Fancy a drink? There is no better place than a bar to test the pulse of the city, break down any language barrier and make best friends that you'll never see again. Here's 10 in no particular order, from around the globe.
1. TRADER VIC'S
LONDON HILTON, 22 PARK LANE, LONDON, UK
Tiki bars are at their best when they are amusingly out of place, and what better location for a faux Polynesian wonderland than underneath a London hotel. Grab a signature Trader Vic's Mai Tai, recline under the coral and taxidermied puffer fish and wash away that grey London day. One of the best examples of the Trader Vic's franchise now that the famed Los Angeles outpost has bitten the dust.
2. MILK & HONEY
LOWER EAST SIDE, NEW YORK, US.
An unmarked black door next to a grungy Lower East Side apartment block transports you to the ultimate in modern speak-easy chic. This darkly lit member's bar is worth the effort to find, with amazing drinks designed on the spot by your server (no drinks menu needed) and given care and attention by the stellar bar staff. London branch is also well worth a look.
3. THE DRESDEN ROOM
1760 N VERMONT AVENUE, HOLLYWOOD, US
Best known for its starring role in Swingers, this altar to another era is quite simply one of the best, most authentic lounge bars in the world. Moroccan hanging lamps, a real piano bar, venerable staff with killer mixing skills and jazz duo Marty and Elayne who have been crooning here for over two decades.
4. EL NIVEL
MONEDA 2, MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
The best bars are hard to find and this cantina - said to be the first in Mexico and dating back over three hundred years - is tucked away behind the busy El Zocalo square.
It takes just one tequila for one of the grizzled regulars to start ignoring the language barrier and start a charades-style conversation. By the second tequila you are familia.
5. PLEASE DON'T TELL (PDT)
113 ST MARKS PLACE, NEW YORK, US
Just entering this NYC snug is part of the fun. Housed in Crif's Hotdogs in the East Village you enter via the phone booth inside: just call through your reservation and the wall of the booth pops open to reveal a dark and funky watering hole. While the drinks are classic the bar menu relies on Crif's dogs next door; the pairing shouldn't work - but it does.
6. THE VANGUARD
42 KING STREET, NEWTOWN, SYDNEY
Bohemian Newtown's laidback answer to a New Orlean's jazz joint, this superior live-music venue housed in an old townhouse has some of the most interesting artists in town; from emerging locals to hot international practitioners of the blues. Go for dinner and show for the best seats in the house.
7. BAR GALLERIA
HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA, HAVANA, CUBA
Sit in the wicker chairs once occupied by Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra and a host of Mafioso who lauded it up in this art deco masterpiece prior to Castro's Revolution. This hotel bar, with a stunning view along a verdant clifftop to the Carribean sea, is famed for the best mojito on the island. Its secret? A dash of bitters to cut the sometimes-cloying sweetness.
8. HARRY'S NEW YORK BAR
5 RUE DANOU, PARIS, FRANCE
Harry's lays claim to inventing a host of classic drinks from the French 75 to the Sidecar and the Bloody Mary at its cosy mahogany home at "Sank Roo Doe Noo". Immortalised in Ian Fleming's James Bond books and a regular haunt for stars from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Marlene Dietrich, this bar's devotion to the classics makes it an essential detour in the French capital.
9. PYRAMID STAGE BAR
GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL, WORTHY FARM, PILTON, UK
The beer may be warm, the ground beneath your feet a fetid quagmire and the portable toilets so rank you have been holding on for most of the day, but this is still the main stage of the world's greatest music festival. You are likely to be seeing iconic performances from anyone from Radiohead to David Bowie and when crowd and artist click for a "classic Glasto moment" it is the best bar anywhere on the planet.
10. ST JEROMES
7 CALEDONIAN LANE, MELBOURNE
The bar by which all Melbourne laneway bars will be judged. Grungy, funky and simple with a passion for new music that has spawned the annual Laneway festival which showcases some of the country's finest indie acts. Pull up a scruffy old couch in the graffiti-covered back lane bar and wonder to yourself how Melburnians get any work done.
The other 10: http://www.travelandleisure.com.au
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