There’s no doubt that the cocktail scene in Ireland has upped its game. It just isn’t a good weekend without a quality craft cocktail. Lucky for Cork, they’ve managed to monopolise some of Ireland’s finest mixologists to serve the thirsty crowds in the rebel county.
Always out to impress, the beautiful city of Cork is full of elegant, unique and sometimes downright quirky spots for locals and tourists alike. We’ve tried and tested the best cocktail bars in Cork, and whether you favour a trendy Instagram-worthy bar, or a quiet snug to enjoy your favourite tipple, Cork has more than enough to offer.
Here are some of Cork’s finest, and most unique locations, to enjoy a cocktail.
5. The Electric
If it’s a seat you were looking for, then this bar isn’t for you – on a sunny evening, the crowds tend to spill out onto the grass and large boardwalk which runs adjacent to the river. A buzzing but chilled out venue located at the end of the well-known South Mall, this gorgeous art-deco bar is the place to be seen on Friday for after-work drinks. Bask in the sunshine, sipping the cocktail of your choice while taking in views of iconic Cork landmarks such as St Finn Barr’s cathedral and Elizabeth Fort. The Electric staff reveal tricks of the trade daily from 3pm-5pm at their Cocktail O’Clock sessions (€30 pp) and for gin lovers, they also host a fantastic Gin Experience.
Who said cocktails were only for evenings? Bring the party right through the weekend with cocktails for breakfast thanks to Dockland’s dedicated Bloody Mary menu. Accompanying their weekend brunch menu, there are six versions available, and we suggest you try the signature Beetroot Bloody Mary, made with gin, beetroot, dill, and lime. The light and airy interior has a very zen vibe and owners Beth and Harold champion a chilled-out atmosphere for busy young professionals who have a passion for eating, drinking and entertaining.
3. Oyster tavern
Touting itself as the oldest bar in cork, the remodelled Oyster Tavern re-opened last year to fantastic reviews. Positively radiating glamour and style, it is located just off Cork’s main thoroughfare, Patrick Street, alongside one of the entrances to the famous English Market. This watering hole has an ancient history, so it’s no wonder its cocktail menu is steeped in heritage and tradition with a modern twist. We recommend the Bán Again Christian with matcha green tea and poitín, or Murphy’s Law, which pairs Jameson with Murphy’s, a local Cork stout.
2. Arthur Maynes
If you blink, you might miss this little gem in the heart of the rebel city. Located next to the GPO, you would be forgiven for assuming that this bar is an outdated apothecary from the outside. Originally built in 1720, you can enjoy delicious craft cocktails by candlelight in the well-preserved 120-year-old interior. The glass counter cabinets and the walls (even in the loos) are lined with perfumes, ancient medicaments and more. Delicious tapas are served until 1.30am, seven nights a week. The bar recently opened up its second floor as the aptly named ‘Upstairs’ cocktail bar, where you’ll be snug and cosy for an intimate evening and a taste of old cork with one-of-a-kind handcrafted cocktails. Our personal favourite is ‘Knickers in a Twist’.
The most recent addition to the Cork drink scene, Cask, is located in Cork’s famous Victorian Quarter on MacCurtain Street. On the pricier end of the scale, their mouth-watering cocktail menu changes with the season every eight weeks, so you won’t find any sex on the beach here. Our current favourite is Goldie Fish in the Skye, which incorporates spiced seaweed and craft cider. Lastly, as if the cocktails weren’t enough, you’ll also be enchanted by their unique outdoor area which features its very own waterfall, allowing you to fully unwind away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It’s no surprise that it has won awards for Overall Cocktail Bar, Outstanding Cocktail Menu, Best Bar Team, Best New Cocktail Bar and Best Bar Munster at the Irish Craft Cocktail Awards in 2017.