Bar 62’s name is a nod to the first trolley bus line in Montevideo. Housed in a historic building, the bar boasts an extensive drink menu that includes wines, international spirits, beer, and cocktails like the Pantera Rosa (vodka, piña colada, and grenadine) and the Pasión (vodka, ginger, and passion fruit). There is an equally extensive food menu that includes appetizers, salads, sushi, pastas, and meat-centric dishes.
A Bar, at the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam, aims to celebrate the Dutch capital. Hotel guests can sit on the heated terrace and sip barrel-aged cocktails from the copper and marble bar while taking in views of the Amstel River. Dutch distilleries are key components of the bar drink menu, from The Flying Dutchman rum to Zuidam dry gin to cherry and hibiscus liqueurs from Wynand Fockink. This is a great opportunity to try traditional Dutch concoctions like advocaat (a rich and creamy eggnog-like drink made from brandy, eggs, sugar, and vanilla that’s best imbibed with a spoon) and kopstootje (a "little head butt,” which is a shot of genever gin with a cold draft beer). Seasonal locally brewed ciders, Dutch gin flights, and Dutch whisky flights are also on offer, as is a menu of Nordic snacks like croquettes made with local ingredients.
The bar at this stunning restaurant is as revered for its cocktails as the dining room is for its Amazon-inspired food — both so elegant, colorful, and creatively presented that patrons almost don’t want to consume them. José Antonio Schiaffino, the father of Malabar’s chef, was instrumental in creating the cozy bar within the restaurant, which specializes in pisco cocktails. Of note is Malabar’s Pisco Punch (Pisco Quebranta, pineapple syrup, lemon juice, and water).
Perched on the top floor of the seven-story Steffl department store, SKY Bar affords breathtaking views of the capital. The American-style roof terrace has a 23-page menu of classic cocktails, spirits, and more. Celebs like Tom Jones and Samuel L. Jackson have stopped by to sip drinks and gaze at the city skyline and beyond. Live music, played Monday through Friday, sweetens the deal.
Located in Kraków’s Main Market Square, The Piano Rouge is a beloved jazz bar and restaurant. The historical Baroque-style venue dates to the mid-twelfth century and is punctuated with gold, glass, chandeliers, and lush red carpeting. Musicians gather nightly to play on The Piano Rouge’s century-old Bechstein piano. The menu features classic Polish soups, salads, pasta, and desserts. Though most of the drinks are standards — margaritas, tequila sunrises, Manhattans, white Russians, Bloody Marys — each is expertly made and served with a warm smile.
Typical Venetian cuisine and splendid cocktails are served alongside soulful jazz performances at Bacaro Jazz. A favorite of tourists, the bar receives letters of gratitude from its visitors that line the walls. Italian red and white wines dominate the drink menu, and pastas, seafood, and grilled meats are the emphasis of the food menu.
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Whisky Café is a high-end, minimalistic bar with cozy booths and comfy leather chairs that carries more than 150 scotch whiskies — though there is wine, beer, and grappa, too. The bar’s whisky tastings are a useful way to sample a range of quality spirits. Each comes with three whiskies and a bottle of spring water. The bar and cigar lounge also serve wine and food pairings, such as a glass of Château Calabre white wine from Bergerac served with a plate of duck rillettes.
Since Brewmaster Carl Setzer, co-founder of China's Craft Beer Association, and his wife, Liu Fang, opened Great Leap Brewing in tree-filled Doujiao Hutong in 2010, its goal has been to foster a Chinese craft beer culture with beers crafted from locally grown hops, barley, and other ingredients. Great Leap's most popular brew to date is the Honey Ma Gold, an easy-drinking ale enlivened by floral, mouth-tingling Sichuan peppercorns and organic honey from an apiary near the Great Wall. Unsurprisingly, it’s all about the beer here; there is one lone cocktail, the Beijing Storm, made with craft ginger soda and infused rum from CuJu, a Moroccan bistro and rummery in Beijing. There are 14 to 16 Great Leap Brewing beers on tap plus the aforementioned ginger soda and two rotating guest beers from craft breweries around the world, such as Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown, Pennsylvania; Hilden Brewing Co. of Lisburn, Northern Ireland; and 8 Wired Brewing Co. of Blenheim, New Zealand.
Bon vivants have been flocking to Le Ti since its opening on Christmas Day 1995 for the drinks, food, and lively cabaret scene. Chef/owner Carole Gruson, chef Pascal Giglio, and DJ Franck N. have created a legendary Caribbean tavern adorned with red velvet and over-the-top décor. Most notably, Le Ti possesses probably the island's best list of Champagnes.
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Frankie Solarik and his team at the intimate, dimly lit Barchef like to challenge the boundaries of a multisensory cocktail and dining experience. Nearly everything here is handmade or handcrafted, from the jars of bitters infusing behind the bar, to fresh herbs, to ice hand-chipped by the bartenders. There’s much to choose from here, classic through "molecular" — the latter of which goes well with the modernist menu. Try the signature Vanilla and Hickory-Smoked Manhattan (Crown Royal Special Reserve, vanilla-infused brandy, cherry and vanilla bitters, hickory-smoked syrup, smoked hickory, and vanilla) and the Four Seven Two (bourbon, cola bitters, fresh lime, muddled mint, and mint syrup).
A hip, modern bar in Istanbul's upscale Nişantaşı neighborhood, Biber Bar serves classic cocktails, tapas, and sushi in comfortable surroundings with a soundtrack supplied by DJs spinning lounge music. A hotspot for post-work drinks, patrons take a load off at the 30-foot-long bar or sip drinks alfresco at this charming watering hole. There is another location, up the Bosphorus a bit in Bebek, but we prefer this one for its thick-of-things location, impressive views, and popularity with the trendy crowd and expats.
One of China’s first microbreweries, Boxing Cat Brewing, opened in Shanghai in 2008 with a mission to introduce and expand the knowledge of American craft beer in Chinese culture. Brewmaster Michael Jordan (no relation to the basketball player) has been a catalyst in China’s craft beer industry, so expectedly there are 25 rotating beers on tap, including unique barrel-aged examples. The food menu, by executive chef Sean Jorgensen, focuses on modern American cuisine with American Creole and Cajun influences. Each item, like the Fist of Fury Chicken Wings, Big Daddy House Smoked BBQ Ribs, and slow-braised beef short ribs, is designed to be paired with Boxing Cat’s award-winning microbrew beers.
Perched on the 33rd floor of the Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur by Shangri-La is the polished glass and steel SkyBar. This impressive bar attracts smartly dressed locals and hotel guests alike who arrange themselves around the bar’s glimmering 85-foot-long pool. The bar food is mostly uninspired and standard-issue, but signature drinks such as the Selangor Sling (Bombay Sapphire Gin and cherry brandy liqueur shaken with pressed pineapple juice, fresh lemon juice, and a touch of Angostura bitters, then topped with soda and Benedictine D.O.M. and garnished with lemon and maraschino cherry) are standouts.
A casual neighborhood cocktail place, the Black Pearl serves cocktails, nibbles (think duck nachos), and chill music. The unpretentious bartenders mix Midori sours, Long Island iced teas, martinis, and pretty much whatever else patrons want. Be sure to check out The Attic, an upstairs space open Thursdays to Saturdays that offers table service.
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The bar at Augustiner Brewery was founded by Augustinian monks in 1621, and beer has been made in the monastery here ever since. The beer brewed here is still made with tools so old that they belong in a museum. At the monastery pub, the Braustübl — said to be the largest beer tavern in Austria — such beers as Märzen, “Lenten” (a stout served from Ash Wednesday to Easter), and “Christmas Bock beer” (available from November to December) are served directly from wooden barrels into stone mugs. Guided tours of the brewery are offered with the brewer showing visitors the “path of beer” from the brew house to bottling.
Antoine Pinto’s brasserie adventure Belga Queen is a Belgian gastronomic trip. Housed in a nineteenth-century building with stained glass windows that was the former Hôtel de la Poste and later a Belle Époque-style bank (a second location is northwest of the Belgian capital in Ghent), Belga Queen is a massive, ornate complex with an oyster bar, waterfall, beer bar, and cigar lounge where the bank’s vault used to be. A portfolio of Belgian wines (yes, wine is made in that country) and Belgian beers, including authentic Trappist brews, can be paired with Pinto’s original but unpretentious Belgian beer-infused cuisine. Try the lobster baked on a hot plate with birds beak peppers, lemon juice, and lobster oil or the Charolais beef tartare with caviar, pékèt (Belgian gin), and a cone of fries.
Bar Liguria on Avenida Providencia — one of a trio of locations in the Chilean capital — is a welcoming and casual bar and bistro with exceptional Chilean food. The wine list is extensive, and more than a dozen beers and apéritifs are on offer, as well as a range of pisco sours (the Chileans claim they, not the Peruvians, invented the cocktail). Here, the cocktail is made sans egg whites and Angostura bitters, with just Chilean pisco, pica limes, and sugar.
When members of the staff aren’t dancing on the bar tops at Salt Dog Slim’s, they are pouring steins of Dortmunder German lager or imaginative cocktails — like the signature Salt Dog Millionaire made with rum, sloe gin, apricot brandy, passion fruit syrup, and mango, orange, and lime juices. The eclectic bar features two boar heads mounted on the wall, a bathtub for a table, a fireplace, and comfy booths and sofas. The most daring guests don’t leave without eating a “suicide dog,” an American-style chili dog made with extremely hot sauce.
Walking through the door at Saxon + Parole, you might think you’re in New York, not Moscow. Designed as an exact replica of the original Saxon + Parole in New York City, the décor is inspired by the two namesake thoroughbred racing horses from the late nineteenth century named Saxon and Parole. The dining room and bar are reminiscent of the urban horse stables that these horses would have resided in, with natural wood paneling and warm orange lights.
Each season, head bartender Oxana Zhidkova and the bartending team head to the local farmers market to source fruits and vegetables for its seasonally changing cocktail menu. The knowledgeable and friendly staff craft classic cocktails with signature twists and original creations like the Cold War, a beet-thyme sous vide vodka, Campari, Dolin Vermouth, and orange bitters.
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This casual cocktail bar in Finland’s capital is known for its delicious cocktails. The staff prepares beverages with flair from Shaker’s top 30 list (and patrons who make it through the entire list get their name on a little plaque behind the bar) but are happy to prepare classic and custom drinks, too. The 40-seat bar has a wonderful terrace that is open in the summer.
Though the first Hemingway Bar in the Croatian capital is now almost more club than bar, the second, opposite the Croatian National Theatre, is reminiscent of the original opulent cocktail bar. Part of a chain of bars with outposts in Opatija, Medveja, Rijeka, and Split, the bar offers a popular signature drink called the Crocktail. Created by Croatian mixologist Marin Nekić, this is a bright red concoction made with Croatian ingredients: Zadarski Maraschino (a distilled from marasca cherries), lemon juice, marasca sour cherry juice, and arancini (Dalmatian candied orange peel), all topped with a cherry. Mojitos, martinis, and amaretto sours are also sipped by the city’s elites, who gather here to see and been seen.
Delicatessen’s homemade infusions and barrel-aged cocktails, combined with the staff’s deep connection between the bar and kitchen, have made it a must-visit in the Russian capital. The shabby-chic bar features hand-printed wallpaper, brass bars, and an eclectic collection of chairs. Elizaveta Evdokimova — global winner of the 2013 Bacardi Legacy competition for her cocktail the Knight Cup, a mix of Bacardi Superior rum, Cynar, grenadine liqueur, and simple syrup — helms the bar. Signature beverages include the cherry-bourbon barrel-aged Pedro Manhattan made with sherry instead of vermouth. Along with the cocktails, try Delicatessen’s “innovative, curious, and modern cuisine,” like the signature dish, fried calf brains with egg yolk sauce and pike roe.
By day, Xu Lounge is a comfortable spot to enjoy chef/founder Nguyen Duc Bien’s modern and traditional Vietnamese fare. By night, the lounge serves luscious cocktails and plays vibrant music provided by rotating DJs. The bar list includes wine, beer, a wide range of liquors, and cocktails listed under several headings. These include "Soul of Vietnam" (the Kentucky Kumquat: ginger-infused bourbon, black sugar, fresh kumquat, and kumquat candy), “Liquid Nitrogen Edible” (the LN2 Coconut: vodka, fresh coconut juice, and liquid nitrogen), “Muddled” (the Caprioska: vodka, limes, and sugar), “Sparkling” (the Xuparkle Cherry: cherry brandy, vodka, and sparkling wine), “Shots” (the Chilli Kumquat: vodka, kumquat candy, chili, and rau ram, which is Vietnamese cilantro), and “Martinis” (the Mia: scotch, lime, sugar cane juice, and honey).
Celebrities — including Hollywood luminaries, rock stars, and British royalty — have flocked to Basil’s Bar, Basil Charles’ laid-back bamboo-and-wood establishment, built on stilts over the Caribbean on this small private island. Copious amounts of Basil’s Bar Rum Punch are drunk each day here, as are signature cocktails like the Mustique Whammy made with Champagne, gold rum, orange juice, lemon juice, and grenadine syrup. Locally bottled Hairoun beer, vodka, whiskey, and wines are also on offer. The lively bar also hosts the only blues festival in the Caribbean, and each Wednesday night, the staff fires up the grill, preparing lobsters, suckling pig, and steak for patrons.
This classic hotel piano bar in the Kempinski Hotel Zografski at the foot of Mount Vitosha, offers a convenient, picturesque respite from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Patrons can enjoy coffee and cocktails indoors or outdoors on the sunlit terrace, which overlooks what is said to be the only Japanese garden in the Balkans. Intermezzo is particularly popular for Sunday brunch and for late-evening apéritifs.
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Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, convinced his friend Enrico Mariotti, who was working on his own bar in Florence, to call his place “Harry’s Bar,” too. Bartender Leo Vadorini helped make this Harry’s Bar, which opened in 1952, and is now an internationally recognized watering hole. Paloma Picasso and Margaux Hemingway used to spend time at the bar; Paul Newman came and took Vadorini’s bowtie in exchange for an autographed photo; and when Robin Williams spilled coffee on himself, it was the bartender who procured a T-shirt for the comedian. Artisan Murano glass shimmers on the beautiful terrace where patrons enjoy panoramic views of Florence, including the Ponte Vecchio, while sipping cocktails like the bar’s award-winning reinterpretation of the classic martini, as well as the negroni (a cocktail named for Count Camillo Negroni, who asked the bartender at nearby Caffè Giacosa to spike his favorite cocktail, the vermouth-Campari-soda water Americano, with gin).
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The bartenders at Mark Brand’s The Diamond — located on the second floor of a historic Gastown building (that was once a brothel) in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side — abide by the bar’s motto: “For the people, the craft, the past, and the present.” The extensive cocktail list is separated into “boozy,” such as the Monocle (London dry gin, Bénédictine, Cynar, French vermouth, and bitters); “refreshing,” in the case of Colin’s Lawn (sake, Lillet, lemon, mint, ginger, and sparkling wine); “delicate,” like the Lola (sparkling wine, apricot, lemon, Cuban white rum, and ginger); “proper,” like the Karlita’s Way (blanco tequila, Italian vermouth, Cocchi Americano, and Italian liqueur Averna); “notorious,” like The Gastown (London dry gin, grapefruit, Orancio Vermouth, and Ramazzotti Absinthe); and “overlooked,” like the Brandy Alexander (cognac, crème de cacao, cream, and nutmeg). Equally exciting is the food menu, which has shareable items like prawn ceviche with spicy tomato sauce, lime, avocado, cilantro, onion, and chips.
Set on Albert Docks on the banks of the River Mersey, Revolution offers classic and innovative food and drink. The terrace provides a fantastic vantage point for a sundowner, from beer and cider to wine, spirits, and cocktails. Drinking is more fun with company, so grab a few friends and order from the "sharing" drink menu, which includes classic party pitchers like the Fizzee Rascal (Absolut Original and Absolut Raspberri vodkas mixed with Southern Comfort and fruited with wild blueberries, lemons, and cranberry juice, and then fizzed with lemonade) and creative concoctions like the Swedish Pirate (large measures of Brugal and Malibu rums with Chambord and orange juice, topped with Mango and Raspberry Rekorderlig and served in a copper jug). If that’s not enough to get the party started, live music fills the bar at night, adding to the merriment.
Sushi, songs, and scenery are what make Baz Bar so remarkable. Located on the tiny island of Saint Barthélemy (better known as St. Barts) in the French West Indies, the nautical-themed bar is named for the Creole expression le bête à z’ailes, which literally means “the beast with wings.” It’s also a local name for the frigate bird — a nickname supposedly given to the bar’s owner, Jean-Marc LeFranc, because like the bird, he landed on the island (from France) and stayed. The bar often hosts musical acts from around the world; it’s common to see a motley crew of the rich, the famous, and the slightly disreputable knocking back cocktails, beer, and sake, and noshing on sushi here. Some 14 martinis are on offer, as are cocktails mixed with Havana Club 7-year-old rum and various spiked coffees. Try The Old Cuban made with Havana Club 7-year-old rum, fresh ginger, fresh mint, sugar, fresh lime juice, and a dash of Angostura bitters.
Drink pioneer Tony Conigliaro has earned a reputation for his groundbreaking approach to cocktail making and the drinking experience. The unique recipes Conigliaro has created for Cocktail Lounge — a collaboration with The Zetter Group, chef Bruno Loubet, and Conigliaro at the 13-bedroom Georgian-style The Zetter Townhouse — pay homage to Central London’s breweries and gin distilleries heritage. Old recipes for tinctures (liquid extracts made from herbs), bitters, and herbal remedies have inspired not only the cocktails, but also the homemade cordials and infusions that sit behind the apothecary-style counter. The bar is crammed full of collectibles, taxidermy, and Victoriana, and on cold nights a crackling fireplace warms the room. Chef Loubet has crafted a menu of light bites and supper bowls to pair with the bar’s seasonally changing roster of signature cocktails. Recent selections include the Bronze Faun made with rum, cocoa, and elderflower, and the Somerset Sour, a spin on the New York Sour made with apple brandy instead of whiskey.
Located in Bank Square, in the heart of the capital, Kelly’s Cellars is one of Belfast’s oldest pubs, having poured its first pint on Oct. 3, 1720. (It was here the United Irish Men met to plot the 1798 rebellion against the English rule.) Most of the original features of the pub remain, from the whitewashed walls to the uneven concrete floor. Irish musicians from all over visit the bar to play traditional music weekly. It’s not uncommon for the locals, who come for a pint of Guinness and a bowl of homemade Irish beef stew, to occasionally break into song.
Buddha Bar is a sleek tri-level bar, restaurant, and mezzanine lounge, one of a network of 16 Buddha Bars worldwide (the first opened in Paris in 1996). It also happens to be the longest and highest bar in Ukraine. Each Buddha Bar maintains a similar standard for décor, including a giant Buddha as the focal point, and the drink and food menus are nearly the same. The fully stocked bar offers a repertoire of drinks from apéritifs to whiskies and nearly everything in between.
When Kruger’s American Bar opened in 1910 as Kaiser Bar, it was one of the first cocktail bars in Vienna. As it has since the beginning, the old-school bar, with its wooden floor and heavy Chesterfield couches, serves a fine selection of 80 whiskies, 50 rums, 250 classic cocktails, and more than a dozen cigars. Bar owner/chef Mounir Hamrouni upholds the bar’s legacy while adding new creations like the Gin Gimlet Cucumber (Bombay Sapphire Gin, lime juice, and cucumber) and Kruger’s Special (Bacardi Reserva, apricot brandy, Passoã [a French passion fruit liqueur], lime, grenadine, and orange juice).
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Five floors with four bars, a roof terrace, and a nightclub make this building the ultimate adult playground. The Daily Meal’s favorite spot is the Roof Terrace, Dublin’s only open-air, heated rooftop bar, which overlooks the River Liffey. The onsite restaurant serves classic Irish and European dishes like traditional Irish stew of Wicklow lamb with root vegetables in a lamb and herb broth; Irish braised beef and Guinness casserole with mashed potatoes; and shareable bar bites like the Fitzsimons Soakage Platter with cocktail sausages, chicken strips, potato skins, onion rings, spring rolls, and spicy potato wedges, which all go well with pints of Guinness, the dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at Dublin’s St. James's Gate. The complex includes a 22-room hotel, should you need a place to crash after all-night drinking and partying.
Affectionately referred to as The Willy-T, The William Thornton is a floating bar named for William Thornton, a British-American physician, inventor, painter, and architect who was born in the British Virgin Islands and designed the United States Capitol. This remote bar and restaurant — a 100-foot steel craft that resembles a pirate ship decked in red and black, complete with skeleton graphics on the metal sidings that floats off a deserted island — is only accessible by boat. A gathering spot for charter yachts that sail around the BVIs, The Willy-T has a real party atmosphere. Patrons enjoy the signature Zeus juice (a special rum punch) and food offerings including such Continental/Caribbean fare as local fish, roti, and honey-stung chicken.
More than a bar, El Museo del Whisky boasts one of the largest whisky collections in the world with 3,400 varieties lining its walls. Most are from Scotland, though there are whiskies from France, Germany, and the United States on display, too. The piano bar’s Facebook page proclaims the bar’s motto is “El Museo del Whisky is not a bar, it is a whole factory of ideas.” Indeed. Whisky-obsessed owner Paul Bordonaba tends to the two-floor bar and its museum-like collection of whisky-related knick-knacks including mugs, bottles, glasses, the World’s Smallest Cocktail Shaker (complete with certification from the Guinness Book of Records), and a collection of porcelain owls (a collection started by Bordonaba’s father) — is truly a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
Located in the fifth floor of the Nogakudo Building, an office building in Ginza, Bar Tender is a tiny, legendary cocktail lounge. Award-winning Kazuo Uyeda is known for his fastidiousness behind the bar. Uyeda’s book, Cocktail Techniques, explains in great detail each step of the bartending process, from how to grip a shaker and hold a spoon to how to arrange bottles on the bar. He’s credited with inventing the “hard shake,” a shaking technique that maximizes aeration. The drinks Uyeda and his staff (who wear crispy white jackets and work with precise precision) make are mainly classics, though Uyeda has created a few cocktails of his own. Nicknamed “the magician of color,” Uyeda fashions such delights as the city coral, a mix of Blue Curaçao and grenadine that produces a light turquoise color reminiscent of the ocean; and the Shungyo (spring dawn), an amber-hued cocktail (the color evokes an early spring sunrise) made with sake, vodka, and green tea liqueur that is garnished with a salted cherry blossom.
Located in the old embassy row in Beyoğlu, 360 Istanbul features a 360-degree view of the city’s icons such as the Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, and Blue Mosque. The sexy, moodily lit penthouse-level bar/restaurant is located in a nineteenth-century historic apartment building. It serves such craft cocktails as the signature Your World Is 360, a concoction of cinnamon vodka, cherry liqueur, cherries, fresh green apple juice, and a secret exotic bitters blend. The bar also offers 85 cocktails, 100 bottles of wine, 10 beers, and 22 hot and iced teas. On weekends, the venue transforms into 360Club. In the summer, patrons can enjoy drinks and small Turkish meze plates like pastrami pacanga and wasabi edamame on heated terraces overlooking the Bosphorus or around the swimming pool.
Atop São Paulo's ultra-contemporary crescent-shaped Unique Hotel, this rooftop bar is as stunning as its view of São Paulo’s skyline and Ibirapuera Park. At the center of Skye Restaurant & Bar is a crimson pool with an underwater sound system; around it is a lounge area and alfresco bar. French chef Emmanuel Bassoleil has designed menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are a mix of Brazilian, French, Italian, and Japanese cuisines, which perfectly complement the many variations on the caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink made with cachaça, sugar, and fruit.
This beer garden serves craft beers and house batch cocktails in a homey, stone-walled spot in the Scottish capital. The expansive cocktail menu is divided into “Up,” with drinks like Panic at the Disco (Tanqueray gin, Gabriel Boudier pink grapefruit liqueur, green tea, lemon, egg white, and popping candy) and Elegantly Wasted (Belvedere orange, Grand Marnier, orange, fresh mint, and a whole egg); “Short,” with Too Much Too Young (Grey Goose vodka, Kahlua, half-and-half, chocolate, and marshmallows) and Blackbird Brew (Ketel One Citroen, Ketel One, mango tea syrup, lemon, and plum bitters); and “Long,” with options like Kick Ass (Grey Goose vodka, strawberries, lime, and ginger ale) and Rum Direction (Appleton V8, house batch spiced spirit, apple, lime, and grenadine).
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Named for its address, 59 Königsallee, Bar Fifty Nine is a street-level bar inside the InterContinental Düsseldorf. There are more than 150 cocktails on offer at this cozy and welcoming hotel bar. The bar also boasts dozens of the best whiskies and vodkas in town. With a selection like that, Bar Fifty Nine is one of the best bars in all of Germany.
Head bartender Alex Lee helms the bar at WOOBAR, a lounge bar by day and club by night. Like other W Hotel bars around the world, this bar is built to impress, from the cool modern interior design with plush red sofas, steel sculptures by German artist Hans Schüle, and a marble and stone fireplace, to the 46 out-of-this-world cocktail concoctions with playful names. Try the Wonderful Cosmopolitan (W-made citrus-infused vodka, orange liqueur, fresh lime, and cranberry juice topped with cotton candy). Even the bar food is fun yet sophisticated: the WOOBURGER with wagyu beef is topped with foie gras and molten Taleggio, and the smoked salmon is accompanied by grapefruit confit and eggplant caviar.
This seaside hotel sports bar is a lively affair. There are free billiards and, on most nights, DJ John Lorenz spins records at this venue tucked inside the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. The nautical-themed room features a starry ceiling, but patrons can see the real stars out on the terrace on clear nights. As the name suggests, Blue Gin Bar offers a variety of gins and gin-based cocktails. Creations by Benoit Chevalier include the signature Girly (Martini Rosé, cream of peach, ginger ale, mint, strawberry, and raspberry) and the Golden Julep (Havana Club rum, ginger ale, home-made spice infusion, orange, and mint), but there’s also a healthy selection of Champagne cocktails, martinis, and mojitos, too.
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It’s all about the signature cocktails at the quaint Ohla Boutique Bar, and there are 35 to choose from (several are award-winners). Head bartender Giacomoloris Giannotti considers the Bloomsbury Fizz (gin fizz with basil and port) and the 3 Magic Number (a multi-sensory smoked Old-Fashioned) to be the bar’s most iconic cocktails, but his signature drink is the Mediterranean Treasure, winner of Spain’s World Class Bartender Competition 2014.
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The timeless, Spanish-inspired Bar Isabel is reminiscent of taverns in Barcelona and San Sebastian. There’s much to offer parched patrons, including a rotating six-tap selection of draught beer and cider from local breweries, 28 bottled and tinned beers, 12 sparkling wines, 33 white wines, 38 red wines, 15 sweet wines and sherries, and 16 cocktails. The signature drink is the Baraganna, the house take on a margarita, which includes charred pineapple and jalapeño-infused blanco tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and sage-infused simple syrup. There are nightly specials as well as a "we choose your own adventure" option where, with some guidance from the guest, the bartenders produce a vast number of off-menu offerings.
Named for the town in southwest England, Bristol Bar is an English-themed bar decked out in modern décor. From a massive floor-to-ceiling photomural of the London Bridge to a glass wall housing rows of artisanal gin bottles, the bar is a hip spot to sip English-style drinks and tuck into hearty British food. It’s a popular spot for brunch and English breakfast. Ellie Baker has curated a portfolio of wines and gins, ensuring that patrons enjoy a tipple or two.
What makes a bar one of the best in the world? This isn’t just what we’re examining in this article, but also what Licoreria Limantour manager/bartender Jose Luis Leon wants to know in order to make his successful bar even more popular — hence his goal of visiting as many of the “top bars” as possible. However, most people who stop into Limantour will probably see this as a slight waste of time, as the bar has already achieved this status itself. Still, Leon is constantly changing and adapting, bringing in newer and younger talent while still serving the crafty, well-executed cocktails that got him to where he is today. These range from the inventive to the old standbys, or some mix of the two, like a martini made with tequila. Limantour’s motto, “The New Old Days,” couldn’t be more fitting.
Soleil Rouge is a dimly lit wine bar that serves a monthly rotating card of Spanish wines along with tapas like ham croquettes and meatballs. Patrons can enjoy a sampling of red and white wines and tapas from a communal table, a VIP area, and a "cave" that seats 25 to 50 people. Those who find a wine they like can buy additional bottles to take home.
Step back in time at this colonial mansion on the corner of Boulevard el-Mansour Eddahbi and Avenue Imam Malik. The 1920s vibe abounds at Grand Café de la Poste with wooden blinds, wicker chairs, potted plants, and crisp white linen tablecloths. A French-Moroccan menu complements the apéritifs served indoors and on the terrace.
Le Costes Bar at Hôtel Costes is a lavish but intimate space created by French interior designer Jacques Garcia. Situated in Paris’ Fashion District, on the Rue Saint-Honoré, the Italian Baroque-style bar is often frequented by celebrities who enjoy pricey classic cocktails — from mojitos to Long Island iced teas — while they relax in the cozy courtyard or indoors on lush velvet couches and listen to legendary resident DJs spin lounge music inside.
In its early days, the Foreign Correspondents Club was one of only a handful of places to eat in Cambodia’s capital, which made it popular with journalists and aid workers who gathered each night to drink and swap stories. As it was in the beginning, the colonial-style bar is a cornerstone of Phnom Penh’s riverfront. Still popular with journalists and expats, the FCC Phnom Penh, like its counterpart in Siem Reap, is popular with tourists, too. The terrace in Phnom Penh is a phenomenal spot from which to watch the sunset over the Tonle Sap River. Local lagers, strong mojitos, martinis, margaritas, and the like — along with hearty bar food including staples like beer-battered fish and chips and local Cambodian dishes — keep the FCC bustling at all hours of the day and night.
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Chef Mark Clayton is onto something at the shabby, open-air, legendary Da Conch Shack (No. 101 in our 101 Best Restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2016) just off Blue Hills Road. Da Conch Shack is the type of place beach bums yearn for, offering fresh, tasty seafood and potent rum-laced drinks with a punch. This quintessential beach bar, right on the sand, carries 40 different rums — some for mixing, some to be sipped. The signature cocktail is the Rum Conchknocker, named for the method folks use to get a conch out of its shell.
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The swanky cocktail lounge in Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel is a glamorous yet cozy spot for a cocktail. The Lobby Lounge and Rawbar features an inviting fireplace, delicate crystal chandeliers, and a seven-seat raw bar where chef Takayuki Omi and his team handcraft sushi rolls. From classic cocktails to creative seasonal twists on old favorites, the drink menu has something for everyone including non-drinkers who can indulge in a range of mocktails. Options include the award-winning August's Angel (Hennessey VS Cognac, blackberries, and creme Yvette). Live music every night completes the package.
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Opened in September of 2012, Le Bar du Bristol in Le Bristol hotel is sumptuously appointed with dramatic silk curtains revealing English-style club décor with pine-paneled walls, Versailles oak parquet floors, a marble fireplace, and a specially commissioned mural by artist Thierry Bruet — all this juxtaposed with modern elements like a nightly video projection and DJs who spin on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The 26-year-old head bartender, Maxime Hoerth (who was awarded the title of Best French Bartender back in 2011), serves exclusive Champagne, wines, and signature cocktails. His most famous offering is Hoerth’s Bristol Old Fashioned, which changes ingredients seasonally. Variations include the Winter Old Fashioned, an ode to the bartender’s childhood Christmas memories in Alsace, a drink mixed with homemade mulled wine syrup, strawberry liqueur, Grand Marnier, and a cinnamon stick; the British Old Fashioned n°3, a refreshing springtime mix of Calvados Pays D’Auge, homemade pear and apple cider syrup, and peach and orange bitters; and the Bristol “Irish” Old Fashioned n°5, a mix of Redbreast Irish whiskey, homemade caramel and Guinness syrup made with Werther’s Originals candy, and Amargo Chuncho bitters. The bar also offers more than 400 classic cocktails and 400 types of spirits, including 40 whiskies.
Technically a bar with no name, it’s identifiable by a lantern and a burgundy awning at 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington. Since opening in 2009, this 1950s film noir-inspired bar has garnered many awards. From the folks behind the Cocktail Lounge at The Zetter Townhouse, the bar uses eclectic ingredients and techniques sourced from the company’s Drink Factory, a research and development laboratory of like-minded bartenders founded by Tony Conigliaro. The Drink Factory was once housed at The Bar With No Name, but has since expanded to its own space near London’s Broadway Market. Classic cocktails are available upon request, but it’s more enticing to try innovative cocktails from the seasonal menu, such as the signature Prairie Oyster, a deconstructed Bloody Mary served in a ceramic oyster shell. Other recent cocktails that caught The Daily Meal’s attention are the Death in Venice (Campari with grapefruit bitters topped with prosecco and an orange twist) and the Aerial (distilled bergamot, an aromatic plant from India called ambrette, and dried lemon served straight from the bottle).
El Floridita Restaurant
Since 1817, El Floridita has been the place for drinks, food, and conversation in the heart of Old Havana. Ernest Hemingway wrote the draft of For Whom the Bell Tolls and imbibed many sweet, citrusy daiquiris here (the exact chair Papa sat in remains chained off at the bar). In fact, Catalan Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, who took ownership of the bar in 1918, is credited with having invented the daiquiri. Cantineros (bartenders) today continue to serve the bar’s famous cocktails — not just the Floridita Daiquiri (a blend of Havana Club rum, lemon juice, white sugar, ice, and maraschino) but also the Papa Hemingway (a blend of Havana Club rum, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, ice, and maraschino).
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Waiting in line to drink is not fun and definitely not our idea of a good time (what is this, Manhattan?) But every single day, Australians and Sydney tourists alike will queue up at what many consider to be the best bar in the entire country, The Baxter Inn. It might be the uber-attentive bartenders. It might be the James Irvine-crafted cocktails. It might be the awe-inspiring whiskey room. Or maybe it’s something more that lands this bar on numerous “best of” lists year after year. Only one way to find out.
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Owners Raya Audet and Nigel Springthorpe created Alibi Room, a modern tavern that serves 50 local craft beers and a rotating cask selection paired with chef Greg Armstrong’s organic and locally sourced food. The majority of craft beers come from British Columbia, like Four Winds “Phaedra” Rye Wheat IPA and Red Truck’s India Pale Ale. The wine list is equally impressive. The wines offered here include boutique and organically grown wines like Tantalus Riesling and Cedar Creek Proprietor’s Blend, both from Kelowna, British Columbia. The cocktails are inventive, too, like the Nitro Fizz (Strega, ginger liqueur, nitro beer, and soda) and The Green Run (bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, cardamom bitters, and IPA foam float). Housed in a heritage building along the rail yard, the bar is a welcoming and homey place to enjoy such hearty fare as mushroom and hazelnut pâté with truffle oil, garlic confit, and crostini; barbecue pork belly “samwich” with beer braised onions, French fries, and jalapeño slaw; and roasted Rossdown Farms chicken breast with black garlic jus, nugget potatoes, and fall vegetables.
Once known to house the world’s longest bar, this hot spot inside the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund has since been stripped of the title, but it retains the debonair feel. Long Bar still has the vibe of its former life as a British gentleman’s club — the 39-foot bar serves up martinis and other classic cocktails, while soft gray leather seating and carved dark wood create the right ambiance for enjoying the regular live jazz. There’s an oyster bar, Cuban cigars, and classic Prohibition-era Waldorf Astoria cocktails along with signature drinks only available at the Long Bar like the Shanghai Club (gin, goji berry liqueur, raspberry and almond sugar, fresh lemon, and egg white) and Collins on the Bund (bourbon, Long Bar five-spice syrup, fresh lemons, and soda water). For added indulgence, try the whiskey flight, comprising single-malt Scotch whiskies from the Lowlands and the Highlands.
Long off the radar, the quaint Library Bar at the Central Hotel Dublin City is gaining popularity thanks to a number of awards and accolades. Tucked away on the historic hotel’s first floor (the hotel was established in 1887), the carpeted bar features coffee tables, hundreds of books, and welcoming armchairs — the perfect spot for a pint of Guinness (the bar has won awards for its Guinness) or a Jameson on the rocks and relaxing with friends or a great book. The bar has recently added “Gin Central” with a large selection of gin cocktails, and there’s gastropub food like pan-fried dumplings with blue cheese cream, candied walnuts, fig, and arugula. Be sure to seek out Brendan O’Sullivan, the bar’s charming head bartender, who not only pours arguably the most perfect pint of Guinness, but also has plenty of stories to tell.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, you must visit Rick’s Café. You won’t find gambling in the real-life version of the mythical piano bar from the 1942 film Casablanca, but you will find the same charm. Set in an old courtyard-style mansion, the bar/tourist destination was created by former American embassy worker Kathy Kriger in 2004. Many features have been replicated from the film, including curved arches, a sculpted bar, and grand balconies and balustrades. A few details have been added as well, such as banquettes and four fireplaces. Each night, pianist Issam Chabaa plays French tunes, Spanish ballads, and, of course, “As Time Goes By.”
Formerly called The Celebrities Bar for its reputation as a watering hole for the rich and famous, this grand hotel bar has been a high-profile hangout since its opening in 1913, especially during the annual Cannes Film Festival. The Belle Époque-style bar features elegant and chic décor. Chef Laurent Bunel serves a snack menu inspired by local cuisine. Head bartender Franck Gamba mixes a variety of cocktails including one of The Carlton Bar’s most famous: the Lady Carlton, a Champagne and strawberry cocktail created in honor of an English woman who lived in the InterContinental Carlton Cannes for 25 years.
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Located in the posh Knightsbridge neighborhood, Blue Bar is a celeb hotspot with a chill vibe that matches its color scheme. Irish designer David Collins decked out the Blue Bar in a striking blue color palette punctuated by cool Lutyens furniture, an impressive white onyx bar, and a black crocodile-print leather floor. Patrons can choose from 50 whiskies and a range of wines, Champagnes, and cocktails. Head bartender Stefano Zampieri and his team mix classic cocktails and innovative creations like the Old Roger (El Dorado 12-year-old, Heering Cherry, homemade eucalyptus and wormwood cordial, lemon, and absinthe served in a frosted julep cup); the Blue Buzz (Ketel One fused with Szechuan peppercorns, Galliano, and kiwi); and the Witch (pineapple flambé, Rittenhouse rye, fresh lime, homemade sandalwood, saffron syrup, and Angostura bitters). If you don’t see a drink you fancy, Zampieri will create a bespoke cocktail for you, and you can even buy the John Jenkins & Sons glass to take home.
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Set under the arcades of the Procuratie Nuove in the Piazza San Marco, Venice’s oldest café was opened as Venezia Trionfante by Floriano Francesconi in 1720. Today, Caffe Florian serves not only coffee and tea, but also wine and spirits like rosolio, an Italian liqueur derived from rose petals. Lord Byron, Dickens, and Rousseau are just a few of the litany of luminaries who have sat in one of the café’s rooms to sip wine and enjoy light snacks.
A traditional Irish pub, The Crown Liquor Saloon has a rich history. Owned by the National Trust and carefully managed by Nicholson's Pubs, it was restored to its full Victorian glory in 1981 and again in 2007. Dating back to 1826, it was first known as The Railway Tavern. Its current décor is reminiscent of a church, with its stained glass windows and snugs that resemble confessional boxes, complete with gunmetal plates for striking matches and antique bells. The snugs were added in 1885 for patrons who wanted to drink in private. The ornate bar is replete with a primrose yellow, red, and gold ceiling, mosaic tile floor, brocaded walls, ornate mirrors, and etched glass. The ales are equally alluring. The bar is Cask Marque accredited and has an in-house Cask Master — an ale expert who ensures that only the finest ales are served. Choices include Saint Nick’s, with notes of spice, raisins, and Christmas cake; White Witch, a fruity-flavored ale with a touch of citrus, flowers, and peppery spice; and Legally Blonde, a vibrant and citrusy ale with herbal, floral, and buttery notes.
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A bar at the forefront of innovation, Artesian is a wonderful place to sip innovative cocktails and explore what is ahead. Though it is possible to order classic cocktails like the Bloody Mary and the daiquiri, the excitement rests in the annual “Unfolding and Exploring” drink menus from head bartender Alex Kratena, which allow “guests to ‘unfold’ new experience and ‘explore’ unusual ingredients.” Consider examples such as the Magician (Becherovka, cherry, smoke, and jasmine), the I Feel Pretty (frankincense, bergamot, mandarin, raspberry, and rice), or the signature concoction, the Digidiva (Absolut Elyx, cypress syrup, and Aqua di Cedro).
Perched on a bluff above a white sand beach at the One&Only Ocean Club, Dune offers the perfect backdrop for a sundowner. In addition to 150 fine vintage wines and Champagnes, the bar serves two dozen cocktails, many prepared with a variety of specialty rums, from local John Watling to Haiti's Barbancourt. The signature cocktail is the One&Only Special (1 ounce of dark rum, 1 ounce of coconut rum, a quarter ounce of banana liqueur, and 1 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice poured over ice). Making the deal even more enticing are the French-Asian food pairings like steamed shrimp salad prepared under the supervision of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Regulars come looking for popular bartender Bruce Richards, whose loyal fans ask for his signature cocktail, the Bruce Almighty (lime juice, ginger, Bacardi Limón, Captain Morgan, cranberry juice, and sugar cane).
The quintessential beach bar, Rick’s Cafe serves “tropitinis” (fruit-flavored martinis) and offers cabana packages to beachgoers. Founded by Richard Hershman in April 1974, Rick’s was the first public bar and restaurant of its kind to open on West End Cliffs, a once-sleepy fishing village. Over the years, Rick’s has been rebuilt after being destroyed by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Today, chef Phillip “Sheddy” Williams serves delicious bar food like jerk chicken skewers, Rick’s famous broiled lobster, and escoveitch snapper, while the bar staff serve specialty drinks like Jamaican Me Crazy (three types of rum, banana liqueur, and pineapple juice) and Category 5 Hurricane (Appleton rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, and grenadine).
Le Bar Américain at Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo — also home to Alain Ducasse's posh Le Louis XV dining room — is an elegant, old-school piano bar. Decked out in rich wood, sumptuously appointed leather armchairs, and soft lighting, the bar also has a romantic terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean — the perfect spot for a nightcap with a side of jazz piano.
The casual hotel bar Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar at Rosewood San Miguel de Allende offers magnificent views of the town’s historic district, including the neo-Gothic La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. International tapas are the perfect complement to the alfresco bar’s tamarind and pomegranate margaritas, and Mexican dishes like baby squid in garlic mojo sauce and suckling pig tacos with salsa verde, which go perfectly with local beer.
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Anyone who says Europeans don’t care about ice has clearly never been to Linje Tio. They take ice so seriously there that they actually set up an ice company to maintain consistent and high quality. But don’t expect snootiness here; Linje Tio is as relaxed as it can get. After all, bars are supposed to be fun. So pull up a stool and enjoy watching the bartenders craft your cocktail up close. With a menu that changes seasonally, you can order something different each time… with confidence.
Named in honor of the late Richard "Dick" Stanley Yeatman, who ran the esteemed Taylor-Fladgate port house in the mid-twentieth century (the firm owns The Yeatman hotel, where the bar is situated), Dick’s Bar at The Yeatman serves all the usual cocktails, but the real draw is a seasonally changing list of some 82 Portuguese wines, from light whites to rich vintage ports, all available by the glass. With enviable views of the Douro River and Porto, the vibe is that of a private club; live music on Friday and Saturday evenings adds to the ambience, and the knowledgeable staff helps patrons select perfect wine pairings to complement the light menu.
That’s right, like many bars on this list (and on our personal favorite list of bars), Speak Low is yet another speakeasy. Then again, anyone who appreciates a good bar knows that there’s no such thing as “yet another speakeasy.” You’ll find this Shanghai spot inside the Ocho Bar Tools shop, but that’s all we’re saying. Your search will be worth it, as it will yield three unique drinking experiences in order to please guests of all kinds. There’s a no-nonsense bar on the second floor for casual but respectable drinks in a relaxed setting, but the skill level is dialed up on the elegant third floor. Additionally, there’s a more intimate space behind another secret entrance, but that’s for members and invited guests only. Don’t scoff at this policy though, as once you get inside, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.
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This tiny, humble cantina in western Mexico is home to Don Javier Delgado Corono and his Batanga tequila cocktail. La Capilla (which means “The Chapel”), the oldest bar in town, is lit by fluorescent bulbs, with a plywood bar lined with barstools and a smattering of plastic tables and chairs. Tequila aficionados and local tequila distillers come not for the décor but for the enviable assortment of tequilas and refreshing Batanga (tequila, fresh lime juice, and Coca-Cola with a salted rim).
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This storied pub in London’s Belgrave Square originally opened to serve as the officers’ mess for the First Royal Regiment of Foot Guards in 1720. It opened to the public under the name The Guardsman in 1818, after which King George IV was known to frequent the place. Later renamed The Grenadier, the pub is believed to be haunted by a Grenadier Guard named Cedrick, who, legend says, was beaten to death for cheating at a game of cards. No one knows when the beating occurred, but it is surmised to have taken place in September, as the supernatural activity at the bar seems to increase around this time. (Past visitors have attached money to the ceiling in an attempt to pay off the slain Grenadier’s debt; money from around the world dating back to 1914 now covers the entire ceiling.) Locals and visitors alike gather at this red, white, and blue pub, tucked down Wilton Mews, for hand-pumped lagers and ales like Courage Best, Morland Old Speckled Hen, and Marston's Pedigree. Those seeking something stronger can enjoy a Bloody Mary, the only cocktail on the menu. It’s not only the supernatural that visit this bar; the likes of David Beckham, Madonna, and Miley Cyrus have enjoyed a pint or two here.
Foxy’s is a highlight of this roughly 5-mile-long island. Opening each day at 9:30 a.m., the bar makes its own rum, Foxy's Firewater, to use in signature drinks like the Sly Fox (with margarita mix over ice with a dash of bitters) and the Dread Fox (with lime, sour mix, and cranberry juice over ice). The bar uses Caribbean water to microbrew its own beer, which is served at exactly 36 degrees Fahrenheit. On Fridays and Saturdays, the staff fire up the “grillzebo” for a traditional Caribbean barbecue complete with chicken, ribs, and mahi mahi. Don’t be surprised if there’s a concert — the likes of The Beach Boys and Shaggy have both performed on the outdoor stage here.
American Jerry Thomas wrote what many consider to be the Bible of bartenders, Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant’s Companion, published in 1862. Leonardo Leuci paid homage to Jerry Thomas by opening this private, members-only speakeasy in 2010. Pre-Prohibition cocktails are expertly crafted at The Jerry Thomas Project, but you won’t get any unless you know the password to gain entry. (Hint: The password is an answer to a question, which changes often. A recent question was: “By what name was the ‘Cocktail’ of the Italian Futurist movement in the 1930s called?” Answer: We have no idea.)
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Yes, it's something of a tourist trap; yes, it's usually crowded and noisy (with non-Venetians often in the majority); yes, the service can be desultory if you're not well-known; and yes, it's stunningly expensive (around $80, for instance, for the famous carpaccio — which was invented here, but still…) On the other hand, it is Harry's Bar, a landmark, a must. If you don't at least stop in — even just for an icy cold martini, or maybe a bellini (also invented here) — it's almost as though you haven't really been to Venice. And the truth is, if you're in the “1 percent,” or are pretending for the evening as if you are, the atmosphere here can be truly magical and the food can be really good. And, hey, Orson Welles, Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin, and Ernest Hemingway drank here, so that should be motivation enough.
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The trend of calling hotel bars "American" began in London’s West End in the 1930s as a way of attracting increasing numbers of North American travelers. (Because who wouldn’t want to travel all the way across the ocean to do the same things you do at home?) The American Bar at The Stafford London continues to attract Americans and others who enjoy classic cocktails like the Manhattan, the Sidecar, and the Martini, crafted here by head bartender Benoit Provost, the protégé of the late Charles Guano, who was head bartender for 42 years. Many have demonstrated their gratitude by leaving behind memorabilia. The first gift was a wooden carving of an American eagle, and the expansive collection now includes signed celebrity photographs, a ceiling collection of baseball caps, and other assorted knick-knacks.
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This bar in the legendary Hôtel Ritz has been a self-proclaimed “expert in the ‘art of partying’ ever since its grand opening on June 1, 1889.” It’s the bar that Ernest Hemingway famously “liberated” after the Allied troops declared victory on Aug. 24, 1944, after booting out the Nazi officials who had been using the Ritz Paris as their headquarters. Hemingway was a close friend of the Ritz family and spent much time enjoying cocktails, so it was fitting that the Hemingway Bar was subsequently named for him.
The Gibson has only been around for a year, but it has had no problem getting people’s attention and keeping it. After all, this spot was formed by two people (Rusty Cerven and Marian Beke) who left jobs at The Connaught and Nightjar — two bars that have also found their way onto this list. Although the space is small and the décor is reserved, the drinks will blow your mind, especially with some of the ridiculous garnishes used. Then again, what else would you expect from beverages containing ingredients such as molten chocolate, quail eggs, and balsamic vinegar syrups?
The Clumsies was founded on the principle that bartenders should not only be judged on their impeccable execution of cocktail recipes, but also on the way they connect with customers. When two bartenders who shared this sentiment met each other, and then a few years later hooked up with three enthusiastic and industrious businessmen in the hospitality sector, The Clumsies was born. It’s clear that this bar loves catering to its customers, as the ambiance changes with the day, as coffee and pastries turns to light lunches, and eventually transitions into terrific cocktails. Still looking for that special element to convince you that The Clumsies should be your new home base? Consider the fact that this bar also contains a space called The Room, which features a fireplace, a bookcase, a billiard table, and vinyl records. So, when can we move in?
It’s fitting that this Singapore bar would call itself Manhattan considering the level of sophistication and service that guests can expect. (Without the crowds and lack of elbow room, of course.) Want to try the Manhattan here? An antique trolley will pull up to your table so it can be prepared tableside. Want an obscure ingredient in your drink, like squid-ink sea salt or gourmet hot sauces? They have all that, too. Speaking of ingredients, the Bloody Marys on Sundays aren’t to be missed either, as the whole room turns into a DIY station. And if you step away to use the restroom at any time, your thoughtful bartender will place your drink in a chilled cabinet until you return. Now that’s service.
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The epitome of a British cocktail bar transplanted to Spain — with sumptuously appointed leather, wood, and brass accents — Dry Martini served only dry Martinis when it opened more than three decades ago. Now owned by Javier de las Muelas, one of the top cocktail masters in the world, the bar serves a variety of cocktails in addition to its eponymous gin and vermouth Martinis. In February 2002, Speakeasy, a self-described “clandestine” restaurant and “brainstorming factory” where patrons need a password to enter the establishment, opened next door and is well worth a visit.
More than a century after it opened in Paris, Harry’s New York Bar continues to attract a crowd. Hemingway, Sartre, Bogart, Rita Hayworth, and even (according to Ian Fleming) James Bond have all bellied up to the aged mahogany bar thirsty for its famous cocktails. The legendary watering hole was opened on Thanksgiving Day, 1911, by an American jockey who longed for a good cocktail in Paris. He convinced a friend of his who owned a bar in New York City to literally dismantle it and transport it to France. The Manhattan-style bar has been a gathering place for Americans and others ever since. Each election year since 1924, the iconic bar has hosted a straw poll in which only Americans can participate. The straw vote has been reliable in all but two elections, adding to the bar’s legacy. The roster of carefully crafted cocktails invented here have become classics and include (probably) the Bloody Mary (vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcester sauce, and salt and pepper), Harry’s Pick Me Up (Grand Marnier, cognac, Champagne, and orange juice), and the Sidecar (cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice).
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28 HongKong Street has helped shape the cocktail scene in Singapore as they were one of the first speakeasy bars in the city. They have a very sexy and incredibly innovative cocktail menu that you should delve deep into. Order an Old Fashioned, as the bartenders will make it well with any base you’d like. Their boutique spirits are worth trying, too — so be sure to ask for recommendations.
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Hidden behind a secret door between a police station and a bistro, Buck & Breck can be accessed only by pressing a buzzer marked “bar.” Gonçalo de Sousa Monteiro and Holger Groll’s bar is named for the 1856 U.S. Democratic presidential ticket of James Buchanan and John C. Breckinridge, and the subsequent Champagne cocktail named after the running mates. The focal point of this speakeasy is a square, black wooden bar surrounded by barstools. A bartender stands at the table preparing cocktails for the 14 guests that the tiny bar can accommodate. The bar menu’s historically inspired cocktails include bases of dry gin, whisky, and brandy, as well as Champagne, though requests are accepted. Of course, there’s the eponymous house special Buck & Breck that consists of Champagne, cognac, absinthe, and bitters — which is not to be missed.
This speakeasy, hidden under a flower shop, has a name, décor, and menu evocative of the neighborhood’s immigrant legacy. The place was founded by Aline Vargas, Renato Giovannoni, and Julian Diaz, who have created an expansive cocktail menu divided into six sections: Italy, Spain, England, France, Poland, and Criollo (South and Central America). Each classic cocktail at Floreria Atlántico has a twist and incorporates products that are reflective of modern Argentina. The food menu is equally impressive, featuring Spanish, Italian, and English cuisine cooked on a vintage parrilla grill.
Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, Callooh Callay has an eclectic, eccentric style. Upon entering, guests are treated to an eyeful of mirrored walls and plush purple furnishings, seating created from two halves of a bathtub, and disco balls. Callooh Callay is three pubs in one: The Bar, a contemporary hideaway that welcomes parched passersby; The Lounge, a reservations-only bar-within-a-bar that is accessed by walking through a wardrobe à la the C.S. Lewis fantasy novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and the JubJub Club, a members-only upstairs bar. Enjoy head bartender Simon Toohey’s 18 current cocktails, among them the Pea-ter Rabbit (Tanqueray gin, green pea- and anise-infused Noilly Prat, carrot shrub, and a dash of Pernod) and the Guac’ to the Future (El Jimador Tequila mixed into a cocktail with guacamole). Save room for the nibbles and snacks like honey-glazed pigs in blankets with whole-grain mustard; fish and chips with tartar sauce; and falafel sliders with lemon, cilantro, and chile mayo accompanied by hummus.
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As the name suggests, the drinks at this vintage chic bar — opened by award-winning bartenders Lydia Soedadi and Boudewijn Mesritz in 2012 — each come perfectly crafted with homemade ingredients served in vintage vessels and stories of their inspiration printed on the menu. Indeed, many tales have been told at Tales & Spirits, which is housed in a multi-level building from 1575 with exposed brick walls, original wooden beams, and an antique bank counter from 1920s London.
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Happiness Forgets has found so much success in its first two years that it has already spawned a second bar, Original Sin. The jury is still out on the new one (so far, so good), but it’s clear that people won’t have a hard time remembering their experience at Happiness Forgets. Unless they drink a few too many of the bar’s beers, wine, or cocktails — which, for the record, are delightfully unpretentious. Don’t worry about being greeted with a menu containing ultra-complex, mystery ingredients here; just good drinks made well. As the bar’s motto says: “Great Cocktails. No Wallies.”
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Walking through the doors of Ruby, housed in an embassy building circa 1740, patrons instantly feel welcome. The seasonal libations take a Nordic approach to classic cocktails like the Rapscallion, which head bartender Nick Kobbernagel Hovind describes as “an unabashedly smoky, Scottish version of the Manhattan.” It contains Talisker single malt whiskey stirred over sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry with a Ricard pastis rinse. Hovind, who won the Heering Sling Award 2014 in Berlin, can be found behind the marble bar, constantly tinkering with new concoctions. There’s no food here, but bar snacks like salted nuts, green mammut olives, and crisp or baby pickled peaches keep patrons sated.
Getting good Mexican food in Paris might seem like a tall order to some, unless you simply head to one of the best bars in the city, where this quality cuisine is conveniently located. Yes, Candelaria has good eats, but the drinks are the real stars here — especially if you’re a fan of tequila- and mescal-based drinks such as the Amor & Deudas (tequila blanco, Aperol, crème de menthe, banana and jalapeño syrup, and a sweet & sour coconut rim). Additional proof that the drinks rule here: Candelaria accepts reservations for the bar, but not for the taqueria.
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Operation Dagger will send you on quite the treasure hunt. The only sign to the bar is a vampire-like scrawl at the entrance before you find yourself in a dark corridor and stairwell that leads you into a unique bar experience in Singapore. Much of the spirits have been distilled locally, so instead of familiar brands lining the bar, you’ll see apothecary-like bottles with labels scrawled by hand. You’ll want to try the Gomashio, a black sesame distilled cocktail with citrus notes.
After mentioning it in several articles about the Mondrian London at Sea Containers, it’s about time Dandelyan made its way into a list of the best bars. The brainchild of Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Ryan Lyan, winner of the Best International Bartender of the Year at the Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirit Awards 2015 in New Orleans) and long-time business partner Iain Briffiths, this bar has been racking up accolades of its own ever since opening in 2014. And why not? This place is a cocktail-lover’s dream. With an emphasis on botany, Dandelyan offers inventive cocktails that use ingredients most patrons have probably never heard of — but will instantly love. Case in point: the 13th Century Boy, made with gin, palm & pine embalming cordial, and mummified citrus.
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One of London's coolest places for cocktails in London is Nightjar, a self-described “hidden den of deco glamour.” There are tin ceilings, backlit mirrors, and displays of absinthes, vintage spirits, and bar tools galore in this 1920s- and 1930s-style bar. There are 48 cocktails with remarkable garnishes on bar manager Marian Beke’s menu. Try the London Mule (Tanqueray gin, Kamm & Sons [a British apéritif], and Galangal Beer) or the Toronto (a twist on the Old Fashioned, with Woodford Reserve bourbon, Fernet Branca, and a smoked cotton candy garnish) alongside Mediterranean small plates like jamón ibérico croquettes and octopus carpaccio, complemented with live music every night.
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Little Red Door is a late-night haven in the City of Lights. Exposed brick walls, reminiscent of a New York apartment, and colorful furniture surround the center bar. Each drink on the menu is created in-house and the cocktail list of a dozen or so drinks changes twice per year. The autumn/winter menu includes the Maracutaya (Calle 23 Blanco tequila, passion fruit syrup fermented for three or four days using an American ale yeast, and Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters topped with Petite Princesse Bière de Table brewed at the Brasserie Thiriez in Northern France — which adds a hoppy dryness to the cocktail).
Named for the Western hand-slapping greeting, High Five, a cozy, friendly neighborhood bar, features a variety of precisely made seasonal fruit concoctions and signature cocktails with an Asian twist. Favorites include the Ceremony (J's Whisky, matcha green tea liqueur, green tea liqueur, and homemade matcha green tea bitters); the Curtain Call (J’s Whisky, plum liqueur, ruby port, and syrup); and the Innocent Love (dry gin, vermouth Bianco, lime, and homemade gin syrup).
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It’s a bit difficult to find Bramble Bar, but well worth the effort. The cocktail menus at this dimly lit basement-level speakeasy — bound with the covers of old hardcover books — contains forgotten classics like the celery sour from Tom Bullock’s The Ideal Bartender (1917), originally made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, pineapple juice, and a spoonful of bitters but no alcohol. (Today, the bar staff adds Beefeater gin and pasteurized egg whites.) Bramble Bar is home to original cocktails, too, like the Red Rum (Bacardi eight-year-old rum, Hayman’s Sloe Gin, fresh lemon juice, redcurrants, and vanilla sugar syrup).
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Inspired by English Cubist and Irish 1920s art, Mayfair’s Connaught Bar was designed by the late Irish interior designer David Collins to reflect Dickensian glamour with modern flair (e.g., textured walls in silver leaf overlaid with dusty pink, pistachio, and lilac hues). The cocktail menu, which fuses tradition and innovation, provides a little history lesson about each beverage. The bar brags that it is the only one in the United Kingdom to offer two particular expressions, or versions, of Lagavulin and Dalmore whisky. Perhaps the most famous offering at the Connaught Bar is the Connaught Martini Trolley, which makes, arguably, the perfect martini.
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A trip to London isn’t complete without a stop at the American Bar at The Savoy. This legendary hotel bar has had some famous bartenders who created cocktails that became part of bar menus the world over including Ada Coleman, who invented the Hanky Panky (a kind of martini made with sweet Italian vermouth, dry gin, two dashes of Fernet Branca, and garnished with an orange peel) and Harry Craddock, inventor of the White Lady (a sidecar made with gin), and the author of The Savoy Cocktail Book, a classic tome full of 750 recipes. It’s worth noting that World’s 50 Best recently named American Bar the No. 2 bar in the world.