World’s greatest watering holes

Travel writers reveal their picks for the best bars — those that embody the city they’re situated in.

Caribbean Club

There are some bars that travel writers should keep to themselves (and this will lose me some friends) but the Caribbean Club, a tiny speakeasy behind a wooden door bearing nothing but a brass plaque, is too good not to share. Founded by an alumnus of Havana’s legendary El Floridita, it combines Cuban swagger and nautical trappings with old-school Barcelona elegance, and has a rum collection that would sink Jack Sparrow. You won’t find a better prepared daiquiri in town.

5 Carrer de les Sitges, Barcelona

— Sally Davies

Hong Kong

If I’m out to impress visiting friends, there’s only one place to go. Sevva is atop a stately old high-rise in the centre of town, haloed by neon-washed Victoria Harbour and some of Hong Kong’s most impressive buildings. The views are the most magical the city has to offer. Head to the terrace and order a fruity number such as the Kama Sutra, rum with mango, passionfruit and lime.
25/F, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Rd, Central, Hong Kong.
— Lee Cobaj

The Baxter Inn

The Baxter Inn

is so well concealed I ended up sipping cocktails in the wrong bar. Eventually, I was led through the unmarked door, down the grungy stairs and into the candelabra-lit den. Behind the 10m-bar are 800-plus whiskies,

many accessible only by library ladder. Behind the good-time vibe is a team that ensures every drink is made with precision and served with panache.

The Tennessee whiskey with fresh Granny Smith apple is a refreshing house special.

152-156 Clarence St, Sydney.

— Ariela Bard

The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel
Los Angeles

Nowhere does old Hollywood glamour like the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is why their Polo Lounge is always my first stop when I have friends visiting LA. There have been countless back-of-the-napkin deals made under the candy-striped ceiling — Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn and Clark Gable were regulars — but my favourite spot is the bougainvillea-filled patio, where you can order a Howard Hughes gin cocktail (he lived in one of the bungalows) and keep a look out for familiar faces.
9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills.
— Luciana Bellini

Gen Yamamoto

The atmosphere feels more restrained than riotous. But what Gen Yamamoto lacks in party glitz, it more than compensates for in its quintessentially Japanese experience. It’s a cocktail take on a traditional tea ceremony — uber-mixologist Yamamoto san, in lab-style whites, serves an array of cocktails (always seasonal, mixing spirits with flavours such as Hokkaido prunes). What I love most? Not having to thumb through a menu. Sit back at the eight-seat counter and watch him work his magic.
1-6-4 Azabujuban, Anniversary Building 1F, Minato, Tokyo.
— Danielle Demetriou

Baba au Rum

If I had to pick one joint that sums up the late-night social scene, it’s this tropically tinged boozer. Louche smokers and discerning drinkers spill out on to the pedestrian alley. Inside, the decor is a mash-up of mid-century modern with a tiki twist, and the summery soundtrack — from reggae to rumba — is just as eclectic. Naturally, rum’s the thing to order: go for any of the signature daiquiris with house-blended botanicals. Lively but laid-back, hip but unpretentious, Baba au Rum is a pioneer of the resurgent spirit of Athens.
Klitiou 6, Athens;
— Rachel Howard

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
New Orleans

When I think of New Orleans, I think of decadence and tradition, and this plush spot in the heart of the French Quarter connected to Arnaud’s Restaurant has both in spades. It’s a place unconcerned with passing fads and trends, so you will never feel out of place. Sit back and order their house French 75 cocktail, plus a side of their must-have souffle potatoes. After the first drink, head upstairs to the hidden Mardi Gras museum and return, newly impressed, for your second round of drinks.
813 Rue Bienville, New Orleans.
— Paul Oswell

Bar Cock

A favourite haunt of Ava Gardner and Francis Bacon, Cock (short for cocktail) has been going for nearly a century and is always packed with artists, actors and anyone who doesn’t have a nine-to-five job. With dark panelled walls, green leather banquettes and killer dry martinis, this classic bar has barely changed since I first went there in the 80s. No one cares what you are wearing or how old you are, which makes it very smart indeed — and very Madrilenian.
16 Calle Reina, Madrid.
— Annie Bennett

Pereletny KabaK

My favourite bar in Moscow is Pereletny Kabak, “The Flying Inn“, named after a novel by G K Chesterton. It has only been open a year but already feels like part of the fabric of the city. It’s a tiny, subterranean space in a 19th century building, with an adjoining bookshop and gallery, so it has a raffish, Bohemian atmosphere and matching clientele. They serve wine, food and cocktails, but here, I’d drink vodka neat, in the Russian style.
10 Mansurovskiy Ln, Moscow.
— Marcel Theroux

Le Connetable

This is my go-to late-night bar for its Parisian spirit. You won’t find a mixologist-curated cocktail menu in this eccentric Marais spot, but your drinks (a glass of wine, a generous G&T) will be served with gusto. The crowd is a mix of chatty locals, fashion types and curious visitors. There’s often live music around the piano, either from professionals or patrons. You’ll have stories to tell afterwards.
55 Rue des Archives , Paris;
— Hannah Meltzer


Cocktails meet molecular gastronomy at Aviary, sister bar to the world-renowned restaurant Alinea. When you order, you may not know what form your beverage will take, but you can count on drama, art and surprise — kind of like Chicago itself. If it’s available, request In the Rocks. It’s a personal favourite and, while the ingredients change, the vessel is the same: an egg-shaped ice orb that you shatter with a mini slingshot.
955W Fulton Market, Chicago.
— Kate Silver


Singapore has its fair share of swanky bars but you can’t do better than Native for something unique. The bar flies the flag for all things local. From locally foraged pink jasmine blossoms, Thai rum and Indian whisky to local weaver ants, owner Vijay Mudaliar is out to win fans with his unlikely pairings of Asian flavours. Part of the pleasure of drinking here, for me, is savouring its rustic wood-heavy setting on the upper storey of a conservation shop house. It’s hard to find but worth the effort.
52A Amoy St, Singapore;
— Evelyn Chen

Los 36 Billares
Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is one of the world’s pre-eminent bar-hopping cities — there’s even a government body charged with conserving the “bares notables”. Los 36 Billares, which opened in 1894, is one of these. It’s staunchly traditional and still has billiard tables beneath original Tiffany lamps. Old-school waiters waft away any attempts at gentrification. For food, I go for a portion of fugazzeta (onion-topped pizza) or a meat empanada. Cynar is my favourite digestif, followed by a carajillo — espresso with rough local brandy.
1271 Avenida De Mayo, Buenos Aies.
— Chris Moss

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Hidden down an unassuming alleyway off Fleet St, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has a gloomy charm befitting its London locale, and literary connections aplenty: Wodehouse, Twain and Dickens were all regulars, the latter alluding to the pub in A Tale of Two Cities. Rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, the boozer’s dusty nooks, vaulted cellar and open fires make it a fine place to hide from the English winter. Order a pint of bitter and mind the sign erected in less enlightened times: “Gentlemen only served in this bar”.
145 Fleet St, London EC4A
— Gavin Haines

The Everleigh

The Everleigh ticks numerous boxes: discreet location, enviable cool and obsessive attention to detail. While its swirling fans, dark wooden panels and leather booths evoke the pages of a Raymond Chandler novel, this is Melbourne, where noir is tempered by an easy affability. The best seats in the house are at the marble bar, where immaculately groomed barkeeps craft classic cocktails with renowned technical brilliance. Indeed, even the ice is custom-made by the bar’s own ice-making company.
150-156 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Melbourne.
— Cristian Bonetto

Broken Shaker

The legendary Broken Shaker, set in a poolside courtyard with overhead string lights twinkling from the trees, embodies the soul of Miami with its laid-back, subtropical vibes. It draws from the area’s diverse melting pot of Latin and Caribbean cultures when it comes to whipping up fresh, creative cocktails. The menu changes constantly — I tend to gravitate towards whatever sounds the most unusual, such as the Zapatero de Jerez, a boozy blend of fino sherry, apricot brandy, cinnamon orgeat and a Zacapa rum. Go for sunset happy hour.
2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach;
— Shayne Benowitz

Telegraph Group

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