Travel the World
The Greatest Drinking Establishments in the World
Pull up a chair, pour a glass, and be sure to make it a double, because these drinking establishments are among the glitziest and most famous in the world. Explore the top 10 places to grab a drink, just don’t get too tipsy.
1. Skybar, Dubai
This swanky lounge is suspended 200 metres above sea level on the 27th floor of the Burj Al Arab luxury hotel. The views are reportedly spectacular, as are the prices – there’s a $114 CAD minimum for each guest during cocktail service. The cocktail menu should make it a cinch to shell out that dough; the in-house mixologist offers a vast selection of exotic and expensive creations. If you’re in for something unusual, try the Arabic Lemon Drop – a combination of citrus vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice, lemon bitters simple syrup and sumac powder, a spice purported to have healing properties.
2. Guinness Storehouse, Ireland
There’s no better place to sip a pint of Guinness than in its birthplace – the brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin. Visitors enter the Storehouse through an atrium designed as the world’s largest pint glass that if full would hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness. At the bottom of the “glass” is the original 9,000-year lease that Arthur Guinness signed for the brewery in 1759. Tourists are then taken through the brewing process, the history of the brand and advertising through the years. You can learn how to pour your own pint in the Perfect Pint Bar, and finish up the tour with a drink and 360° views at the Gravity Bar located at the very top of the Storehouse.
3. The Campbell Apartment, New York
Hop off the train and make a beeline for this chic bar in Grand Central Terminal. The refurbished office of 1920’s millionaire financier John W. Campbell is a throwback to the Manhattan glamour of that time. The cocktail menu also has a distinctly vintage feel, with old-school drinks such as the Pink Lady and the Highlander.
4. Trapper John’s, Newfoundland
If you’re looking for a true Newfoundland experience, stop by Trapper John’s and get “screeched in.” The traditional ceremony is performed to welcome visitors to the province and involves drinking a shot of Newfoundland Screech Rum and kissing a cod on the mouth. More than 100,000 people have been screeched in at Trapper John’s, including the band Down With Webster. As part of your $12 Screech-In package, you’ll get a shot of Screech, a commemorative shot glass and a certificate welcoming you to “Royal Order of Screechers.” No doubt you’ll also walk away with some hair on your chest – Screech is notoriously strong stuff.
5. Pete’s Tavern, New York
There are thousands of bars in the Big Apple, ranging from swanky lounges to dives – and Pete’s Tavern has outlived them all. This watering hole in East 13th Street boasts that it’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant and bar in New York. Enjoy a pint of their 1864 House Ale in the booth where writer O. Henry was rumoured to have written The Gift of the Magi, or where author Ludwig Bemelmans is said to have written his famous Madeline story on the back of a menu. Much of the interior décor, including the tin ceiling and the bar itself, are original details in place since it was established in 1864.
6. El Floridita, Cuba
Author Ernest Hemmingway spent many a rum-soaked night at this Havana spot. There’s even a bronze statue of him casually leaning over the bar. You can order a mojito or Cuba Libre, but daiquiris are the main draw here – Hemmingway wrote that no drink in the world could compare in his book Islands in the Stream. Try the Papa Hemmingway, which combines Havana Club rum with grapefruit juice, lime juice, crushed ice and maraschino cherry.
(Photo courtesy of Travel Aficionado/Flickr)
7. Distillerie Les Fils D’Emile Pernot, France
When one thinks of absinthe, images of hallucinating 19th-century French artists like Toulous-Lautrec and Van Gough come to mind. Once banned in several countries, this alcohol has certainly gotten a bad rap. However, the hallucinatory effects of the absinthe have since been disputed. If you want to sample what was once dubbed the Green Fairy, there’s no better place than this French distillery, which has been producing it for more than a century. Guided tours explain the history of the distillery, the process of producing absinthe and information about the drink itself. Visitors are also offered an absinthe tasting, including instruction on the various rituals of drinking it.
8. Moet et Chandon, France
Clearly the best place to sip bubbly is in the Champaign region of France. Book a tour through the cellars of Moet et Chandon to discover how the official Champaign of Formula 1 is made. Visitors learn the history of the house, founded in 1743, as well as the process of creating the different varietals in the collection. Perhaps best of all, tours end with a tasting of Champaign curated by the house’s sommeliers.
(Photo courtesy of fmpgoh/Flickr)
9. Weihenstephan Brewery, Germany
Founded in 1014, Weihenstephan claims to be the oldest brewery in the world that’s still in operation. In the ninth century, the brewery was run by Benedictine monks. Today the brewery is publicly owned by the State of Bavaria and offers tours that guide visitors through the history of the site and brewing process. Tours wrap up with a tasting of Weihenstephaler’s selection of beers and participants get their own commemorative pint glasses to take home.
(Photo courtesy of kaleissin/Flickr)
10. Gekkeikan Sake Museum, Japan
If you’re a sake fan, the Fushimi district of Kyoto is the place to be. Sake brewers chose to establish breweries in the area because of the high quality of its water. The Gekkeikan brewery, established in the area in 1637, is one of the world’s biggest producers of sake today. Visitors can tour the brewery’s museum to learn the history of sake brewing in the region and view more than 6,000 historic brewing tools. Of course, no tour would be complete without a sake tasting, which offers varieties available exclusively at the museum.
(Photo courtesy of Runemester/Flickr)