Did you know the top three cities visited in the world during 2017 was Paris with 16.1 million international visitors, London 20 million visitors, and taking top place was Bangkok with a whopping 20.2 million (Independent, 2017)! Now, I don’t know about you, but I find a good cocktail synonymous with a good holiday. So, this week I thought we should round up some of the best bars you’ll find in the top three most travelled to destinations in the world.
Having been in Paris not that long ago with the girls, I can assure you there is no shortage of fabulous bars to choose from.
Not too far from the République Metro stop, you will find a seemingly quiet residential street. Through the doors of an unassuming laundromat, and up a narrow staircase to the third floor of an apartment-style building on Rue Boulanger, you will, however, find Lavomatic – a playful pop-art inspired creative cocktail bar.
Secret bars can sometimes be a little troublesome to find. Try checking the rear of the laundromat for the hidden staircase. This hidden treasure features bold, bright rooms with fun accessories like swings and laundry detergent soapboxes. The cocktails are simple and chic, and the mixology skills of the staff are nothing short of impressive.
There is a great nibbles menu too, with delicious snacks like such as fresh oysters, sea bream ceviche and steak caramelised with pomegranate.
The laundromat downstairs is fully functional, so feel free to chuck a load in while you head on upstairs to entertain yourself while you wait. Just don’t leave any ‘dirty laundry’ on the way out 😉
What the locals say…
I asked Celine, a sophisticated Parisian friend, what her favourite bar in Paris was. Much like me, she struggled to narrow it down to just one. Tempted by the sophistication of a good hotel bar myself, I can see just why she recommended the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz.
The bar famously inherits its name in homage to Ernest Hemingway, after he liberated the bar from the Nazis during their occupation in Paris in 1944. It is frequently visited by guests who flock to the warm, intimate pocket to see head barman Colin Field shake up a storm of magical cocktails.
The small and cosy space is perfect for intimate nights out. The bar epitomises Parisian chic. Go for a classy piano bar with splendid cocktails, fine wines and top-shelf treats, whilst listening to yesteryear classics.
With London being my home away from home, the pressure was really on for me to choose an impressive bar for you. For me, London is a little bit like New York, in that it is a vibrant city that never sleeps. With so many great bars to choose from, I think my favourite is Mr Fogg’s Residence – it’s a fun and innovative bar with great atmosphere.
Now, just who is this Mr Fogg you ask? Inspired by the character Phileas Fogg, in Jules Verne’s novel, ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, the award-winning bar has a sense of eccentricity and fun. Down the back of a dimly lit alley, away from the bright lights of Mayfair, you will find this delightful bar in a Georgian townhouse. The décor is an eclectic fusion of Mr Fogg’s quirky treasures including hunting rifles, stuffed animals, weathered flags and maps.
With just as much love and attention given to the cocktails, expect the unexpected. We ordered a concoction to share that came with its own rainforest waterfall and billowing fog care of some creative dry ice trickery.
Go with deep pockets, this place isn’t cheap. Though what did you expect, it is Mayfair after all.
What the locals say…
I get to double dip a little here, because surprise… I am the local! Now, the great British pub plays a very important role in society, shaping community cohesion and social wellbeing. As such, I felt it my duty to recommend one of my favourite local pubs.
You will find The Sands End in a quiet residential street in leafy Fulham. Not only does this quaint watering hole bring a slice of the countryside to a small corner of South West London, but it also attracts royalty! I can tell you this for a fact!
One evening I was there minding my own business with Smithers and my friend Sebina, when who should walk in – none other than Prince Harry of course! (Megan Markle-less might I add ;)) To be fair, it was 2014/15. Hazza was there enjoying the seasonal food and real ales along with the rest of us. It took all my willpower not turn into a giggly schoolgirl and run up to him to ask him for a selfie. Instead, I styled it out ‘ignoring’ him. He was a chap just trying to have a bite to eat after all, but all the while I kept a watchful eye.
And if royal sightings weren’t enough, The Sands End make the most legendary scotch eggs in the world! Warm on the outside with oozy, bright yellow yolks in the middle. Have I sold it to you yet?
The top spot for the most visited city in the world goes to Bangkok! Although a little surprised, as I thought New York or Sydney would have taken the cake for sure; Bangkok is well deserving of the pole position. The city is a fusion of exotic and extraordinary, that becomes extraordinary. It’s a pleasure getting lost in the bustling streets and the colourful markets that smell of delicious noodles mingled with sweat (not quite as delicious!).
It may be a bit cliché, but I don’t think you can go to this vibrant city without paying a visit to Sky Bar at Labua. This iconic rooftop bar (also the world’s highest open-air bar) is located on the 64th floor of the State Tower with breath-taking 360-views of the lively city and Chao Phraya River below. Be warned, if you struggle with vertigo like me, it may well be worth asking for a table away from the edge – I’m sure I provided much entertainment for passers-by whilst I held on tight to our hostess as she escorted us to our table.
The décor is modern and minimalist – no need to overcomplicate interiors when you have views like this. A beautiful crown mills around the illuminated cylindrical bar that changes colour every 90 seconds. Party late into the night, whilst sipping some of the finest cocktails as the city lights twinkly below.
What the locals say…
I had to phone in a favour from a friend to get the inside scoop from a local in Bangkok, as sadly my phonebook lacked an international friend of mystery with the local postcode. Catherine told me you have to check out the Iron Fairies, a relatively newish bar in NoHo. The interior of the underground bar is in the style of an iron foundry, with dangerous looking rusty implements and dead butterflies dangling from the ceiling. The moodily lit space comes complete with a floor to ceiling wall that houses hundreds of teeny-tiny, delicate bottles of fairy dust. And on the tables, you will find petite bottles filled with glitter, with little cork bottle tops. The atmosphere is amazing and they even have live music. This quirky hot spot is a must to experience a labyrinth of nooks and crannies, whilst sipping delicious yet strange concoctions.
So, where is your favourite bar abroad?
Until next time, safe travels.
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