The World's Best Bars
What do all top-notch bars have in common? A bartender who can be called “World Class.” Travel Channel shows you where you'll find the best-of-the-best behind the bar.
Indonesia: Loewy Bar and BistroBartender Harli Garnawan serves up "the best, stiffest drinks in town” at this nostalgic, casual bistro. The bar sticks to classic cocktails, including Jakarta's largest selection of fine single malt whiskeys. If you want to see Garnawan's technique at work, try the "king of cocktails," a classic dry martini. 960 1280
Puerto Rico: SantaellaRenowned chef Jose Santaella celebrates the roots of the island's cocina criolla in this 80-seat dining room (complete with a tropical garden) and 16-seat bar. Knowledgeable bartenders, including World Class mixologist Leslie R. Cofresi, blend specialty cocktails, including the Sandia Mojito, which pairs muddled fresh watermelon and mint with Puerto Rican white rum, lime juice and a few secret ingredients. 960 1280
Dominican Republic: Pat’e PaloThis European Brasserie is separated into 2 parts: the bar has a livelier crowd, whereas the lounge is more relaxed. Both, however, serve delicious cocktails created by bartender Pavol Kazimir in a candlelit, romantic atmosphere. 960 1280
China: Bar ConstellationThis small space in Shanghai is big on spirits with over 300 single malts for whiskey drinkers. There's also an extensive cocktail list and a World Class mixologist, Tree Mao, whose signature cocktail is called M.A.N. (Mature, Authentic and Nature). 960 1280
Germany: Riva BarFor a hip cocktail bar, its name (after a 1970’s Italian football star Luigi Riva) and interior (which invokes a wind tunnel) are bold choices, but they don't outshine the excellent martinis and champagne cocktails served up by the likes of mixologist Harry Glockler. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_003Harry Potter Pub Crawl – Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania
Calling all muggles! Your chance to prove that you really ARE a wizard is finally here. This pub crawl is just one event of an entire Harry Potter weekend – complete with a quidditch tournament, costume contests and a total Hogsmeade-themed town makeover. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_004Santa Claus Pub Crawl – Various Cities
Because what could possibly be more holly or jolly than dressing up like good ‘ole Saint Nick and having a drink (or a few) with thousands of similarly decked-out strangers? Santa Claus pub crawls take place all around the world (this one’s in London) but the annual event in Wollongong, Australia is one of the oldest. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_005Superhero Crawl – Reno, Nevada
Pull up your tights, grab your cape and get ready to “save the world, one drink at a time.” You’ll need the stamina of a superhero to survive this pub crawl, which continues until the bars close. Don’t forget your mask-- you’ll want to keep your identity concealed as you stagger home. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_006The Subcrawl – Glasgow, UK
Glasgow’s circular subway line has inspired a rather unique challenge: buy an all-day pass and get off at each of the 15 stops for a drink at the closest bar. You deserve a serious pat on the back (and probably a cab home) if you make it all the way around. Just to keep things interesting, subcrawlers are required to ride the train without sitting down or holding on, a practice known as “subsurfing.” 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_007Pirate Pub Crawl – Florida
Ahoy matey! Why wait for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th — in case you didn’t already know) to talk like a pirate? In fact, why not combine talking like a pirate, dressing like a pirate AND drinking like one, too! This guided pub crawl in Dunedin, FL, even includes a history lesson about the most notorious pirates in Tampa Bay history. Yo ho ho … and a bottle of rum. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_008Tacky Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl – Washington, DC
Let’s face it – that Christmas sweater that Granny got you is way too embarrassing to wear to anything BUT a theme party, so here’s your chance! Helpful hint: the more 3-dimensional, the better, and sweater vests tend to increase the tackiness. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_009Zombie Pub Crawl – Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minnesota
No, this is not a scene out of “Dawn of the Dead,” (admittedly, the makeup was a bit better in the movie). It’s just a zombie pub crawl! Head to Minneapolis/ St. Paul to party like it’s your last day on earth or like you’re already dead. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_014Monopoly Pub Crawl – London
Work your way around the London monopoly board on this ambitious pub crawl, with 26 stops at 26 pubs for each of the 26 streets featured in the game. Unfortunately, none of the pubs offer “Get Out of Jail Free” cards – so be sure to stick to half pints. 960 1280
wacky-pub-crawls_ss_017Silent Disco Pub Crawl – Various Cities
Participants wear headsets and dance from bar to bar listening to an MP3 player on this seriously wacky pub crawl. You may have Top 40 tracks blasting in your ears, but the rest of the world has no idea -- so prepare to get a few questioning looks. Plan your own silent pub crawl with the help of Silent Storm, a company that specializes in “silencing” events. 960 1280
KU DÉ TA (Singapore)KU DÉ TA is a premiere rooftop party bar -- emphasis on the rooftop -- as it sits on the 57th floor of Singapore's newest architectural landmark the Marina Bay Sands. Part of the spectacular SkyPark the bar lets guests take in one of the best unobstructed views of the city and the rooftop's infamous infinity pool. Whether you’re watching the sunset over mini wagyu beef burgers with fontina cheese green chili mayo and smoked tomato relish or mesmerized by the nightly laser show KU DÉ TA is a place to see and be seen.
Insider's Tip: The price for a cocktail like the Lady Be Mine Grey Goose martini with lychee and rose water is $16 roughly the same fee the resort complex charges to board the elevator to the observation deck just below -- so think of it as breaking even. 960 1280
Plunge (New York)Taking over the Gansevoort Hotel's 14th-floor penthouse in the Meatpacking District this granddaddy of New York's rooftop bars is still among the city's best -- with some of the most stylish parties an amazing outdoor pool and of course a sick view of the NYC skyline and the Hudson River. Plunge is packed with pretty young things on the weekends so those not looking to be part of the scene may prefer to watch the sunset from the wraparound balcony mid-week.
Insider's Tip: Give the recently revamped American bistro-style menu with its fresh chopped salad jumbo shrimp skewers or rooftop sliders a shot; you'll be pleasantly surprised. 960 1280
The Roof, ME Madrid (Madrid)If your first glimpse of this club atop the ME Madrid is the line to enter – at its peak length during summertime -- know that it's worth the wait. Once you board the private elevator to the penthouse terrace you'll be treated to unmatched views of Madrid's skyline. Owned by Randy Gerber (also known as Cindy Crawford's husband) this swanky rooftop consistently attracts beautiful locals and celebrities alike thanks to guest DJ sessions inviting daybeds and a VIP bar embedded in a stonewall.
Insider's Tip: Like most places on our list cocktails are on the pricier side; if you're going to have just one make it the Black Mojito. 960 1280
Three Sixty (St. Louis)For a bird's-eye view of Busch Stadium pass on the nosebleed seats -- instead head to this slick new rooftop bar atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Panoramic views of the Gateway Arch serve as the backdrop for gourmet bites prepared by Chef Rex Hale such as house-smoked salmon chips mini New England lobster rolls and Korean BBQ pork tacos. Save room for the sweet stuff; the desserts -- especially the house-made Kit Kat Bars -- are among the best in the city. The 6000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space accommodates cozy fire pits flat-screen TVs and several bars making Three Sixty a year-round destination.
Insider's Tip: Cardinals fans hold on to your ticket stub to skip the $10 cover charge after the game. And for those trying to score one of the coveted tables overlooking the field Three Sixty opens up at least 2 hours before every home game. 960 1280
POV (Washington, DC)To see the Washington Monument in all of its recently-not-scaffolded glory head to this trendy rooftop bar perched atop the historic W Hotel. POV's velvet banquets and black wicker chairs are first come first serve so we suggest arriving in plenty of time to watch the sun go down or you may have to wait in line to board the elevator to the 11th floor. Drinks are expensive by DC-standards which lends itself to tourists and special occasions (both bachelorette parties and proposals are popular here) but unobstructed views of Washington lit up at night has its price.
Insider's Tip: The scene is more club than cocktail bar after 10 p.m. so we suggest either springing for a table with bottle service next to the dance floor or for a more economical option meeting up around the corner at The Hamilton for dinner and drinks before taking in the view. 960 1280
SEVVA (Hong Kong)If you're looking for one of the most glamorous bars in Hong Kong -- or possibly the world -- look no farther than this penthouse bar on top of the prestigious Prince's Building. SEVVA's 360-degree views of Sir Norman Foster's HSBC building and I.M. Pei's Bank of China tower from its wrap-around terrace combined with dazzling interiors that reflect owner Bonnie Gokson's iconic style has made this the top spot for impressing out-of-towners. The well-coiffed crowd clamors for dishes such as the baked truffled mac and cheese and signature crunch cake from the Taste Bar. Also popular is the traditional high tea where you'll be Instagramming 3 tiers of Ms. B's treats -- including chocolate fudge cake with marmalade and mini short rib burgers -- as much as the scenery.
Insider's Tip: The SEVVA terrace is an ideal vantage point for the popular "Symphony of Lights" laser show that illuminates Hong Kong's famous skyscrapers. 960 1280
The American Bar (Austria)End your day with a relaxing sundowner and panoramic views of the Alps on the heated rooftop terrace of Innsbruck's glass architectural gem The Penz Hotel. Order the signature Fifth Floor cocktail a Bellini Royal consisting of peaches and champagne or ask one of the skilled bartenders to whip up something unique. An added bonus for hotel guests is that they can begin the day with an extensive breakfast buffet (with more fresh fruit than you can name) served against the same beautiful backdrop.
Insider's Tip: People who don't like smoke should be aware that cigars are permitted inside. 960 1280
New York Bar (Tokyo)This landmark bar, situated on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, served as the backdrop of Lost in Translation. Rather than shy away from the Sophia Coppola connection, the bar embraces it, even creating the L.I.T. Cocktail of sake, Sakura liqueur, Peachtree schnapps and cranberry juice. Enjoy the panoramic views of Shinjuku, order from the extensive wine menu (over 1,600 bottles to choose from), listen to live jazz and try to get in a "New York state of mind" -- while in Tokyo.
Insider's Tip: We recommend arriving before 6:30 p.m. to avoid a line and watch the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows. After 8 p.m. there is a cover charge of approximately $20 for guests not staying at the Park Hyatt. 960 1280
Bramante Terrace (Rome)Just one block from the Piazza Navona atop the ivy-covered Hotel Raphael, this multi-level rooftop garden boasts sweeping views of the Eternal City in the summer. Order an omelet of artichokes, red onions and fresh mint for lunch from Chef Jean-Luc Fruneau's creative Mediterranean menu (now completely vegetarian) or watch the sun set between St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo over fresh caciotta cheese ravioli and marjoram with cherry tomatoes and basil at dinner.
Insider's Tip: One of the most romantic places in Rome -- don't be surprised if you see a proposal take place while here! 960 1280
VUE Bar (Shanghai)Spread over levels 32 and 33 of the 5-star Hyatt on The Bund in Shanghai, VUE offers guests 2 floors and 2 distinct views overlooking the historic waterfront and the futuristic Pudong skyline on either side of the Huangpu River. Pull up a seat at this sophisticated lounge's circular cocktail bar or continue up the spiral staircase to the open-air terrace where you can lounge in a 4-poster daybed or take a dip in the marble whirlpool.
Insider's Tip: For those who can justify a $100-plus price tag, VUE's bottomless brunch is hard to beat: free-flowing Perrier Jouet Champagne, a Bloody Mary counter and chefs preparing dishes the include everything from made-to-order eggs to lightly pickled steak tartare on brioche. 960 1280
Galaxy Restaurant & Bar (Athens)The star of the Athens skyline is the majestic Acropolis -- and there's no place where it seems to burn more brightly than from the Galaxy Restaurant & Bar atop the Hilton Athens. A hot spot for locals and tourists this chic open-air terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or a romantic dinner. We suggest starting with one of the restaurant's inventive (read: not just Greek) salads or sesame-crusted seared tuna with snow pies caviar pickled pearl onions black and yellow cherries and a truffle vinaigrette followed by an assortment of sushi. Otherwise try the Surf 'n' Turf a beef tenderloin and lobster tail atop a sizzling hot stone.
Insider's Tip: If you can't snag a reservation stop by for an aperitif the bar typically opens 2 1/2 hours before dinner service starts. 960 1280
360 (Istanbul)True to its name the 360-degree views stretching over Istanbul and the Bosphorus Straight are enough to take your breath away -- but so are the "special occasion" prices. Forgo 360's Turkish-fusion menu and instead come early score a coveted window seat and nurse your drink while snacking on stuffed olives and nuts before grabbing some street food nearby. On weekends the restaurant turns into a club around midnight until the wee hours with avant-garde entertainment (including burlesque) up-and-coming DJs and well-mixed cocktails.
Insider's Tip: The unassuming entrance in the historic Misir apartment building is easily missed but don't let that deter you -- once you've entered the lobby take the elevator directly to the 8th floor and follow the candlelit stairs. 960 1280