Crying Wolf opened its doors for the first time on Friday night with the new bar on Cotham Hill still smelling of a fresh coat of paint.
Like a manager’s letter to fans in a football match programme or a director’s note given to theatregoers, the opening page of Crying Wolf’s first menu features a welcome from owner Louis Lewis-Smith.
“We’ve built this place, brick by brick, to create a warm and hospitable environment for you to enjoy the best of local fare and immaculate standards of service,” writes Lewis-Smith.
“Everything you see and touch here has been put together by friends and family, including some of the most fervent talents in Bristol and its surrounding areas.”
Drinks menus here will change by the season, with the current winter menu put together by the team at Dark Horse, Crying Wolf’s sister bar on Kingsmead Square in Bath.
House-made ingredients this season include a vanilla and quinine syrup, a cardamom and orange sherbet, and a saffron syrup.
There is also a clarified milk punch called Ocean of Storms, what Lewis-Smith describes as a “fascinating English tradition dating back to the 17th Century, briefly resurrected for your enjoyment”.
The new bar – located in a former Indian restaurant sandwiched between Pasta Loco and the Brewhouse & Kitchen – is spread across two floors with different music in each, tunes from downstairs occasionally permeating up to the ground floor on Friday night.
All of the seasonal cocktails here, featuring growers, brewers, distillers and suppliers from the West Country, cost £9.50; classic cocktails such as the pina colada, penicillin and paloma, are priced at £12; with the menu also split into ‘Light & Fresh’ featuring lower ABV ingredients.
(That’s if 43.2% constitutes as low ABV, such as that in the Montelobos mezcal which has been picked up from Corks of Cotham up the road before service on Friday)
Currently on tap is both a beer and a cider from Somerset: Pogo from Wild Beer and Pilton cider, served in two-third schooners; with non-alcoholic cocktails made to order for £6 and fresh juices pressed to order for £4.
There are also dozens of different spirits available on their own or with mixers; homemade sodas and a single espresso from Colonna, who have an award-winning cafe in Bath and whose roastery has recently moved from Wiltshire to Yate.
Upstairs on Friday night, a pair of sisters had drinks brought for them by a mysterious benefactor who remained anonymous; while downstairs a chef from Bellita over the road caught up with an old friend after the end of a busy shift.
A “myriad of contributions” have come together at Crying Wolf, writes Lewis-Smith in his welcome. “We hope that you enjoy your time here, and that you’ll visit us again soon.”