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.
Reykjavik, IcelandReykjavik 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. 960 1280
Bangkok, ThailandBangkok 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. 960 1280
London, EnglandEach 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. 960 1280
New York, New YorkNYC 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.” 960 1280
Hong Kong, ChinaWhen 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. 960 1280
Melbourne, AustraliaTucked 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. 960 1280
San Francisco, CaliforniaWith 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. 960 1280
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. 960 1280
Buenos Aires, ArgentinaBuenos 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. 960 1280
SingaporeThe 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. 960 1280
Tokyo, JapanThere 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. 960 1280
Tel Aviv, IsraelTel 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. 960 1280
Belgrade, SerbiaAccording 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. 960 1280
Berlin, GermanyWhile 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.” 960 1280
Amsterdam, NetherlandsThe 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. 960 1280
Cé La Vi in Singapore
Cé La Vi (formerly called Ku Dé Ta) is a premier rooftop party bar — emphasis on the rooftop, as it sits on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, an architectural landmark in Singapore. 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 sun set over mini wagyu beef burgers with fontina cheese green chili mayo and smoked tomato relish, or you're just mesmerized by the nightly laser show, Cé La Vi is a place to see and be seen.
Insider's Tip: The price for a cocktail, such as the Lady Be Mine Grey Goose martini with lychee and rosewater, 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 in New York City, 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 N.Y.C. 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 midweek.
Insider's Tip: Give the recently revamped, American bistro-style menu, with its fresh chopped salad, jumbo shrimp skewers and rooftop sliders, a shot; you'll be pleasantly surprised.960 1280
The Roof in Madrid, Spain
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 Rande 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 stone wall.
Insider's Tip: Like most places on our list, the Roof serves cocktails that are on the pricier side. If you're going to have just one, make it the Black Mojito.960 1280
Three Sixty in St. Louis, Missouri
For a bird's-eye view of Busch Stadium, pass on the nosebleed seats and instead, head to this slick 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 6,000-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 and get the $10 cover charge waived. And for those trying to score one of the coveted tables overlooking the field, Three Sixty opens at least two hours before every home game.960 1280
POV in Washington, D.C.
To see the Washington Monument in all its recently unscaffolded glory, head to this trendy bar perched atop the historic W Hotel. POV's velvet banquettes and black wicker chairs are first-come, first-served, 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 D.C. standards, which makes it mostly a popular spot for tourists and special occasions (both bachelorette parties and proposals are popular here). But enjoying 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 in Hong Kong, China
If you're looking for one of the most glamorous bars in Hong Kong — and possibly even the world — look no farther than this penthouse bar on top of the prestigious Prince's Building. The 360-degree views of Norman Foster's HSBC Building and I.M. Pei's Bank of China Tower from Sevva's wraparound 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 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 three 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 in Innsbruck, 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 made of peaches and Champagne, or ask one of the skilled bartenders to whip up something unique. A 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 in Tokyo, Japan
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 Sofia Coppola connection, the bar embraces it, even creating the L.I.T. cocktail, made with sake, Sakura liqueur, peach schnapps and cranberry juice. Enjoy panoramic views of Shinjuku; order from the extensive wine menu (which has more than 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 about $20 for guests not staying at the Park Hyatt.960 1280
Bramante Terrace in Rome, Italy
Just one block from the Piazza Navona, atop the ivy-covered Hotel Raphael, this multilevel 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 a dinner of fresh caciotta cheese ravioli and marjoram with cherry tomatoes and basil.
Insider's Tip: It's one of the most romantic places in Rome, so don't be surprised if you see a proposal take place while here!960 1280
Vue Bar in Shanghai, China
Spread over Levels 32 and 33 of the five-star Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai, China, Vue offers guests two floors and two 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 four-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 that include everything from made-to-order eggs to lightly pickled steak tartare on brioche.960 1280
Galaxy Restaurant & Bar in Athens, Greece
The star of the Athens skyline is the majestic Acropolis — and there's no place where it seems to glow 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 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 two and a half hours before dinner service starts.960 1280
360 in Istanbul, Turkey
True to its name, this spot offers 360-degree views stretching over Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait that 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 from 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 eighth floor and follow the candlelit stairs.960 1280