These days, where you drink is just as important as what you drink. Gone are the times when you could settle on just one great bar — imbued with all those thrilling qualities of great service, a glorious array of spirits, and it's own quirky combination of charm, texture, and ambience. Nowadays, a memorable bar experience demands an entire collection of these bars, all settled within a small, yet rambling locale… ideally, just on one street.
From New York to Rome, the world’s greatest bar streets are an eclectic puzzle of quaint and homey local watering holes (yes, even that old favorite, the 'Irish Pub', has a place here), historic haunts, sophisticated wine bars; decadent cocktail, champagne, and chandelier bars, and the odd cutting-edge bar-of-the-week. The best offerings; though, are perhaps as authentically homegrown as they are cosmopolitan, with a uniquely evocative sense of place that draws in both locals and visitors alike.
Perhaps surprisingly, this doesn't always mean the best bar streets are the busiest with the most libation options — you could see it as more of a balancing act between energetic hot-spots, and quieter, intimate venues at a variety of price points that offers something for everyone.
And then there's that other essential portion of the bar experience… the drinks. Strong is the lure of a bar with a mindboggling range of spirits to offer. Equally tempting; though, are the dives with fewer signature favorites on the cocktail menu.
The bar streets that usually do it best marry some (or sometimes all) of these elements to the best their cities have to offer. Sydney, Australia's nightlife has grown impressively cosmopolitan in recent years, while still managing to foster a hip inner-city bar scene around its famous harbor and opera house that's just as unpretentious as it is polished and cutting-edge. Istanbul lays out the most glorious of its bar offerings along the majestic Bosphorus Strait. Dubai, a city more centered on touting its shameless decadence than a big drinking scene, lines up the best of its hotel bar selection along the gorgeous (and perennially hot and breezy) Palm Jumeirah beachfront.
With so many options to choose from it's no easy task to pull together the best your city has to offer on just one street — we ranked the world's bar streets that do it best.
Serusha Govender is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @SerushaGovender