If ever a drink should have a day of celebration, it is surely the cocktail. And if ever there was a cocktail to headline the day, let it be the cosmopolitan! 

This mix of vodka, Cointreau, lime and cranberry juice represents fun and kitsch, celebrity and glamour. The cosmo’s popularity rose through the 90s and 00s as an American party drink, by Madonna and Sex and the City, from Miami Beach to Manhattan, and the UK bought in to its good time reputation. 

Now a staple on cocktail menus everywhere, there are dozens of bars in York mixing up marvellous versions alongside other fine classics and inventions. Cosmopolitan Day on the 7th May is the perfect excuse to delve into the best cocktail bars in York, whether open now or to visit very soon. Here are five favourites! 


A friendly laid back wine bar that feels like a local in the city, Plonkers accentuates its wine list, beer range and bistro menu with some fabulous cocktails. The inside is inviting but the standout is their lovely riverside seating, open now, to escape into with a cocktail or few, notably from a gin selection that includes locals York Gin and nearby Mason’s. 

House of the Trembling Madness

This wonderfully wonky bar on Stonegate was so popular they opened a second house of madness on Lendal. At the forefront of why is the quality and quantity of beer, but equally amazing are the cocktails here. In keeping with their ethos, they’re made with the best ingredients and expertise, and are a tremblingly good accompaniment to soon reacquaint yourself with the quirky decor of both branches. 


A lush underground bar and a continental outdoor terrace, Sotano offers the best of both atmospheres to soak up their stunning cocktails. Classic old favourites mix with bespoke new creations, spearheaded by the appropriate scotch or bourbon or rum or vodka or gin, alongside cleverly combined concoctions. Whether you’re sweet or sour, bitter or salty, Sotano will make you taste delicious. 

The Habit

Stocking a proud range of spirits and having an open rooftop terrace to enjoy them on, The Habit is a dangerous pleasure. Their gins and whiskeys travel from York to Scotland to Japan, through rare terrain and famous destinations, and are a joy straight up or in a fruity cocktail. Whether you like to experiment with a Bunnahabhain or get fruity with a Gin Ting, you’ll definitely want to make it the habit. 

The Old Bank

The Old Bank is a traditional pub with a splendid hidden beer garden and crowd pleasing values that extend to its cocktail list. The best big names are all here – Pornstar Martini, Moscow Mule, Mojito, Singapore Sling, Long Island Iced Tea, Sex on the Beach – sure to put a smile on faces and spring in steps. 


Images: Sotano, Sotano, The Habit