The Libertine is a new cocktail bar just off the seafront, in the old Milk Bar premises.
Baravin can get away with minimalist chic due to its fantastic seaviews, but the landlocked Libertine has worked a lot harder to create beauty from within.
It’s a brave decision to specialise in premium products like cocktails – so should you go?
Right off, I have a problem with the name.
Aren’t Libertines either men (and cocktails is a ladies game), or that horribly smelly Pete Docherty?
And I imagine a Libertine would drink gin.
This is the sort of Hogarthian scene that comes to mind
and to be fair, they’ve had a fair crack at recreating this boudoir vibe in the front area.
There’s a large table for groups, but Dafydd and I were feeling sociable so we joined a nice young couple who were celebrating.
Having just had an All-Inclusive holiday in Cuba (very nice, thank you), I was not sure about a bar charging £7 for a cocktail.
But the drinks at the Libertine aren’t like AI ones – they have really come up with some new ideas, and interesting twists on existing ones.
The first drink out was Gemma’s ‘Fudged Up & Ready To Blow” (£7).
The menu definitely doesn’t mention the dry ice – which the waiter subtly started by sneaking some hot water into the beaker below – and to say we were all shocked, surprised and overjoyed would be an understatement.
Plumes of pretend smoke filled the air, we went a bit giddy.
The actual drink was sweet, fruity and potent – fudge rum(!), banana liqueur and pineapple.
The conical flask gave the whole thing a hint of Breaking Bad, and really targeted the aromas up your nose.
A quick sniff nearly took my head off.
But once poured out, the maple syrup and orange really softened the drink up – Dafydd doesn’t normally like bourbon but thought this worked well.
The remaining two were my “Viva Vase Vegas“(£6.50) – an edible vase of flowers – gin, hibiscus (cool), violette (the purple one, I think) – where the lychees made it really fresh, tingly drink. Though maybe one to look at than taste.
And Marcus’ giant mojito (£6) was a triumph of layering – sinking your straw in at different depths gave a range of taste sensations.
Those are four pretty handsome drinks, aren’t they?
But equally, so they should be for £28.
This isn’t an everday boozer – it’s a place for treats and celebrations.
And as our new friends were celebrating, and we had enjoyed the first drinks so much, we had a second round!
Once again Gemma had the more interesting one.
Her “Cassanova’s Martini” (£7) is served as two drinks!!
There is an unusual martini of vodka, passion fruit and popping candy (!) served with a glass of prosecco.
You can either pour this into the main drink to fizz it up, or keep it on the side as a contrast. Have you ever seen such a thing? Me neither!
However, I cannot remember what that nice young man had second, sorry.
I DO remember that Dafydd was pleased with his Trotter-influenced “Lovely Jubbly”
Doesn’t that look elegant? Not very Delboy, but I’m sure he would have enjoyed the mixture of passion fruit, black rasberry & champagne (champagne cocktails £7.50, or £5.50 with prosecco)
My final drink was the Brandy Kir Royale.
This might not sound very interesting, but it was amazeballs!
The fizz of the prosecco grabs the brandy and blows it up your nose!
Like the Smoked Bourbon, the aroma is the best part.
It took me a good 45 minutes to drink this small glass – it might look innocent, but it is a Booze Monster.
By now we were all very tired, and staggered off into the glare of the September sun.
We greatly enjoyed our trip to the Libertine. There are plenty of knowledgeable staff eager to help, and the place looks fantastic.
I’m not sure your bank manager or liver would let you be a frequent cocktail drinker there, but it would be a nice place to share a bottle of wine, although the mark-ups feel a bit brutal.
£25 for a bottle of Galanti prosecco is hefty compared with Pysgoty, and there’s no New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the place!
But a bottle of Argentinian Malbec for £20 wouldn’t feel too extravagant, and this is an extravagant setting.
With only six weeks till my birthday, we’ll be back, even if poor Dafydd has to do a few evenings’ overtime to pay for it.
The Libertine Cocktail Bar
54-56 Terrace Road