The York Cocktail Spirit

Nightlife and cocktails are a classic combination at the best of times, but for York they are completely inseparable. Whether it’s sipping a margarita by the river Ouse or trying an original concoction in an independent bar, there is a litany of cocktails just begging to be tasted. Here’s a selection of a few bars worth checking out.


First up you’ve got Evil Eye, the internet café by day and bar by night that has no real comparison anywhere in the world. Named by the BBC as a contender for coolest place in York in 2007, it is famous for having a cocktail so strong it was made illegal. Evil Eye is like the spirit of Camden Town compressed into a single building. Fronted by an off-license on Stonegate, York’s most famous cobbled street, behind the shop is an Indo-chinese restaurant and cocktail bar and upstairs a room that can be hired for functions, complete with beds that act as benches. Whether you want a simple mojito or an “Evil Zombie” (seven types of rum, absinthe, grenadine, lime and pineapple), Evil Eye is sure to cater most needs. A definite must-see if you’re in the city.

Approximately two minutes away are Dusk and Bluefly neighbouring establishments that serve food during the day and have late licenses through the night. Both do excellent cocktails. If you want a buzzing crowd and a good laugh, they’re definitely worth a passing visit. In particular, cocktails at Dusk can be a bit like Russian roulette – they are named after celebrities or famous figures, often without an explanation of their contents. Personal recommendations include the Milky Bar Kid and Sarah Jessica Parker.

If you’re after a classy twist of York’s nightlife scene, then a visit to Pitcher & Piano is a must, serving an array of traditional cocktails from cosmopolitan to piña colada. With the option to enjoy yourself al fresco, Pitcher & Piano is on the river front, offering a dazzling view across to the west side of the city and they also serve their own unique cocktails as well as two special champagne concoctions.

Image credit: Creative commons, Pitcher & Piano

About the author

Paul is a second year English & Related Literature undergraduate student at the University of York and writes for the university’s student magazine- York Vision. He also keeps a blog at

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