Traveling to a different country (or even in your own!) is exciting and liberating. It gives you the opportunity to experience new things, see different cultures and, of course meet new people. We have compiled a list of some truly unique bars where you can hang out, have a few drinks and make some new friends.
The highest bar in Africa
The highest pub in Africa is situated on the border between South Africa and Lesotho, so here you can really be in two places at the same time! The bar is 2, 874 meters above sea level on the Sani pass and requires a 4×4 vehicle to get there. The nearby lodge serve breakfast, lunch and dinner made from fresh ingredients sourced locally. The bar serves local and international wines, beers and spirits.
Icebar by Icehotel
Ok, this is actually 3 bars, one in Jukkasjärvi, one in Stockholm and one in London. The bars, including the glasses, are made entirely out of ice from the Torne River. The interiors are renewed every year in April and are kept at a cool – 7 °C. There is an entry fee which includes a cocktail and a 40 minute stay and they even serve colourful children’s drinks. The bars offer you warm coats and gloves for your visit.
Rock Bar Bali
As the name suggests this is a bar perched on the rocky cliffs in Jimbaran, Bali. It is the perfect place to enjoy some cocktails while watching the sun set from 14 meters above the Indian Ocean. Music and vibes are provided by DJ’s from a booth carved into the cliff face. The Rock Bar has a ‘smart’ dress code and ‘no backpacks allowed’ policy making it the perfect place for a sophisticated night out… we all deserve a bit of a spoil every now and then – even when we are backpacking around Asia!
Red Sky bar
Red Sky bar is located above the CentralWorld shopping mall in Bangkok. High up on the 55th floor, the bar has an impressive 360 degree view of the city. It has a long list of local and international drinks, including a variety of cocktails. They also have a restaurant that serves a selection of European meals.
Operation Dagger is a ‘secret’ underground bar in Ann Siang in Singapore city centre. It can be found through entering an unmarked door at the top of a flight of stairs behind Oxwell & CO and across the alleyway. The bar has raw concrete walls and interesting art installations. It serves unique concoctions- some featuring house-made mead and infused spirits. Ingredients could include salted egg yolk liqueur and cold brew cacao. Their menu includes an Omakase option – 6 customisable cocktails paired with different bar snacks.
Fu Lu Shou
A shabby looking front door leading off the street and a rattily lift takes you to this unique bar in Hong Kong central. A ‘secret’ code is needed to gain entrance which adds to the exclusivity and mystery of it all. The bar serves westernised Chinese food along with bar snacks to accompany the drinks. They serve classic cocktails along with locally themed inventions.
Tucked away in Seoul, this bar is found through an alleyway and down a flight of stairs. It is reminiscent of the hidden bars when Prohibition still reigned. A chandelier hangs over the marble bar that offers a simple drinks menu. Simple does not mean plain here as their cocktails are excellently made. They also have a number of premium whiskies to accompany their cocktail menu and stay open till the early hours of the morning.
Hidden House in Beijing lives up to its name. It is found by entering an art store where a light switch and sliding antique bookcase will show you the way. The interior has grey brick walls with impressionist art and has a bit of a castle-like feel to it. Work your way through their list of around 20 cocktails while tucked in one of the alcoves spread out throughout the space.
Found along the main Walking street on Koh Lipe in Thailand as visit to this unique bar is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences of your trip. The bar counter is made of a longtail boat and serve local and international beer, liquor and cocktails. The best part of this bar is the live music and their philosophy of ‘If you are in the bar, you’re in the band!’ They encourage everyone to get involved, creates an atmosphere of camaraderie where you will form friendships that will last a lifetime!
Taboo brings a unique take on bars in Hanoi. It is a floating bar entered by a wooden-planked boardwalk. It has three levels each with its own ‘feel’. The lower deck has a bar, a stage and dance floor. The second level has a bar and cigar lounge and the top deck has a relaxing lounge, cocktail bar and open-air roof deck. The top deck also serve coffee and croissants during the day. Taboo regularly have DJ’s, themed nights and offer hookah pipes to their guests.
From Africa to Europe, Bali to Bangkok, and everywhere in-between, there is sure to be a cool and unique bar just waiting to be discovered around the corner. Have you visited any of these?
**A version of this article first appeared at www.zafigo.com