Mixing up intoxicating locations, indulgent design and pioneering beverages, these are some of the best bars in the world.
A truly incredible bar experience is about more than just curated bottlings and flashy mixology. The best bars know that a crafted blend of unique ambience, five-star service and artful design is just as important as the mix of flavours in the cocktails being served.
From top-secret speakeasies to mind-blowing cocktail labs, these bars go above and beyond expectations to deliver memorable libations.
Connaught Bar, London
For the second consecutive year, Connaught Bar has been awarded the title of ‘World’s Best Bar’ in the annual World’s 50 Best Bars awards. From its gleaming interior to its impeccable service and menu of cocktail classics, this London institution deserves every accolade.
Nestled within the elegant Connaught Hotel and helmed by master mixologist Agostino Perrone, it’s where gin is king – Connaught distils its own on site. And best served up as a Connaught Martini which arrives on a trolley and is tailored to your taste with handcrafted bitters.
The bar also boasts a comprehensive menu of vintage spirits. The ‘1893 Sidecar’ is made with Adet 1893, 1980s Cointreau and fresh lemon juice.
Must try: dive into the delightfully nuanced Impressions menu with the ‘Crayola’ cocktail – a homage to the Connaught’s shift from dawn to dusk with Patrón Reposado, Martini Ambrato and Muyu Vetiver with passionfruit and grapefruit notes.
Maybe Sammy, Sydney
Nestled between The Rocks and Sydney’s CBD, Maybe Sammy brings all the glamour and service of a swanky hotel bar, minus the hotel. Prepare for a show as smoke bubbles and sparks erupt around you and bartenders in crisp white suits garnish drinks with dramatic flourishes.
Expect Art Deco style, attentive service and an overall feel that’s just a little bit Gatsby. Maybe Sammy’s Stardust menu is a delicious concoction of old Hollywood glamour and new-age tricks, inspired by great women in history.
Must try: for a smokey drink with a little flame, order ‘It’s Only A Paper Moon’. Inspired by Ella Fitzgerald, this cocktail is made with Patrón Silver tequila, Empirical Spirits Charlene McGee, smoked paprika, aloe vera, and lime.
The fridge door of an unassuming pastrami shop in Barcelona’s El Born district is the last place you’d expect to find an upmarket bar. Yet wander a little further inside and you’ll be greeted with striking curved wood panelling of Paradiso, another ranked ‘best bars’ in the world.
Under the guidance of Giacomo Giannotti, Paradiso serves up out-of-this-world beverages from a glowing menu. Expect laboratory-crafted drinks that play with flavours, textures and colours.
Must try: the ‘Vulcano Negroni’, served alongside a mini dry ice volcano which erupts over the glass. Or enjoy ‘Brunch on the Moon’ with Patrón Silver tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, oyster leaves, Port wine, tomato juice, raspberries and ponzu sauce served up in a shell.
Gin lovers will rejoice at Atlas, with its staggering gin collection boasting more than 1300 labels. A celebration of the Roaring Twenties, this impressive bar graces the ground floor of Singapore’s Parkview Square with Art Deco glamour and decadence in spades.
The sheer grandeur of the space is enough to draw the crowds. Add a 90-page collection of spirits, wines and liquors, plus an exclusive society with monthly gin tastings, and it’s no wonder that Atlas brings in the accolades.
Must try: order an ‘Atlas Suite’ to sample three martini adaptations – orange blossom, espresso and the bar’s signature martini.
Dante, New York
This beloved and time-honoured New York City haunt has been heralded frequently as one of the world’s best bars.
And it’s no wonder – Dante has been an institution from the moment it opened its doors in 1915 as Caffe Dante. Now, the airy joint offers an elevated selection of modern Italian cuisine and world-class cocktails. You’d be forgiven for spending a day inside. Morning coffee, lunchtime pasta and aperitivo are all on offer.
Must try: Dante’s speciality is a Negroni, and their list of spin offs is steadily growing. Among the highlights are the ‘Café Negroni’, with rum, marsala and coffee liqueur. Or sample the famed ‘Garibaldi’, made with Campari and ‘fluffy’ orange juice.
1930 takes the notion of a speakeasy to the next level. Hidden away in an undisclosed location in Milan, the easiest way of getting in is by knowing the owners. Flavio Angiolillo and Marco Russo have kept the location of this secret space under wraps since its opening in 2000, but they couldn’t contain the hype surrounding it.
If you’re fortunate enough to find the bar, expect a space reminiscent of the Prohibition era with vintage armchairs, live piano music and a warm ambience. While the vibe is old-fashioned, the drinks certainly aren’t.
Must try: the ‘Antonio and Cleopatra’ is just one of the highlights on the futuristic cocktail menu. It mixes dukka spirits, Hippocratic wine, with artemisia and selim pepper cordial, galangal and absinthe powder.
If sipping drinks beneath the Indian Ocean is to your taste, Subsix at Niyama Private Islands won’t disappoint. Guests arrive via private speedboat before descending a staircase to a submarine lair. Passing schools of parrotfish and Moorish idols as you submerge yourself in this underwater oasis.
The interior reflects the coral reef that Subsix looks out to, with anemone-like chairs and capiz-shell draped ceilings. The venue is a showstopper and worthy of the title as one of the world’s best bars.
Must try: the ‘Deepwater Daquiri’ is a secret blend of rare and tropical signature rums with fresh lime.
Launched on 1 July, this hidden gem has already made an impression on Melbourne’s famed Toorak Road. With its rock chic aesthetic and boundary-pushing menu, Backroom is shaping up to become one of the city’s best bars.
Situated in Ovolo South Yarra, Backroom brings the brand’s signature playfulness to life. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a late night snack or cocktail indulgence. The current All-Australian Takeover menu highlights the versatility of local flavours, incorporating Australian beverage brands like Feels Botanical, Regal Rogue and Capi.
Must try: the ‘Red Ricky’ highball packs a subtle flavour punch with Regal Rogue Bold Red and Feels Vivify, topped with Capi grapefruit and rosemary soda water.
Galaxy Bar, Dubai
Galaxy Bar is an intimate venue, standing out from the crowd as one of Dubai’s best bars. With its stunning marble bar and vaulted ceiling of twinkling, star-like lights, you’ll feel yourself whisked away to a distant galaxy.
Twilight blue velvet and golden finishes adorn this sultry bar, and the menu is nothing short of celestial. Each cocktail is inspired by a unique glittering galaxy, planet or star.
Must try: the smouldering ‘Fire Star’ contains rooibos Campari, banana peel cordial, Mancino Rosso, coffee bitters and sparkling water.
Ice Bar, Sweden
For an experience sure to give you chills, look no further than Ice Bar. Following on from the original Ice Bar in Jukkasjärvi, ICEHOTEL has opened another uber-cool location in Stockholm.
Just like its sister property, the bar is redecorated each year by different artists, hand-carved with ice from the Torne River. Inside, you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail served in carved ice glasses in sub-zero temperatures. But don’t fret, you’ll be lent gloves and an ice cape to stay warm as you enjoy a taste of Sweden’s polar magic.
Must try: the limited edition ‘Turning 20’ cocktail celebrates 20 years of Stockholm’s Ice Bar mixing Absolut vodka, lingonberries and lime.
Blending Parisian flair and New York street smarts, Danico delivers cocktail excellence in the former Jean Paul Gaultier flagship store. Bartenders are outfitted with nautical striped shirts as a fitting homage to the fashion designer.
Velvet furnishings, a herringbone marble bar and an upbeat 80s playlist show off a luxe playfulness. Drinks are courtesy of award-winning bartender, Nico de Soto, showcasing his expertise with a daring 12-cocktail menu.
Must try: ‘La Myrtille’, an enhanced Kir Royale containing Pierre Ferrand cognac with hazelnut butter and infused with tonka beans.
ARGO, Hong Kong
Widely regarded as one of the world’s best bars, ARGO wants to challenge the way we think about drinks. Its debut ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’ menu showcases six staple ingredients – honey, cacao, vanilla, coffee, rice and apple – that are at risk of becoming endangered. This simple yet poignant message makes for delicious and innovative cocktails, all served in a venue accented with plants and taxidermy butterflies.
With its dazzling bar overseen by award-winning mixologist, Summer Lo, and Four Season’s beverage manager, Lorenzo Antinori, ARGO brings climate awareness and quirky spirits to the Four Seasons Hong Kong. Curious offerings include the world’s first AI-created gin and a lab-made whisky.
Must try: the Single Origin Negroni with aged cocoa. This beverage is made with St. George Terroir gin, cascara vermouth, hulu gail cocoa, Campari and smoked jalapeno. The spirits are aged in cocoa pods sourced from a Malaysian farm that supports Indigenous tribes.
Casa Prunes, Mexico City
Its Gaudi-esque exterior only hints at the artistry that goes on inside Casa Prunes. This Mexico City bar is shaking up zero-waste cocktails in an Art Noveau style mansion where no two rooms are the same.
Everything on the menu is also wildly unique, thanks to the bar’s artisan fermentation program. The house champagne ‘Melón Verde’, for example, is made using the classic method yet with melons fermented for six months. There are also red fruits and plátano sparkling wine variations, plus a range of cocktails celebrating Casa Prunes’ signature spirits.
Must try: the ‘Cosmo-politan’ blends homemade beetroot shrub with kumquat and tangerine double sec, kefir cranberry, lemon and Ketel One vodka.
Royal Mansour Bar, Marrakech
From the moment you step into the Royal Mansour Bar, you’ll be transported into a world of Roaring Twenties opulence. The main bar forms the heart of this spectacular palace, replete with traditional architecture, lush gardens and sumptuous riads.
The space oozes opulence with a hand-sculpted silver ceiling, walls lined with rose gold leaf and vintage carved chairs. Evenings at the Royal Mansour Bar pulse to the sound of tracks recorded by Beatrice Ardisson, made solely for the hotel. All of the drinks are alcohol-free, making staying sober all the more effortless.
Must try: the ‘Medina Delight’, a delicious fusion of pineapple juice, lychee puree and sage syrup.
Northern Lights Bar, Iceland
Ever dreamed of witnessing the Northern Lights? Now you can, in a floating bar overlooking sprawling lava fields and remote Icelandic countryside. Northern Lights Bar is the glass-panelled gem in the crown of ION Adventure Hotel, offering uninterrupted views of the spectacular natural phenomenon.
Local produce is the focus here, and the bar serves up classic spirits and liqueurs infused with Icelandic flavours. The best part? The bar has a staircase leading to an outdoor hot tub.
Must try: the ‘Fury of Iceland’, Iceland’s signature distilled beverage with a twist – Brennivin, Bjork, blueberry syrup and ginger beer.