When traveling, visiting the local bars is just as important as exploring the local sights, museums, restaurants and cafes. It enables you to experience the area’s culture in an unfiltered manner, with, of course, the presence of a few brews or spirits unique to the establishment and region. Whether you’re a worldwide partier or the type who likes to kick back on the patio and absorb your surroundings, the following bars are worth adding to your agenda if you plan to visit the countries they serve.
- The Blind Beggar — London, England: The mystique of The Blind Beggar attracts patrons from all over the world. Built in 1894, it’s best remembered as the sight of the murder of The Richardson Gang’s George Cornell by Ronnie Kray, one of the Kray Twins. Fittingly, just prior to the ordeal, the barmaid changed the record in the jukebox to “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” by The Walker Brothers. After the incident, the record eerily repeated “anymore.” Not a fan of spooky London gangland history? You may be comforted to know the bar sits where the Salvation Army was founded — certainly a more positive fact.
- OJ’s Restaurant and Beach Bar — Crab Hill Beach, Antigua: Unlike a few bars on this list, OJ’s isn’t trendy. Instead, it allows the views of the gleaming Crabb Hill beach and Montserrat’s active volcano to serve as its main attractions. Inside, it’s adorned with local artwork, artifacts and driftwood, encapsulating that calm and relaxed Caribbean feel. It’s a great place to unwind with a beer and/or cocktail and forget about the minutiae of everyday life.
- Rex Hotel’s Rooftop Garden — Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Four decades ago, it served as the spot for U.S. GIs, officers and journalists to hang out amid the Vietnam War. The qualities appreciated by previous generations remain today — it features picturesque scenery, boasting beautiful greenery and overlooking Ho Chi Minh City. It’s open 24 hours and serves a delicious array of cocktails, so you never have to leave. According to a tally by its website, Newsweek named it “One of the Best Bars Of South East Asia” and American Travel Writer Patricia Shultz listed it as one of “1,000 places to see before you die.”
- Vertigo — Bangkok, Thailand: Another must-visit rooftop bar in Southeast Asia, Vertigo sits atop the Banyan Tree hotel, 61 floors above street level. Patrons enjoy breathtaking views of Bangkok’s cityscape as they sip on uniquely crafted cocktails and dine on savory seafood and steaks. If you’re afraid of heights, weather weary or don’t like dressing up before going out, you may have a better time elsewhere. It’s an experience in itself and not exactly a hole-in-the-wall type of place.
- Harry’s Bar — Venice, Italy: A who’s who of celebrities have frequented Harry’s Bar, including Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Truman Capote and Barbara Hutton. Founder Giuseppe Cipriani credited its creation to Bostonian Harry Pickering, who gave Cipriani 30,000 Lira as a gift for loaning him 10,000 Lira after he had a falling out with his aunt. Most locals, however, simply recognize the bar as the home of the Bellini and Carpaccio.
- Harry’s New York Bar — Paris, France: Paris’s Harry’s Bar features equally famous clientele. This one isn’t related to the one in Venice — the best bars in the world aren’t franchised — but it’s just as popular, attracting patrons such as Jack Dempsey, Knute Rockne, Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart and Rita Hayworth. Acquired in 1911 by former American jockey Tod Sloan, the former bistro was transformed into New York Bar to serve American expatriates who desired the occasional comfort of home. Twelve years later, Harry MacElhone, its barman, purchased the place and renamed it Harry’s New York Bar, and the rest is Parisian-American history.
- White Horse Tavern — New York, New York: Since 1673, White Horse Tavern has served a diverse group of patrons, including the new Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council, and Jack Kerouac and Norman Mailer — not bad for an establishment once owned by a pirate. The meticulously preserved colonial house has been owned by just six people, and oozes of American history. In recent years, it has evolved into more of a place for dining, but remains conducive to mingling.
- Mary McBride’s — Chushenden, Northern Ireland: Mary McBride’s proves that size doesn’t matter. At one time it was considered the smallest pub in the world, but its mere closet size only adds to its folksiness. The founder, Mary McBride, who wasn’t a drinker herself, added to the atmosphere by dispensing Chushenden gossip. The bar’s biggest draw to outsiders, however, has always been its breathtaking view of the Antrim coast.
- The Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel — 1 Beach Road, Singapore: Occupying two levels of the 124-year-old colonial-style Raffles Hotel, The Long Bar serves “almost every alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoction imaginable,” including the Singapore Sling, which consists of gin, Benedictine, Cherry Heering and Sarawak pineapple juice. The tasty drink was created in 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon and has been altered by other Singaporean bartenders through time, even those who’ve worked at The Long Bar. Regardless of how it has been tweaked, it’s something you’ve got to try at least once.
- Vesuvio — San Francisco, California: Perhaps this list has been a little America-centric, but we’d be remiss not to mention Vesuvio. A staple of San Francisco culture, the bar was frequented by the stars of the Beat Generation, including Dylan Thomas, Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac, the latter of whom is permanently remembered with Jack Kerouac Alley — he knew his great American bars. Naturally, beautiful art is in residence and patrons can absorb it while sipping eco-friendly cocktails.
Thanks to Online College Blog for the share where its original post lie. :-)