Heritage, atmosphere, ambience, cocktails! Here’s the international bars that get all these things right and you should visit one day.
The Dead Rabbit, New York
The best bar in the world according to the definitive World’s 50 Best Bar awards? This watering hole in New York’s Financial District, which has made a big impact in the five short years it’s been open. The Dead Rabbit belongs to a pair of Irishmen who left Belfast for the Big Apple like thousands of their countrymen before them, setting up this three-story establishment to bring the spirit of those iconic 19th Century Irish-American taverns into the new millennium.
The American Bar at the Savoy, London
Nine London bars made that top 50 list and the top ranked — and No.2 overall — is this swanky joint, where old-school white-blazered barmen dish up 24 British-themed cocktails in the elegant surrounds you’d expect from a legendary five-star hotel in the Strand. There’s a good reason the Savoy Cocktail Book — still in print almost a century after its first run — is renowned as the bible of mixology.
El Floridita, Havana
Cuba’s most famous bar earned its reputation for two things. The first is being ‘la cuna del daiquiri’ — the cradle of the daiquiri — for inventing the frozen fruity rum cocktail in the 1930s. The second is being American author Ernest Hemingway’s favourite spot for a tipple when he lived in Havana during the 1930s and ’40s, a fact you’re reminded of when you see the life-sized bronze statue of Hemingway knocking back a double-strength daiquiri in the corner.
Harry’s Bar, Venice
When Hemingway swapped Cuba for Europe in the late 1940s, he carried his chronic alcoholism into this Venetian institution, which has also greeted the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, and Woody Allen. Harry’s invented the Bellini cocktail as well as the beef Carpaccio dish, but it’s the dry martini that keeps crowds flocking to this ornate Venice landmark.
The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, Singapore
It’s a little touristy these days but if you can see past the cargo shorts and fanny packs, Raffles takes you back in time to 1800s colonial Singapore — especially the urbane Billiard Room. It would be sacrilege not to order a Singapore Sling while you’re there, the national drink Raffles invented in 1915, made up of gin, pineapple juice, grenadine, lime juice and Dom Benedictine.