We wanted to pay homage to one of the most important establishments of all…the bar. Not just any bar, the best bars in the world.
Big 7 Travel has picked out the world’s best bars; with the world class mixologists, creative cocktails, craft beer and even divey bars that will take your breath away. We asked our global community of readers for their favourite bars, as well as contributions from the Big 7 Travel editorial team.
With social media playing a huge part in food and drinks trends (a search for ‘cocktail’ on Instagram returns more than 10.7million hashtags), bars are going above and beyond, so we wanted to celebrate the pioneers and the up-and-comers.
Cheers to that!
Best Cocktail Bars In The World
Albatross has three locations in Tokyo but definitely come to the Golden Gai location. It has earned a reputation for the one of the hippest bars in Tokyo. Their multiple signature chandeliers warms up and brightly lights up their bars as patrons drink and chat the night away.
Heads up, if you’re a foreigner, expect to pay a small cover charge. The interesting vibe and dive bar feel will make up for it though.
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The Sip ‘n Dip Lounge is a Montana legend, with tiki cocktails, Piano Pat playing the keys and mermaids – yep, mermaids – swimming behind the bar. The most unique feature of this bizarre dive bar lounge is the glass wall between the bar and the swimming pool.
The mermaids appear Tuesday through Thursday from 8:00pm to midnight and on Friday and Saturdays from 9:00pm until 1:00am.
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Toast & Tonic is a super restaurant and cocktail bar that’s inspired by New York’s East Village. Dinner is adults-only, so you can arrive safe in the knowledge that you’ll be sipping on some sophistication.
Toast & Tonic prides itself in being devoid of artificial syrups and additives, so you know the cocktails here are the real deal.
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Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, this swish ‘n’ stylish cocktail bar has timeless charm and a delightful drinks list to match. Look out for the gold pineapple door knob and get ready to enter a whole new world of cocktails.
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This cult cash-only bar has been in existence since 1820 and served the likes of Picasso and Hemingway. A traditional absinthe bar that oozes antiquated charm with its vintage bottles and mirrors.
It’s no wonder that Woody Allen chose to shoot a scene from Vicky Christina Barcelona in here!
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A mecca for beer lovers. This huge open plan warehouse serves some fantastic craft beers as well as food that pairs perfectly with the drink, without being too fussy. A perfect place to come and hang out with friends after a long hard day to unwind in a buzzy atmosphere.
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Not only do they have drinks that rival any in the world, they also have cocktail tasting sessions to help educate guests and expand their palate. Choose cocktails through the decades, Rita’s specialities or a gin cocktail sample.
An absolute gem of a bar.
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This wine bar with a difference has over 140 varieties of vino, which you help yourself to from self service Wineemotion dispensers. Feel free to ask a few questions of the bartender if you want any recommendations, then insert a card in the machine and pour yourself a degustación (35ml), media copa (75 ml) or copa (150 ml).
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This secret cocktail bar is located inside Houndstooth Coffee. You won’t see it at first, but walk through the hallway and you will find it, a hidden gem in Dallas. Take your seat at the stylish bar and enjoy a variety of cocktails focused on sherry, mezcal, and coffee, along with classics done right.
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Perched on top distinctive rock formations along Jimbaran’s pristine sunset coast, Rock Bar Bali is one of the globe’s most popular sunset, cocktail and entertainment venues. With unparalleled views from 14 meters above the Indian Ocean, you won’t regret visiting this spot.
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Walking into this bar is like taking a step back in time and the absolute highlight is sampling some classic Jenever (Dutch gin). The staff though, are what really make the place special – along with the feeling that the walls could almost talk with all the stories.
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A queer art space that’s become a Berlin nightlife classic, this neon-drenched bar is filled with quirky characters, cheap beer and an anything goes attitude – everything you could ever want, basically.
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Notoriously hard to get into, this Chinese-style speakeasy is one of the most talked about bars in the city. The cocktails are superb and the decor beautiful, but there’s rules: no selfies, no phone calls.
Once the bouncer makes sure you’re not on the “banned list,” the bar’s list of nearly 3,000 “no longer welcome” people, in you go to soak up the entire Hop Sing Laundromat experience and enjoy one of the best bars in the world.
The famous BrewDog brewery started in 2007 with a mission to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as its founders were. Now there’s several breweries across the world and countless BrewDog bars.
It still manages to be an expert when it comes to craft beer and the Edinburgh location is a top pick. A daily changing beer list and passionate staff ensure beer lovers are well looked after.
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This beautiful bar knows that with cocktails, it is not only about mixing various types of alcohol, it is an art of flavours. They pull it off perfectly. Try the Anecdotes Painter: it Bulleit Rye, Smelly Jerez, strawberry and banana shrub, blackberry and soy reduction.
They also have weekly disco tunes and tasty bar snacks.
Hanko 60 is a hidden gem of a bar tucked behind an old theatre. To gain entry, you must push a button at the door where you will arrive at this secretive and magical bar.
A must-try cocktail here is the Cinema drink, which plays to the theatre vibe and has real popcorn spread over the top of the cocktail.
One of the most famous and iconic Irish bars in the USA. Stepping in here like thousands have before you, feels like a rite of passage. You can’t visit NYC without a pint or whiskey in here.
There’s just two beers on the menu: a light and dark ale.
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One of the world’s best speakeasies, The Jerry Thomas Project started Rome’s ‘secret bar’ revolution when it opened in 2010. The password changes regularly and you have to book to enter – find the question hidden on their homepage and answer it to receive the password.
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This quaint little laneway bar operates like a library, with a book exchange system in place as well as an extensive spirits range. Basically, it’s like a sophisticated reading room that serves superb booze.
There’s signature book inspired cocktails from all the classics, including a strawberry infused bourbon ‘Lolita’ and a Harry Potter butterbeer.
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Cocktail lovers in Downtown LA need only to hightail it to one place. This Parisian Salon-Styled in the historic Alexandria Hotel has a super ambitious cocktail menu that it serves to perfection. From the ‘Light & Shaken’ section to the ‘Strong & Boozy’, all the vermouths, bitters, and liqueurs are made with seasonal ingredients.
There’s a separate Japanese omakase-style cocktail experience upstairs, called Le Néant. Two incredible bars under the one roof? It’s a no brainer.
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One of Berlin’s oldest cocktail bars, the Rum Trader (a.k.a ‘Institute for Advanced Drinking’) is a uniquely classy drinking experience. There’s no menu – the owner, Mr Scholl, will make you the perfect tipple. Barely room for 25 people, the world outside seems very far away once you walk through these doors.
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Disrepute is an intimate Soho members’ bar & cocktail lounge. A hideaway for luxury libations, high jinks & late night liaisons. Non-members are also welcome if they reserve, so don’t feel excluded.
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This exclusive speakeasy Cabaret Bar is a must-do experience in KL. You walk through a mini noodle-market to several luxurious rooms where you can sip cocktails before seeing a jazz or cabaret show.
Dramatic draped stage with antique window panels from the 1950s Canto era as backdrop coupled with classy neon signage at the side gives an eclectic anticipation towards the shows that are ranged from cabaret, live bands, musical, DJs and varieties of live performances.
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No, you won’t be required to have five cocktails and more at 5 Cocktails & More, but you just might after you taste their concoctions. It is one of the newer bars in town but employs some of the best mixologists in the city who have worked in other countries perfecting their craft.
Try their Cursed Vespucci cocktail, a tequila-based drink that also comes with orange liqueur and chilli sauce!
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Mahjong Bar is a dining and drinking hideaway. Tucked behind an unassuming pink bodega is a surprising scene, a 2000-square foot space full of glowing light, tall ceilings, thoughtful design details and delicious food and drinks. You’ll feel yourself instantly calming down and feeling relaxed the second you walk in the door.
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Who Hit John – or just ‘John’ to regulars – is a charming dive bar in Vilnius’ historic Old Town that fits just 15 or so people in its tiny space. Drinks are on point, the bartenders are chatty and the mood is super chilled.
Who knew one of the best bars in the world is in Vilnius?
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ABV is a neighbourhood bar in San Francisco’s Mission District, but it’s the sort of bar you’ll move nearby just so that it’s your neighbourhood bar. It’s led by a superstar team of bartenders, who turn even the simplest cocktail into something incredible.
Quench your thirst with everything from Japanese whiskey to gin.
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The famous Manhattan-born speakeasy came to the West Coast last year, opening in West Hollywood. The Art Deco bar has an inventive cocktail menu with bartenders so skilled that waiting for your drink is like watching a show. You can even play “spin the bottle” to decide which spirit they will put in your cocktail.
There’s also live psychic readings up front at the “secret” entrance, available for $25 per 15-minute session.
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Hands down, one of the coolest bars in Seoul is Le Chamber. To find this bar, you must first find the secret entrance! Spoiler alert: it’s behind the bookshelf.
Once inside, you will feel like you have been transported back in time. The decor and vibe is very Great Gatsby-esque and the drinks are top notch. Vibe with the classy ambience and order a whiskey from their selection of over 200 whiskies.
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This “Irish folk barn crossed with New York chic” is a buzzing Irish bar the likes of which you’ve probably never seen before. With over 200 varieties of whiskey and a creative cocktail menu, The Wild Rover is always a good choice. Try their tasty Guinness Punch – a spicy and sweet milkshake style drink.
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A bar where the drinks are the absolute star of the show (and that’s alongside everything else being perfect, too). A cocktail here will ruin you, as you’ll never want one from anywhere else every again. It’s a beauty.
You’ll soon see after one visit why it’s one of the best bars in the world.
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This beautiful bar in the Baldwin Mansion is a creative cocktail hotspot, with a second, elegant library bar on the second floor. It attracts cocktail lovers from all over with its inventive menu and relaxed vibes. Don’t leave without trying the tart yet tasty Lion’s Paw (Maker’s Mark bourbon, lime, cinnamon, almond and Allspice).
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You’ll find this hip hidden bar inside a photo booth in Cubao Expo – step through the curtains to discover a cocktail haven. Cocktails are named after classic films and are exceptionally tasty.
Be sure to try their bestselling drink ‘Cigarettes After Sex’.
Like the name suggests, this place is gold, gold, gold. The entire bar has fine touches of gold with views of Dubai’s magnificent skyline from the 27th floor of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.
Interactive iPad menus read like a dream list of cocktails, themed around the different stages of Dubai: Old Dubai, New Dubai and Future Dubai. Expect swirling fog and gold flecks.
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With Diageo World Class 2015 Hong Kong & Macau Champion Antonio Lai at the helm, you can rest assured that the drinks here are top notch. It’s a “multi-sensual” experience (better than it sounds, promise) with a lab where they create their own flavoured spirits.
Be sure to order the signature Earl Grey Caviar Martini, or the pistachio and buttermilk creation with cachaca.
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A beautiful bar founded by three friends who are absolutely obsessed with the drinks industry. It’s won countless awards and once you taste their perfectly balanced cocktails it’s not hard to see why.
So deserving to be known as one of the best bars in the world.
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This rickety Vendue Range bar has all the elements of a local dive that you could ever wish for: it’s open for day-drinking, the beer is cheap and plentiful and the bartenders will soon know your name. The Griffon is covered in signed dollar bills and bumper stickers and also does great English pub grub.
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This three-in-one cafe/restaurant/bar is the perfect example of when good things combine to make something even better. Whiskey fan? Try the Godfather cocktail, with Laphroig 10 Year Old with hints of hojicha (Japanese green tea), apricot brandy, and bitters, with a piece of salty candied prosciutto.
Keep an eye out for the ‘secret’ bar called Tipsy, hidden somewhere in the building. But shh.
Set up by three top bartenders, Bulletin Place is injecting lightning bolts into Sydney’s small bar scene. Every day the bartenders work with the (strictly Australian) produce to create five new original cocktails, with the daily changing menu written on butcher paper up on the wall.
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BlackTail is a vintage bar located near the New York pier and flashes a classy Cuban vibe. With its place among these best bars in the world, you can bet that you will have one of the best cocktails here.
For a strong cocktail, try their Cuban-inspired name and drink, El Presidente, a concoction made with rum, vermouths and Curaçao.
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Multi–award winning venue where the drinks are as close to the works of art in local museums as you are ever likely to see. Nearly too pretty to drink. Well, nearly. You can’t not sip something this delicious.
The bar itself is one of the most beautifully designed you’ll see, but you’ll be too distracted by the master beverages.
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You could make a good argument for this being one of the most iconic hotel bars ever, perched 200 metres above sea level atop the iconic Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. Asian-fusion bites and classic cocktails will keep you fuelled for a night of partying.
Keep an eye out for the most stunning infinity pools you’ll ever see, too.
One of the most unusual and exciting bars you’ll ever set foot inside. From their gaudy interiors to the kirsch they serve, both mulled and regular. The sort of place you’ll have an epic night out in every single time.
Hands down one of the best bars in the world.
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Two-bars-in-one here, with The Green Door Tavern is apparently the oldest pub in Chicago, heaps of fun with a real sense of history.
If you want something even better, head downstairs to The Drifter, an authentic 20s-era speakeasy in the basement of the Green Door Tavern. There you can choose from 100 funky cocktails on custom tarot cards.
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An absolute institution when it comes to Cape Town. This is the spot to come to if you are dressed up and celebrating something big, or want to feel sophisticated.
The cocktails aren’t cheap and take a little while to make, but as soon as they do arrive you’ll feel like a million dollars upon having that first sip.
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Dogma opened in 2013 and has been changing not only the cocktail scene in Belgium, but across the whole continent. They focus on super high-end ingredients and the stellar drinks are all the more enjoyable for the relaxed ambience.
This is one bar truly pushing boundaries and is sure to inspire countless others.
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You only have to have a quick look at the pictures to see this is the place to come and see the sunset and enjoy a few drinks. Simply stunning and one of the best bars in Phuket. Baba Nest’s wrap around infinity pool surrounds the rooftop deck for an unbeatable view.
In fact, it’s officially the best rooftop bar in all of South East Asia.
Hidden beyond a seemingly innocent storefront of a flower and wine shop lies one of the best bars in the world.
This speakeasy joint is in a basement and takes inspiration for its decor and drinks menu from the many immigrants that helped shape the country.
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Don’t worry about how to pronounce the name (it’s ‘double-o’, by the way) and instead just hurry down here. Tokyo meets Brisbane at this dark and glam bar in Japanese restaurant Hôntô. The cocktails use only the best Japanese spirits and are inspired by Kill Bill.
It’s sophisticated without being snobby and consistently impresses.
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The bar to top all the best bars in the world? It’s official. It’s half-hidden in the Juarez neighbourhood, but look out for the sign on the stairs and you’ll find this beauty.
Xaman has a pre-Hispanic vibe, with a cocktail menu that pays homage to the ancient knowledge and use of plants. Cocktails mostly use Mexican spirits, mixed to perfection by shaman-skilled bartenders.
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