Yes, the first bar on our list is in Berlin, a city that is notably not on the seaside. But Berliners have made this little strip of the Spree River into a beach, complete with sand, beach chairs, an open-air bar, and a pool that actually floats in the river. In the winter it remains open as a “wellness retreat,” with the pool heated, and with two saunas. Oh, and they have table tennis. Well done, Berlin.
The Ayana Resort and Spa decided that when they built their beach bar, they’d build it on the jagged rocks overlooking Jimbaran Bay. They keep the lights low, so the place is probably most popular for watching the unparalleled sunsets and then stargazing when it gets dark. While the main attraction is the view, the drinks — particularly the martinis — are all highly regarded as well. It ranks sixth on CNN’s list (and made it onto Fodor’s as well) but CNNGo also named it the best hotel bar, period, in the world.
The trendy, culture-rich island of Hvar in Croatia’s neck of the Adriatic Sea is a relatively chill beach bar by day, but once the sun sets, it turns into a pretty killer dance club. The bar is known for piña coladas and margaritas and pitchers full of Caipiroska, and in terms of food, it’s adjacent to a Bubba Gump bistro. It’s been visited by Jay-Z and Beyoncé, but while there is the occasional superstar sighting, it’s mostly a pretty young, international, non-celebrity crowd
The Lava Lava Beach Club overlooks the Big Island’s Anaeho'omalu Bay. It’s regularly got live music, and it’s known for having a solid cocktail menu. While the prices are a little bit up there, the drinks are worth it — they’re poured strong. One of their signature cocktails is called a Gilligan’s Girl, made with ginger, of course, and is served in a coconut cup. It’s got a great beer and wine menu as well.
The remote and expensive Ponta Dos Ganchos sits on a private peninsula on Brazil’s Santa Catarina coast. It’s got private pools, hammocks, saunas, and it sits just beyond a rainforest, so naturally it’s fairly exclusive — it’s known as the watering hole for both the local elite and international celebrities — but its views and its cocktails are to die for. Probably the best drinks available at the Ponta Dos Ganchos are the ones made of cachaça, Brazil’s signature sugarcane liquor.
Most of the sites putting Z-Plage in Cannes near the top of their lists mentioned that the highlight of this particular bar wasn’t necessarily the food, the drinks or the scenic views, but the people-watching. The types of people rolling through Z-Plage are often Europe’s rich, beautiful, and famous, whether that means supermodel trophy wives, European playboys, or billionaires. It is a French restaurant in Cannes, though, so of course the food and drinks are delicious as well.
Among Australia’s gorgeous Whitsunday Islands is the tiny, private Hayman Island, which was built by a millionaire and made into a resort. The Beach Pavilion has a giant lagoon pool you can chill in (if you don’t want to jump into the azure Coral Sea), and is known for its incredible selection of Australia’s best wines. And hey, if you’re not in the mood to go up to the bar yourself, they have poolside service throughout the day
The Soggy Dollar is included on most of the Best Beach Bar rankings — including Fodor’s, Travel Channel, and Thrillist — and for good reason. The bar is onshore and is reached by boat, but they don’t have a dock, so you’ll need to park offshore and swim the rest of the way. This will inevitably get your money wet — hence the name. The bar invented the famous cocktail the Painkiller, and it has hammocks, beach chairs, white sand, and stunning views.
Pelican Bar in Negril is the only bar on our list that sits on the water side of the beach. It’s a shack built out of rickety driftwood and covered with thatched palm fronds, and you have to get to it by boat. Don’t think that means it’s not sturdy, though: it survived Hurricane Sandy. You’ll find only fish and lobster on the menu, but they have a variety of drinks including delicious cocktails—- advertised as the best cocktails in the sea — as well as rum punch and beer.
The Dune Preserve Beach Bar in Anguilla has been ranked the best in the world by CNN and in the top 16 by Fodor’s. It’s known for having a killer glass of rum punch, incredible views, and for being constructed entirely out of driftwood. You can’t get more Caribbean than that. On top of that, the bar is owned by Anguillan reggae legend Bankie Banks, who not only performs at the bar, but also occasionally serves customers.
Ranked #2 by CNN and in Fodor’s exclusive list of 16, Baba Nest gets our #1 spot because it also has an incredibly high TripAdvisor Rating — and it’s damn near impossible to please people on that site. Baba Nest is actually a bar platform with pillows for seats on top of an infinity pool overlooking Phuket. The views of the Andaman Islands are amazing, and the cocktails are by all accounts amazing.