The creators of 14 North have now presented Douglas with the Bath and Bottle and if you are looking for a new watering hole it is one of the newest bars open in the Isle of Man. While it is refreshing to see this new flurry of drinking establishments I’d also like to be sure that we are getting as much “bang for our buck” as possible and that we are not being sold poor service under a guise of pretentiousness. However, I am glad to say that, after frequenting the recently opened the Bath and Bottle, this is not the case. Instead it effortlessly combines a 1920’s ambiance with high-quality cocktails to deliver a fantastic experience.
The name, Bath and Bottle is, in itself, unusual – until you understand its origins. Inspired by the 1920’s ‘Bright Young Things’ parties, the Bath and Bottle captures the sense of decadence perpetuated by the early socialites. A bespoke cocktail menu is complemented by nostalgic jazz music floating softly though the bar to create a mood of indulgence. The Décor is quirky and original and not another replica of a trendy Cocktail Bar. The eclectic mix of blue rimmed, white sailor style mugs and bow-tied, waist-coated staff gives it a distinctive personality. All in all it adds up to a chilled-out atmosphere and friendly, approachable staff.
With only a small and fairly reasonably priced snack and tapas style menu it is the epitome of casual dining. The relaxed attitude to courses means the focus of the Bath and Bottle is undoubtedly its customised cocktails. While the cocktails are expensive (about £7 per cocktail) you are definitely getting quality over quantity. And after watching a bar man firstly pureeing lychees then lovingly straining the pulp to get the lychee extract for the signature Dark and Stormy cocktail you begin to appreciate that the price reflects the level of care and consideration that goes in to making these cocktails.
The only criticism I can make of the place is that service can sometimes, at busy periods, be on the slow side. But this is all forgivable when you take into account the amount of attention that goes into preparing your drinks, and accept that the relaxed atmosphere has extended to the staff. I have to say myself that I would prefer a relaxed and competent server to a flustered blasé one any day of the week.
The Bath and Bottle leaves a lasting impression. As a writer the nods to Evelyn Waugh and the casual peppering of Hemmingway quotes make me feel at home and, overall, the effect is transformative – when the door closes behind me I am transported to the 1920’s. I no longer feel like I am on the Isle of Man, and my soul is recharged.