It´s definitely easier to find me at cafés rather than at bars, but I can still appreciate a drink or two in a nice atmosphere! Throughout different trips, I got a chance to bump into some pretty cool bars to which I would gladly teleport myself at anytime (it´s always after noon somewhere, remember?). Today I´m sharing with you my favorites in this post! Cheers!
TONGA ROOM & HURRICANE BAR (San Francisco)
Anthony Bourdain never disappointed us. So when I saw an episode of “No Reservations” where he went to this tiki themed bar in San Francisco, I knew I had to try it. After all, who doesn´t love a bar with a tropical motif where you can sip on delicious fruity cocktails out of a fancy carved cup?
Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is located inside the Fairmont Hotel, in the downtown area. Once you step inside, you definitely forget you are in the middle of a big metropole. The décor of this place is really something else! The wooden tables are located under wooden and hay huts, surrounding the pool in the middle of the room. In the pool there´s a beautiful rustic boat (yes, you read right, a middle sized boat!), where musicians play live music on selected evenings while floating on the water. The minds behind Tonga made sure the place felt like an authentic jungle oasis in the middle of tall buildings: no matter the weather outside, every 30 minutes the restaurant/bar is hit by a tropical storm. Don´t worry, the cinematographic rain won´t make you wet!
Since plunging in the pool is not allowed, I strongly advise you to plunge into their drinks´ menu. It varies from classic tiki cocktails like Mai Tai and Zombie, to modern ones like Tonga Punch and Hurry Kane (not a typo!). If you are not that thirsty, order a drink to share with your friends like the Rainmaker! They come in huge bowls and a promise of many Instagram likes!
I already mentioned the 1-Altitude bar here, as one of the to-do things in Singapore. Even though you might be uncomfortable with heights, like me, I think it´s pretty worth it to conquer your fear in order to experience the highest open-air bar in the world, don´t you think? (well, unless you have vertigo…)
This is not a sight you see every day: a spectacular 360-degree view of one of the coolest cities in the world, from the 64th floor. Everything that looked huge from the ground, like the Singapore Flyer (giant wheel) and the Marina Bay Hotel, is now dwarfed by the elevation of the One Raffles´ Place building, where the 1-Altitude bar is located.
The menu is varied with signature drinks like the Altitude Affair (a mix of vodka, passion fruit, lime juice and basil), classic ones like Martinis and Long Island Ice Tea, and, of course, the show-effect drinks like the flaming Lamborghini on fire, which will definitely add to this soaring experience!
SERRA FIORITA (NYC)
If there was a competition for which city holds the most unique bars in the world, I bet New York would be far up on the list, if not in first place. Out of the many bars I could mention here, I´m putting Serra on the list simply because it was the first one I have ever been to which changes its look completely from season to season. Isn´t this exciting?!
I went there in April, so the restaurant/bar was blooming in vibrant spring colors! It felt like having a drink at an Italian´s family backyard. Actually, you kind of forget you are at a bar, since the decoration details´ like the gazebo and the rustic furniture really create a cozy festivity feeling…almost like a countryside wedding!
The menu also changes according to every season. During springtime, you can choose something bubbly from the Spritz Cocktails´ list or try their natural wines. If you haven´t heard of it, natural wines are the ones which are not manipulated with chemical additives or don´t go through corrective processes. What could be more perfect for this season that celebrates the purest of what nature can offer?
WILDE MATILDE COCKTAILBAR (Berlin)
Wilde Matilde looks like a place straight out of a Dr. Seuss movie. It´s colorful, whimsical, glitzy and….a bit crazy! And I couldn´t mean this in a more positive way….
Inspired by the 20-40´s variety shows, Wilde Matilde brings back the old times in the middle of Berlin´s most nostalgic neighborhood, Nikolaiviertel. The reminiscence feeling is in every detail that embellishes this kitsch place: the rococo furniture, the pictures of old Berlin, the carrousel-bar which is Matilde´s center piece – and, I would risk to say, a real work of art!
Though it might be seen as only a decoration item, this merry-go-round has a deeper metaphorical meaning, supporting the revival theme of this place. As the website states, “Life is like a carousel – it goes up and down. Sometimes colorful, sometimes grey, sometimes it turns and sometimes it stands still.” You can never go wrong with some bar philosophy!
Wilde Matilde is not only a delight to the eyes. The drink menu is extensive and veeeery intriguing! Aside from the classic ones like Cosmopolitan and Pina Colada, you have very creative lists of drinks like the 50´s themed cocktails (Pin up, Rockabilly, Teenie Weenie Bikini…), Hip hop (Motherfucker, MILFI Style…), Showtime (Dirty Dancing, Moulin Rouge, Tango…), Fantasy (Gandalf, Twilight…) and many more. I would really like to meet the master mind behind the creation of these drinks! The funny thing is that it is probably possible, since they offer cocktail workshops as well!
Go on a Friday or Saturday night in order to experience the bar in full with their burlesque shows!
BLAUE BAR (Vienna)
Though red used to be the color of monarchy and nobility, this blue bar in Vienna makes you feel like aristocracy. The high ceiling, the (royal!) blue walls and velvet chairs, the golden framed paintings and wall details, the pattern carpet, and the porcelain décor teleport you to a time of imperial extravagance. If you wondered how it was like to actually experience one of those lavish rooms in the palaces you visited (but which you could only admire from a distance), the Blaue bar is the place for you.
The bar is located inside one of the most exclusive hotels in the world: the Sacher. You may have heard this name before, since the hotel is titled after Vienna´s most famous dessert, the Sacher pie (Sachertorte). Eduard Sacher, who opened the hotel back in 1876, was actually the son of Franz Sacher, the man who created this delicious and now emblematic sweet for the guests of Prince von Metternich back in 1832. Nowadays you can taste this pie everywhere in Vienna, but at the hotel´s blue bar and its Sacher Café you will certainly have a piece of the most traditional family recipe.
In the Blaue´s bar menu, you will find champagne (of course!), wine, beer, tee, coffee and many cocktails. The latter is divided into alcohol free (Virgin Mojito, Coconut Kiss…), fancy (Singapore Sling, Cosmopolitan…), Classic (Alexander, White Russian…), Rum (Mojito, Pina Colada…), Martini (Apple, Espresso…), Aperitif (Bloody Mary, Gibson…), and Creative (Blue Velvet, Royal Red…). Don´t be scared of the luxurious atmosphere, the drinks here are surprisingly reasonably priced! The cocktail prices vary from 11 to 17 euros and wines from 6 to 11 euros. Ah, and whatever you order, you will also get a generous selection of yummy salted marinated nuts.
For this luxurious experience you definitely don´t need to belong to nobilty!