Under the Stairs
Time Out says
By day: herbal teas, artisan coffee and liquer-laced hot chocolate. By night: quirky cocktails at this cosy basement bar.
A spiral of stone stairs twists down from Merchant Street, past plant pots and fairy lights into this basement bar. Inside it’s a dimly lit, cosy hole to hide in with soft furnishings hanging off beat up armchairs, and vintage clocks ticking away above the glowing fish tank.
It’s open from noon for espressos, herbal teas, or coffees and hot chocolates laced with liqueurs – which is worth remembering on a particularly nippy and bitter January afternoon. Evening times are the busiest part of the day, when the long cocktail list draws in a full house of students, local shopkeepers knocking off for the night and thirsty tourists. They’ll make you a well shaken classic Martini if you want one, but would probably rather talk you into something they’ve just invented instead, like a beetroot and Wasabi-tequila margarita (£7.95) or a green tea cooler with pear, cucumber, lime and vodka (£7.45). Rum cocktails are also a highlight - they have 16-types of rum and Cachaca behind the bar and will be happy to help you choose how sweet/sharp/boozy/short/long you’d like your drink to be.
The sharing plates of pitta breads with spiced hummus and goats cheese and pomegranate seed dips (£4.85) are good for small groups to pick away at, or there are more substantial mains like the poached chicken and crab noodle salad with chilli ginger dressing (£8.50), or rump steak with blue cheese sauce (£15.25).