prada’ which consists of Pinkster gin, lychee, Martini Rubino, lemon and sugar and ‘The Beast of Bakewell’ made using Kraken, cherry, Frangelico, orgeat syrup, lemon and cranberry. Monk Bars will also make any cocktail you fancy, even if it’s not on the menu.
The Bank in Ashbourne town centre has quickly built up a reputation for seriously good cocktails, look out for their seasonal specials too!
Nourish at No. 44 in Belper has recently launched a new cocktail and charcuterie bar Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm until late. There are deals both on cocktails and wine, including prosecco.
I recently had the pleasure of cocktails at Ice and Slice in Swadlincote. This is a fabulous place to go, there’s a decent range of expertly mixed cocktails. Try the G & Tea for a truly theatrical experience or some of the creamy concoctions – there are spins on espresso martinis, a Ferrero Rocher and Bakewell pudding inspired cocktails! They can also make any of the cocktails as mocktails so anyone not drinking doesn’t miss out on the fun. Also check out their amazing bottomless lunch deal.