Fine dining is all well and good, but sometimes you feel like having a cocktail or a lovely glass of wine with some beautiful canapés / tapas and waste away a perfectly good evening. Although I love good food, I am always impartial to a classy bar with wonderful atmosphere. Colleagues and friends do ask me for recommendations on bars, so I thought I would pen this lovely list of the top bars I have been to around the world:
Claridges Bar (London, United Kingdom)
I head to London at least once a year and a fixture on my jet-set list has been Claridges Bar. Located in the historic hotel in Mayfair the bar mixes old school charm and style with a modern hip atmosphere. The menu is ever-changing (except for the square meal which is a must try) and staff get the balance of friendly charm while maintaining patrician reserve. It is always a highlight of my trip! Check out my last review here.
The picture is from Claridges as guests are asked to refrain from photos of the bar area due to the privacy of guests.
Their Square Meal never loses its allure…
Cenobio Dei Dogi (Camogli, Italy)
Imagine yourself perched on a terrace overlooking the rocky terrain of the Riviera and its beautiful multi-coloured building facades and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. When you think all the boxes are ticked add a refreshing Aperol Spritz and some light apertivos and it’s a wonder I even left this place. This is a bar which is located on small terrace of the hotel which is open in the afternoon and wraps up before dinner. It is the place to be to unwind after a difficult (or not so difficult) day. You can check out my review here.
Harry’s Bar (Venice, Italy)
In the 1930s a customer (Harry) of Italian bartender Giuseppe Cipriani borrowed a small fortune from him and vanished. He had resigned himself to the fact he lost the money… however the customer turned up unexpectedly having made a fortune and returned money with a little gift to help Mr Ciprini set up a bar of his own. That bar is Harry’s Bar. They invented the Bellini (below) and Beef Carpaccio and have hosted royalty, statesman and the like. Everyone who visits Venice visits Harry’s Bar and you should too! You can check out my review of Harry’s here.
Jules Verne Panorama Bar (Zurich, Switzerland)
A bar, which as its name suggests, has panoramic views of Zurich. It’s the blend of the snow-capped mountains, beautiful old city buildings and the crystal clear lakes which make this bar special. The good drinks selection and little tapas bites also tick the box. The perfect way to wile way an afternoon! Here is a full review of the experience.
Moon Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)
Sipping on tropical cocktails in the most humid environment and overlooking the beautiful city and rivers of Bangkok? Yes, let me put my hand up for that! The Moon Bar has the most amazing views in the country and some of the best mixologists around. See if you can get a booking in the restaurant – it’s so worth it. My review (here) has some cool snaps and a review of the restaurant.
Nessun Dorma (Manarola, Italy)
This is more casual, but still what I love Italy is fresh quality produce which can be plated simplistically but still packs a punch. Here a simple bruschetta and an Aperol Spritz just hit the spot and the scenic views over the town of Manarola were just breathtaking. It just goes to show simple but well executed dishes and drinks can be a winner. Full review here.
Terrazza Bar, Hotel Splendido (Portofino, Italy)
Beautiful Portofino… its a playground of yachts, fine dining, luxury boutiques. Away in the cliff tops of this rocky Riviera town you can find the beautiful Hotel Splendido which has expansive views across the bay (a little bit like a James Bond movie). When I find a beautiful spot next to the cliff face on the terrace of this beautiful hotel I order a Spritz Royale and sip away while casting an idyllic gaze across the bay as the beautiful summer breeze strokes my hair. Here is my review of this amazing place.
Caprice Bar (Hong Kong)
Views over Victoria Harbour with a stunning cocktail list and an amazing selection of wine? Well the Caprice has it all. A luxurious interior design with plush sofas and decadent panels and efficient service. It is the place to meet and chillax. Here is my review of the bar.
PDT (New York, USA)
Can you keep a secret? Shhh… Well I can’t! On that note, there is bar located in a phone booth in New York city. Find your way to the Lower East Side and near a hot dog shop there is a rather odd phone both and if you dial the right number a friendly host to New York’s secret bar PDT (it stands for Please Don’t Tell) will open up the hidden passage way to a comfy cabin style bar. You can check out my review here.
The cabin look goes all the way with some lovely taxidermy on the walls.
Flash photography ain’t allowed, so this is the best shot of my cocktail. Please take my word for it – it was amazing!
La Reserve (Nice, FRANCE)
Nice is such a beautiful city and indeed the fresh produce from the Mediterranean makes it the perfect place for a lazy lunch overlooking the water. I technically didn’t go to the bar here, I enjoyed lunch at their restaurant. The cuisine and wine list do carry through to the bar, so on that basis I am confident of the quality of the experience. Here are some snaps of the bar… couldn’t think of a better way to spend a summer afternoon. You can check out my review of the restaurant here.