Trinity’s other new bar, The Alchemist, is a very different animal to The Botanist downstairs. This is the swanky cocktail bar in the sky. In fact, it’s so cool that when we tried to visit on a Saturday we found a queue for the entrance.
The Alchemist is decorated very nicely inside. The bar and kitchen form a single unit down one side of the room and the other three sides are all glass, decorated with classy white fairy lights. The décor is all 19th-century pseudoscientifc kitsch (flasks, astrological symbols, phrenology domes…) which works quite well as a pretentious motif. There are also plenty of sofas to sit on, which is always a welcome touch.
There’s a massive roof garden on two sides, with great views of Holy Trinity church and Boar Lane all the way to the Corn Exchange. The roof garden is heated too so it was pleasant enough even on a slightly chilly day. The only drawback of the design is that people tend to congregate near the (only) door to smoke.
Unfortunately the room also feels a bit cramped and crowded even on a quiet night, and it’s certainly noisy in here both from the music and the chatter. We’re fans of deserving pretentiousness but The Alchemist definitely feels like it stretches pretentiousness a little further than it deserves.
There’s a huge selection of cocktails here (well over a hundred) and the staff are keen to help you choose — in fact, they were a little pushy about this. Unfortunately, the beer selection suffers a lot as a result, with only Peroni Nastro Azzuro & Gran Riserva, Asahi, Brahma and Nils Oscar’s God Lager to choose from. It’s a small selection but at least it includes a couple of decent beers. They’re all in the £3.50-£4 price range which is what we’d expect in a place like this.
There’s a menu for food as well, with many different kinds of cuisine, desserts and weekend breakfast. (Though we found the word tapatizers for their small dishes quite offputting!) We didn’t eat but the food looked good and reasonably priced.
The Alchemist is definitely not the place to go if you want a quiet drink or if you’re looking for a selection of good beers. But if you want a crazy cocktail night out with some decent food and great views, it’s probably just your sort of place!