Top 15 Cities With the Most Bars Around the World
Cheers! These towns love a happy hour and boast the best bars and nightlife in the world.
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Reykjavik is fast becoming one of the hottest nightlife destinations in the world, thanks in large part to its walkability, friendly local vibe, and blossoming craft beer scene. “We have this one street called 'Laugavegur' where you will find a jungle of unique bars, food trucks, restaurants, cocktail lounges and wild nightclubs,” said Dan Petursson, the cofounder of Wake Up Reykjavik, a food and bar tour company in the city. And the best part is, you'll have plenty of time to explore them all, as bars don't close until 4:30 a.m. in the Icelandic capital.
Bangkok is one of the more oft-mentioned cities among the best cities for nightlife in the world--and for good reason. Perhaps a lovely side effect of the incredible food scene, the craft cocktail scene is equally as world class. Make sure to check out Maggie Choo’s, with its swanky 1930s vibe and frequent use of dry ice. Also stop by Skybar (pictured above) for some of the best views in the city.
Each year Drinks International rates the 50 Best Bars in the World, and last year London scored nine awards, including four out of the top 10, and the #1 overall, Artesian. For this reason, it’s safe to say that the city may be the absolute best city for bars in the world. “Mixology has elevated the best cocktail-making to a form of science,” said Paul Gauger, executive vice president of VisitBritain, “with drinks served up in everything from tin cans to bowler hats.” His recommendation? Lounge Bohemia, particularly if you’re a fan of Instagram-worthy cocktails.
New York, New York
NYC has six out of the top 50 bars in the world, according to Drinks International, including The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, Employees Only, and Attaboy. “There is something for everyone,” said Caroline Peck, senior manager of communications at NYC & Company. “Sip a popsicle cocktail on a rooftop overlooking the Hudson River; sample a brew made within the five boroughs at a local neighborhood bar; or speak a secret passcode to enter a modern-day speakeasy.”
Hong Kong, China
When you think of the best cities for bars in the world, Hong Kong might not be one of the first that comes to mind; but it should, particularly if you love rooftop bars. Hong Kong’s skyline is stunning, and restaurateurs have responded by providing residents and visitors alike with not only stunning views, but equally as stunning beverage options. For a truly amazing experience, check out Eyebar or SEVVA Taste Bar. Just don’t look down.
Tucked away in the southeast corner of the continent is what many consider to be Australia’s arts capital. “Melbourne is renowned around the world for the numerous small and quirky bars that can be stumbled upon in any of the 180 laneways,” said John O’Sullivan at Tourism Australia. If you stumble upon anything, stumble upon Black Pearl, which was rated the 10th best bar in the world in 2015 by Drinks International.
San Francisco, California
With nearby Silicon Valley, it only seems fitting that San Francisco also has some of the most social-media-worthy bars in the world. “San Francisco has always been a center of innovation and culinary excellence,” said Laurie Armstrong of San Francisco Travel. “Anything having to do with food and drink here rises to a whole different level.” Try Bourbon and Branch, Smuggler’s Cove, and Bar Agricole for a truly Golden Gate experience.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
“I think mixology has improved a lot in the last couple of years,” said Rodrigo Mello, the main bartender at Belmond Copacabana Palace. And the reason? “The re-discovery of fresh, seasonal, local ingredients.” Make sure to try Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha, made with sugar cane hard liquor (called cachaça), sugar and lime.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires embraces much of its Spanish heritage when it comes to drinking culture: The party starts later in the evening, and doesn’t end until early in the morning. Many cafes serve alcohol and don't miss two things Argentina is renowned for: a chopp (pint) of craft beer or a glass of Malbec. Be sure to check out The Harrison Speakeasy, Lo de Roberto, and Doppleganger.
The world’s only island city-state, the Republic of Singapore is also one of the cultural capitals of the world, which has created a food and bar scene unlike anything else. “Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, which affords bars access to wide-ranging ingredients,” said Kershing Goh of the Singapore Tourism Board. “The demand for artfully prepared cocktails has driven an alluring arsenal of artisan spirits by independent distilleries.” We agree: Singapore is in a drinking league of its own.
There is an absolute dedication to technique in craft cocktails in Japan. “Purity is the backbone of the Tokyo beverage experience, and bartenders take their work as seriously as chefs,” said Steven Hall of City of Tokyo Tourism. “The ingredient comes first and the balance of flavor is important. As with all things Japanese, there must be a sense of harmony.” Try Gen Yamamoto for the true Tokyo experience.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv has one bar for every 230 residents in the city. Make sure to try Imperial Craft, which was named the 17th best bar in the world by Drinks International. Also, order an Arak or Goldstar beer. According to Yadin Katz, of the Tel Aviv Mayor’s Office, they’re a must-have.
According to the Tourist Organization of Belgrade’s Jelena Stankovic, bars serve many functions in the Serbian capital, the most important of which being bureaucratic. “In the (un)official history of Belgrade, the most important political and economic decisions have been made in bars and ‘kafanas,’ which is an old word for a restaurant or tavern.” As a result, the city’s more than 3,000 bars and restaurants are held to the highest standards. Check out Bajloni Bar and its charming garden patio if visiting in the summer.
While certainly a destination for all kinds of drinkers, Berlin is perhaps best known for its beer culture. “Berlin has transformed into a center for microbreweries that produce a variety of craft beer from India Pale Ale to pilsner and lager,” said a spokesperson for Visit Berlin. For a truly fantastical experience, check out The Fairytale Bar, where butterflies may pop out of the "talking" drinks menu, and you can order such cocktails as “The Frog King,” “Black Knight,” and “The Wise Counselor.”
The drinking scene in the Netherlands capital is definitely worth venturing halfway around the world for. Make sure to spring for something with the centuries-old Jonge Jenever (Dutch gin) in it and also a pint from the Brouwerij De Prael. The best place to start? Tales & Spirits, which was rated the 30th best bar in the world by Drinks International.