Best Bars in Barcelona

The capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in the Kingdom of Spain, Barcelona is the second-largest metropolis in the country (after Madrid) and the largest metropolis along the gorgeous waters of the Mediterranean Sea.   Last year, Barcelona was the 20th-most-visited city in the world by international visitors and the fifth most visited city in Europe.  The city is a celebrated tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas, one of the best beaches in the world, a mild and warm climate, historical monuments, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 519 hotels.

As one of the best and most coveted tourist destinations in the world, Barcelona is simply bursting with great bars and trendy lounges that will help you make memories when visiting this bustling and beautiful city.  To illustrate this point, below we have highlighted several of the city’s most popular and well-loved bars, and described some of the characteristics and features that make each of them so adored by locals and visiting tourists.

Bar Calders

A small bar located in the Sant Antoni region of Barcelona, Bar Calders is an establishment named and themed after Pere Calders, a famous Barcelona-born writer.   The bar is situated in a cul-de-sac that also bears Calder’s name and is one of the quaintest destinations on our list.

As you walk into the Bar Calders, the first thing you will notice are the many books written by the Catalan author, in a place that is about half library and half watering hole. Johny of GameTableHero.com is quick go point out this isn’t your normal dive bar with pool tables in the corner. Several different types of local, national and international draught beer is on tap, as is a small selection of liquors, vermouths and liqueurs.  The bar feels comfortable and inviting, with soft lighting, a sparse décor and comfortable seating scattered throughout, and the waitresses are always on hand to serve up the Bar Calders’ special selection of mouth-watering tapas.

23 Robadors

23 Robadors is the ideal spot in Barcelona for all types of music lovers.  The stone-walled lounge, albeit small in comparison to some of the other destinations on our list, has a DJ spinning tunes every night of the week, with genres ranging from rock to hip hop to classical.  Every Wednesday night the rocking bar features a jazz “jam session,” where the musically-inclined customers can climb on stage and jam with the in-house band.  And flamenco music and dancing happens every Sunday night, giving out-of-towners a true taste of the local music and dancing styles.

The décor of 23 Robadors is reminiscent of an underground rave party, with hand-painted murals on the walls, sparse seating and very low lighting. Customers wanting to gain entry to the bar and music club must first ring a bell on the outside of the establishment, a feature that only adds to the somewhat naughty feel of this awesome nightspot.

Dry Martini and Speakeasy

Considered one of the most prominent cocktail bars on the planet, Barcelona’s Dry Martini and Speakeasy first opened its doors in 1971. At the time of its opening—by founder Don Pere Carbonellni—the bar was known as a Martinería: an establishment that served only Dry Martinis. This theme continued until 1996, when the bar was purchased by Javier de las Muelas.  Although Muelas maintained the classic English theme of the Dry Martini and Speakeasy, adding wood and leather, brass fixtures, etc., he also expanded the menu just a bit to include some classic cocktail creations from around the world as well as few signature drinks served only here.

Today, the Dry Martini and Speakeasy is easily the most chic and sophisticated bar in the city of Barcelona—a place to sip brilliantly-crafted drinks made only with the freshest ingredients and listen to the soft soulful sounds of the in-house jazz band.  An electronic sign above the bar counts up all the Dry Martinis served here since its founding, while a hidden door at the back of the locale leads to the part of the bar known as Speakeasy, which is actually a great restaurant serving delectable steaks and some of the best fresh-caught seafood you will ever taste.

El Bar de l’Antic Teatre

The El Bar de l’Antic Teatre has that ragged, worn-down look that is typically shared by some of the world’s fringe cultural associations, but this wonderful dive bar also has some of the best prices on beer and cocktails that you’ll find in the city of Barcelona.  Connected to an old theater, the bar consists of a recycled space with very little décor to speak of, unless you count the gorgeous terrace—a massive courtyard with some very colorful flowers and vegetation scattered throughout.

A great place to suck down a beer or two before the show begins, the El Bar de l’Antic Teatre is a must-stop destination for anyone who like great drinks, generous pours and low prices.

Bar Mutis

A speakeasy, located above the excellent Bar Mut tapas bar in the Eixample District of Barcelona, the Bar Mutis is an invitation-only club that has previously hosted some of the world’s most famous and recognized celebrities.  The exclusive bar can only be accessed through the steel doors of a residential apartment building, where a hostess will check carefully to see if you’re on that night’s hard-to-access guest list.  Once inside you will find a beautifully decorated, albeit rather small space in which the air is always filled with the sounds of soft jazz and soul music from the awesome in-house ensemble of talented musicians.

As you might guess, the very scrumptious cocktails at this swank and soundproof joint do not come cheap, but if you make the guest list you may get a chance to see a celebrity or two up close and personal, as past guests have included the likes of Robert De Niro, Russell Crowe and even Woody Allen, among others.

image: Pixabay

Best Bars in Bangkok

The city of Bangkok, the capital and most populous city in the country of Thailand, is famous for its incredible nightlife—a city that boasts thousands of bars, lounges and nightclubs in which partying revelers can quench their thirst and kick up their collective heels. Bangkok is one of the top tourist destinations on the planet, visited by more international visitors each year than any other city in the world. Bangkok was also named the “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure magazine’s survey of its readers for four consecutive years, from 2010 to 2013. Part of the reason for this tourism success is the city’s many great nightspots.  From the lounges in Bangkok’s Old City quarter, to the hotel bars in the mega shopping district of Sukhumvit, to its rooftop bars with sweeping views of the downtown metropolis.

In the following article we will highlight several of the best and most-visited bars in the city of Bangkok; including a brief description of each of these nightspots and the reasons they continue to draw customers from around the world.

Vertigo

Vertigo is an outdoor rooftop bar located 61 floors above the busy streets of downtown Bangkok, offering one of the most scenic views imaginable of this bustling city.  An upscale bar that is perfect for that first date with someone special or an anniversary or birthday celebration, Vertigo boasts an international and stylish vibe that is difficult to find anywhere else in this great city.  In fact, while there is no shortage of rooftop bars in Bangkok, Vertigo has consistently been ranked the best of these by local residents.

Although Vertigo boasts a full bar of beer and liquors, some of the more popular orders here are champagne (some of the world’s finest), exotic cocktails and wine by the glass or bottle.  Vertigo also offers a full menu of delectable eats, including some of the finest cuts of beef, lamb, and duck, and barbecued seafood that is fresh and delicious.

Vertigo is open from 6:00 PM until 1:00 AM, and is located atop the very swanky Banyan Hotel.

Maggie Choo’s

Founded in 2013 and located at Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom, Maggie Choo’s is rapidly becoming one of the most popular bars in the city, largely for its unique theme.  Maggie Choo’s is a basement bar with low lighting, and is modeled after the era of the 1930s in Shanghai China.  This motif has been fashioned with the use of a number of lighthearted props, including terracotta-like warrior statues, ceiling swings occupied by traditionally clad Chinese models and paper umbrellas adorning the walls.

Maggie Choo’s is positioned in the back of a noodle shop, with the bar hidden by thick red drapes, effectively giving it a mischievous vibe (as if you know something the rest of the world does not).  Inside you will find a number of comfortable booths and a large working piano that has accompanied more than its fair share of live performances.  The cocktails are a pit pricey compared to other bars of its kind in Bangkok, but the bar is definitely worth a visit for the experience alone.  Maggie Choo’s is open daily from 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM.

Smalls Bar

One of the newest bars on our list, Smalls Bar was first opened in 2014 in the Sathorn region of Bangkok.  The bar is modeled a bit like a French music bar, with a Parisian-inspired décor, very low lighting and a soundtrack of smooth jazz piped in to every corner of the establishment.  The bar is located on the third floor of a transformed 1960s townhouse, and is frequented by locals and tourists alike for its reasonably priced drinks and quiet, peaceful atmosphere.

The horseshoe-shaped bar at Smalls Bar is surrounded by comfortable, secluded booths, where waitresses take drink (and some food) orders right at the table.  The bar is very popular among European and American expats, and has even garnered the support of locals who crave a more serene drinking atmosphere than is available at many of the other Bangkok bars and nightspots.

Bamboo Bar

Located on the first floor of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Hotel, the Bamboo Bar is widely considered the best hotel bar in the city.  It is also the best bar on this list in which to catch a live music show, as the bar regularly hosts jazz trios, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.

With award-winning cocktails, the Bamboo Bar is a great place in which to sip a drink after a long day of work or sightseeing, and its décor may convince you to stay for two or three.  The place is sharp and modern, with mirrored ceilings, marble floors, wood paneling and leather and rattan seating that is very plush and comfortable.  The Bamboo Bar is open daily from 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM.

Sky Bar-Lebua State Tower

Although the Sky Bar, located atop the Lebua State Tower, has always been a popular spot for both locals and visiting tourists, this stylish nightspot became even more famous thanks to Hollywood, serving as one of the settings for the movie The Hangover II.  A round bar by design, the Sky Bar offers sweeping 360 degree views, and is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the beautiful Chao Phraya River.

Located 63 floors above Bangkok, the Sky Bar at the Lebua State Tower is the perfect place for a sundown or midnight cocktail, and because it’s just an easy walk from the Saphan Taksin BTS (Bangkok’s public transportation system), you’ll never have any trouble locating this gem of a nightspot.  The Sky Bar boasts a great Whiskey and Oyster Bar, and a comfortable outdoor terrace with lush seating scattered throughout. Moreover, the fully-stocked bar means you can always find a drink to satisfy your particular thirst.  The Sky Bar tends to get very busy by about 10:00 PM, so be sure to arrive early for the best seating overlooking the river.

image: Pixabay

Best Bars in Baltimore

Bars are a big and important part of Baltimore’s long and storied history.  Near the turn of the century, the Irish pubs and other watering holes for Baltimore’s blue-collar workers helped shape the identity of the city’s after-hours’ life.  Today, Baltimore plays host to a wide assortment of bars, lounges and pubs, from upscale hotel bars, to sports-themed establishments to the dive bars that so many local residents call home after a long day’s work.  And the people who serve up this beer and all the delicious cocktails are very representative of the city’s nickname—the Charm City—as they are always eager to meet a new face and to educate tourists on Baltimore’s culture and history.

In the following article we will shine a light on several of Baltimore’s most popular and well-attended bars, including a description of each destination’s traits, amenities, and themes—the aspects that make all of the bars on this list so near and dear to the local citizenry.

The Woodberry Kitchen

Located in the Hampden area of Baltimore, Maryland, the Woodberry Kitchen tends to lure some of Baltimore’s more upscale residents, and with the word “kitchen” in its name you can probably guess that the drinks here lean toward the gastronomic side of the spectrum.  From its “fish-pepper infused tequila to its granola infused bourbon to its technique for thickening drinks with yogurt whey and pork-fat maple, “ this is certainly not your average watering hole.  However, once you get a taste of some of these great concoctions you’ll be wondering why you didn’t show up to this Baltimore mainstay any sooner.

Needless to say, the well-dressed bartenders at the Woodberry Kitchen are some of the finest in the state and are always at the top of their game.  One of their most intriguing concoctions, according to locals, is the oft-ordered Appalachian, “with its triple-smoked apples, rye whiskey, 1757 brandy, oven ash and bourbon barrel sorghum for sweetness.  All of the drinks at the Woodberry Kitchen are off the charts, especially their homemade ciders and mead, and they all pair well with the bar’s delicious food offerings, including genuine Chesapeake oysters, and a great selection of wood-fired flatbreads.

Mick O’Shea’s

As we mentioned in the introduction, Irish pubs have played an important part in the history of Baltimore.  Today, one of the best of these establishments is the bar known as Mick O’Shea’s.  Nowhere in Baltimore (or all of Maryland) can you get the true Gaelic feel that Mick O’Shea’s delivers, and the drinks, food and décor are all very reminiscent of the Irish motherland.  Naturally, the most popular drink order at Mick O’Shea’s is the frosty and delicious pints of Guinness Stout—pints that go down so smooth you’ll have to watch yourself to make sure you don’t overdo it.

In addition to the Guinness draughts on offer at this destination, Mick O’Shea’s also pours a mean Magner’s Irish cider, and features of a full bar stocked nicely with a variety of Irish whiskeys.  The food menu is also great here, including generous platters of Tinney’s Fish and Chips or Bangers and Mash—an old UK favorite featuring Irish sausage surrounded by mashed potatoes with Guinness brown gravy and whiskey mustard sauerkraut.

On the weekends at Mick O’Shea’s, make sure you plan to stay a little later, as a live band hits the stage at about 10:00 PM every Friday and Saturday night, playing some of the best Irish music you have ever heard.

B & O American Brasserie

Located in downtown Baltimore, the B & O American Brasserie is not only a great place to share a cocktail with a friend or a loved one, it is also the official home of the Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild.  The bar is situated within the well-visited Hotel Monaco—a great place to stay when visiting Baltimore—and the lead bartender here, Brendan Dorr, also happens to be president of the aforementioned guild.  Watching Brendan and the other bartenders at the B & O American Brasserie stir and shake up their wide variety of signature cocktails is like watching poetry in motion, making something truly difficult look like second nature.

Although the drink and food prices at the B & O American Brasserie are a bit on the pricey side, the quality you receive (not to mention the show)in return is well worth the extra cash.

Fork and Wench

The Fork and Wench is a delightful bar and restaurant—a place where fun and entertainment are always on the menu.  Situated in Baltimore’s Canton district, this triple-floor watering hole and eatery was once a group of converted row houses and is now one of the most popular stopovers in the Canton region.

At the Fork and Wench you can sip beer from one of over 15 draughts on tap, including a great selection of local craft brews and ciders.  However, it is the signature cocktails that tend to draw most people to the Fork and Wench, particularly their “pickle back” menu of various whiskeys served with deliciously tart pickle brine.

The bar at the Fork and Wench is located on the ground floor of the establishment, so once you have had a few pre-dinner pops, be sure to head up to the second floor to enjoy a tasty and reasonably priced meal of comfort foods.  The bar itself is rustic and welcoming, adorned with old farm tools on the walls, and the service is unbelievably good.  In fact, if you like your meal at the Fork and Wench, make sure to buy a glass of “Love”—a mason jar of PBR sent directly to the kitchen staff in back.

Bad Decisions

Located in the Fells Point region of Baltimore, Bad Decisions is a paradise for liquor lovers, as the bar carries over 900 different type of booze.  Here the bartenders make an incredible variety of signature cocktails from a bar list that consists of scribbled pieces of paper in an old binder.  Chances are, if you’ve had the drink before, the bartenders here know how to make it.

In addition to the great lineup of beer and cocktails at Bad Decisions, this rustic bar also serves up a great menu of bar snacks—snacks that all tend to have one thing in common: bacon.  From their bacon-wrapped pork wings to their ultimate bacon-infused burger, you will always have your fill of this delicious food when you decide to visit Bad Decisions.

image: Pixabay

Best Bars in Austin, TX

Austin, Texas is by far that state’s most celebrated city for amazing nightlife, and if your idea of a good time includes tipping back a few beers, cocktails or glasses of wine, Austin definitely has you covered.  Texas’ state capital is also the entertainment capital of the state, featuring great bars, pubs and lounges in every quarter of the city.  From gritty dive bars, to sports clubs to quiet wine lounges, you can always find just the right bar with the type of crowd you are looking for.

In the following article we will highlight a handful of Austin’s great bars, including a description of the characteristics and amenities of each destination and the type of fun to be had at each.

Barfly’s

As the name of the first bar on our list may suggest, Barfly’s is the quintessential dive bar, one of the most popular of its kind in the city of Austin.  Barfly’s has all the necessary ingredients to qualify as a dive bar: incredibly inexpensive beer and drinks that are generously poured, sparse surroundings, and a mostly blue-collar crowd that certainly knows how to have a good time.

Among the many great characteristics and amenities of Barfly’s are the friendly and amiable bartenders who never forget a regular’s name or drink order; an amazing, internet-powered juke box with every song under the sun; a foosball table, several pinball and arcade-style games; and a wonderful outdoor patio area where the smoking patrons can take a few puffs among friends.  The crowd, many of whom are known to roll dice for the honor to buy the next drink, is warm and welcoming to outsiders and always quick with a joke.

Barfly’s has a fully stocked bar and some scrumptious signature cocktails, including their very own concoction known as the Happy Meal—a shot of Jaegermeister dropped into a cold pint of Lonestar Beer.

Midnight Cowboy

The Midnight Cowboy is one of the most unique bars in Austin and definitely worth a visit if you happen to be touring the city.  Located at 313 E. 6th Street, known familiarly as “Dirty 6th,” the Midnight Cowboy features an air of exclusivity and a Prohibition Era-theme.  As such, you won’t find any directions or signs pointing the way to the Midnight Cowboy. Instead you will need to call for a reservation, at which time you will receive directions and a code for the buzzer—which is changed every night.

Once inside the Midnight Cowboy you will find a lush speakeasy-style lounge, with a piano and a horseshoe-shaped bar, as well as comfortable booths and chaises spread throughout.  The bartenders at the Midnight Cowboy are some of the best in Austin; and they have been known to mix customer drinks right at their table with the help of a rolling cart and only the finest in fresh ingredients.  The Midnight Cowboy can only accommodate about 80 people per night, so be sure to call early in the day for your reservation and code.

Shangri-La

The Austin bar known as Shangri-La is a favorite among locals, particularly among students from the nearby university.  This comfortable and often eccentric bar is the type of place where customers are known to spend hours each week, as it doubles as both a bar and a place in which friends can catch up with each other.  As you might expect from a watering hole that caters to younger drinkers, Shangri-La has several Hi-Def televisions spread across the large bar, where guests can keep up with their favorite teams, several bar-style pool tables, video games and pinball machines, a wide open outdoor patio that can accommodate over a dozen revelers and plenty of other amenities that tend to lure the millennial crowd.

Shangri-La is open seven days a week; and on weekends the joint opens up a second bar to accommodate the large influx of students and out-of-town visitors.

The Library Bar

Don’t let the name of this next pub fool you, the Library Bar is anything but quiet.  And when the locals tell their friends they are heading to the “Library,” there is never any doubt where they are actually going.  Like the Shangri-La, the Library Bar caters mostly to the collegiate crowd, and is especially fun on weekend nights.  Here beer flows from over 20 taps, pouring both domestic and imported brews, including a great selection of local craft beer.  Beer and drink prices are reasonable to match the budget of these starving students, and with several pool tables, the place is always whirring with conversation and the sound of billiard balls crashing into each other. This is definitely a comfortable place for a date night or for just hanging out with friends.

Yellow Jacket Social Club

Located at 1704 E. 5th Street, the Yellow Jacket Social Club is a rustic bar with a warm and welcoming vibe and straight-to-the point, no frill drinks that are always poured generously.  Its interior is essentially a modern version of an Old-West saloon, with plenty of wood beneath and overhead, reclaimed timbers, railroad spikes and steel, and swinging wooden doors.  The bar attracts people of all ages, mostly the blue-collar crowd, who can still be found wearing their uniforms after a hard day’s work.

The full bar is stocked with all the regular booze that’s been enjoyed for years throughout Texas, and a great selection of domestic and imported beer.  The Yellow Jacket Social Club also serves a great menu of food and snacks, and we recommend their mouth-watering Cuban sandwich…you won’t be sorry.

Dog and Duck Pub

The Dog and Duck Pub is a British-style pub that would make all Englanders feel right at home.  Serving up some of the best drought pints in Austin, the bar is always hopping with excitement and great conversation.  The long and fully-stocked bar is located at the front end of the room, while pool tables, dartboards and a great jukebox grace the back end.  Live music is played about once a month on the small bandstand area, and the food, styled after genuine British pub grub, is simply to die for.

Best Bars in Auckland

Founded around two massive harbors, Auckland is a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island—a place to which tourists regularly flock to see all the majesty this wonderful country has to offer.  A visitor’s haven, Auckland has many things to do and see within its borders, including some of the best bars in the Southern Hemisphere.  Many guests travel to the center of this grand city, where they’ll find the emblematic Sky Tower.  The large tower provides breathtaking views of the Viaduct Harbor—a port which is always bustling with super-yachts and a place that is simply loaded with tasty cafes and splendid bars.

In the following article we will highlight some of the awesome bars and nightspots in Auckland, New Zealand, and do our best to describe the interesting and unique characteristics that make each of them so popular among both locals and tourists.

Spitting Feathers Pub

If you’re looking for a great beer pub in downtown Auckland, and a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of that environment, head to the Spitting Feathers Pub to enjoy your choice of terrific ales, beers and lagers.  The Spitting Feathers Pub is what is known in the country as a “freehouse,” and while these types of establishments are rare in Auckland, the Spitting Feathers Pub artfully fulfills the premise of what a freehouse is also about.

By definition, a freehouse is a (British-styled) pub that is owned independently of the breweries that supply it. And by going with this model, the Spitting Feathers Pub seeks to provide its patrons with the all benefits it offers, with “no brewery ties, no corporation determining staff or what you can or cannot drink.” Their ultimate goal here seems to be a no nonsense approach to its offerings, with simple and friendly service and decent beer that can be enjoyed by one and all.

The comfort level at the Spitting Feathers Pub is off the charts, as the bar offers plenty of “bar leaners,” tables and couches, as a well as a small covered outdoor space that is ideal for those warm summer evenings.  Although not a romantic bar, the Spitting Feathers Pub is the ideal destination for parties, get-togethers and business meetings over a cold pint.

The space in which the Spitting Feathers Pub does business was once the Wyndham Street Bowling Club; transformed to its current state after a fire gutted the building. It was created nearly three years ago and has been designed with the sole purpose to drink “proper pints, proper beers and enjoy what bars are supposed to be about.” The décor and general simplicity of Spitting Feathers truly complement this ambition. Without distinct British imagery blanketing the bar, it’s about as close as you can get to an English pub, with a contemporary touch.

The Spitting Feathers Pub offers a wide range of terrific food and drinks, including $6 tap pints all weekend and Thirsty Thursdays, on which they offer a range of discounts on beer and food. The tap beer includes a range unfamiliar to most Aucklanders, with British favorites like Carlsberg and Carling available.

Montage Lounge Bar

The Montage Lounge Bar is one of the most popular destinations for both locals and tourists who are visiting the city.  It is situated in the Point Chevalier shops, and its bartenders and hosts serve up some of the finest classic and contemporary cocktails, including a wide range of signature drinks.

If you love music, you will feel right at home at the Montage, as the bar hosts acoustic evenings, with live duos and trios playing a range of musical styles.  The Montage also regularly hosts events, such as art exhibitions and private parties.  The staff here is warm, friendly, patient and helpful, and the servers are super attentive to their collective tables.  Some food is also offered at the Montage, such as cheese plates, and the local New Zealand wine list is to die for.

The Orleans

Located at 48 Customs Street in Auckland, the Orleans is one of the coolest lounges, restaurants and performance venues in the city. It is also a wonderful place in which to relax, enjoy a superb beer, wine or cocktail, and enjoy the music.

The live music offered at the bar ranges from blues and soul to jazz, effectively transporting visitors to a simpler time on the streets of New Orleans.  A great place for an evening out with your sweetheart, the Orleans delivers on every level.

1885

The name of the 1885 bar is a reference to the year the historic Stanbeth House was founded, but don’t let the name fool you.  Everything about the 1885 bar and lounge is fresh, modern and utterly stylish, from the décor to the drinks they serve to the friendly well-dressed staff.  Here beer from around the world, local wines and cool cocktails are all on the menu, as are some very tasty grub options.

The décor of the multi-level 1885 Bar reflects a modern, 21st century flair—a flair which includes a combination of silky dark-leather seats with rustic brickwork throughout the building and dim lighting to add to the mood, all of which creates a casual yet sleek atmosphere. 1885 features some of Auckland’s coolest DJs on weekends and during the week, so be sure to check their website each week to see who’s playing.

Revelry

In a bar that offers a clever combination of modern style and rustic, old-world charm, Revelry is perhaps best known for its 19th century furniture and Asian-inspired motifs.  Located at 106 Ponsonby Road, in the front of the Ponsonby Restaurant, this unique bar regularly attracts a mix of clientele looking to relax and unwind with a great glass of wine or signature Revelry cocktail.  The bar also offers a diverse selection of exquisite and sophisticated dishes that exhibit original flavor combinations. These must be tasted with either one of the elegant cocktails on offer, or one of the fantastic wines from New Zealand and around the world.

image: Pixabay

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