In a world where the art of mixology has evolved into a refined and innovative craft, the best bars in the world stand as beacons of excellence and allure, drawing cocktail enthusiasts and tourists alike to their enchanting realms.
From historic bars steeped in centuries-old traditions to contemporary cocktail lounges pushing the boundaries of creativity, the best bars in the world captivate the senses and leave an indelible mark on the global bar scene.
To help you tailor your bar bucket list, we’ve explored the history of bars across the globe and 10 of the best bars in the world to visit.
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History of Bars Across the World
The history of pubs and bars spans back thousands of years and is deeply intertwined with the social, cultural, and economic fabric of societies worldwide. The concept of communal gathering places for drinking and socialising can be traced to ancient civilisations.
In ancient Mesopotamia, around 4000 BCE, establishments known as “taverns” served beer, a staple in the people’s diet. These early establishments laid the groundwork for the evolution of pubs and bars as we know them today.
During the Middle Ages, the concept of public houses and taverns gained prominence across Europe. They offered drinks, food, and lodging for travellers. In England, the term “pub” (short for “public house”) became popular, and these establishments became integral parts of English village life, serving as community hubs.
The rise of European brewing and distilling industries led to the proliferation of bars and taverns. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the popularity of beer grew, and beer houses began to compete with traditional pubs.
The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the emergence of bars in the United States, often associated with the Wild West and Prohibition era. Speakeasies, hidden bars that operated illegally during Prohibition, became iconic symbols of rebellion and underground socialising.
In the latter half of the 20th century, bars and pubs evolved further, reflecting changing societal norms and preferences. The cocktail culture gained prominence, and bartenders started experimenting with mixology, creating signature drinks and craft cocktails.
In the 21st century, bars and pubs have continued to adapt to changing consumer tastes and preferences. Craft breweries and artisanal distilleries have experienced a renaissance, leading to a surge in craft beer and spirits, while cocktail bars continue to innovate with creative concoctions.
10 of the Best Bars in the World
The Dead Rabbit – New York City, New York, USA
The Dead Rabbit, located in New York City, New York, USA, is widely regarded as one of the best bars in the world. Established in 2013, The Dead Rabbit is the brainchild of Irishmen Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, who sought to create an experience celebrating the rich heritage of Irish-American culture and craft cocktails.
The Dead Rabbit is renowned for its award-winning cocktails, which are expertly crafted with precision and creativity. The bar’s talented mixologists draw inspiration from historical recipes, classic cocktails, and Irish influences, resulting in a menu showcasing a perfect blend of tradition and innovation.
The Dead Rabbit has received numerous awards and accolades from esteemed publications and industry organisations, solidifying its reputation as a world-class bar. It has been recognised by The World’s 50 Best Bars and Tales of the Cocktail, further cementing its position as a global destination for cocktail enthusiasts and bar aficionados.
The Dead Rabbit in New York City stands out as one of the best bars in the world due to its unique concept, exceptional cocktails, skilled bartenders, and well-deserved recognition within the industry. It successfully marries Irish heritage with American cocktail culture, providing patrons a memorable and delightful experience.
Connaught Bar – London, England, UK
Connaught Bar, located in London, has earned a reputation as one of the best bars in the world, consistently receiving accolades and recognition for its excellence in mixology and impeccable service.
At the heart of Connaught Bar’s success lies its exceptional cocktail program. The bar is renowned for its innovative and meticulously crafted cocktails, which are the brainchild of the highly skilled and creative team of bartenders.
These mixologists are true artists, using premium and rare spirits, fresh ingredients, and house-made infusions to create drinks that are both visually stunning and delectable to the palate. The Connaught Bar’s cocktail menu is ever-evolving, reflecting a dedication to pushing the boundaries of mixology.
Connaught Bar in London stands as one of the best bars in the world due to its outstanding mixology, refined ambience, and exceptional service. It’s a place where tradition meets innovation, and guests can indulge in a sensory journey through cocktails, surrounded by timeless elegance and elevated hospitality.
Atlas – Singapore
Atlas, located in Singapore, is a world-renowned bar with international acclaim for its opulent ambience, exceptional service, and extensive gin collection. Housed in the iconic Parkview Square building, Atlas exudes an air of grandeur and sophistication with its stunning Art Deco-inspired interior design.
One of the main reasons Atlas is considered one of the best bars in the world is its unparalleled gin collection. With over 1,300 different types of gins from all corners of the globe, Atlas boasts one of the most extensive gin selections found anywhere.
From well-known brands to rare and limited-edition bottles, gin enthusiasts are treated to an extraordinary variety of flavours and botanical profiles. The bar’s skilled mixologists artfully combine the vast array of gins with premium ingredients and house-made infusions to craft a menu of meticulously balanced and creative cocktails.
Atlas’s reputation as one of the best bars in the world is further solidified by its presence in prestigious industry awards and lists. The bar has consistently ranked high in The World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars, earning recognition for its outstanding offerings and outstanding guest experiences.
Atlas in Singapore is rightfully celebrated as one of the best bars in the world due to its lavish setting, unparalleled gin collection, exquisite mixology, and exceptional service. It offers a truly immersive and sophisticated journey into the world of gin and cocktails, making it a must-visit destination.
Dante – New York City, New York, USA
Dante, located in New York City, USA, has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best bars in the world. Originally established in 1915 as Caffe Dante, the bar was revived in 2015 when it was taken over by a new ownership group.
One of the key factors that sets Dante apart is its commitment to classic cocktails. The bar’s cocktail program is deeply rooted in tradition, offering a diverse selection of expertly crafted drinks that pay homage to the timeless recipes of the past.
Their skilled bartenders use high-quality spirits, house-made ingredients, and meticulous attention to detail to recreate classic cocktails with a contemporary twist. The result is a menu that delights cocktail purists and those seeking new and exciting flavours.
Dante’s accolades and recognition from the industry and patrons further cement its status as one of the world’s best bars. It has received numerous awards, including being named “World’s Best Bar” at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards and earning a spot in The World’s 50 Best Bars list.
Dante in New York City stands out as one of the best bars in the world due to its dedication to classic cocktails, its inviting ambience, and the recognition it has received from industry experts.
Bar Termini – London, England, UK
Bar Termini, located in London, England, is widely regarded as one of the best bars in the world, renowned for its exceptional Italian-style coffee and cocktails. Established by cocktail legend Tony Conigliaro and hospitality expert Marco Arrigo, Bar Termini draws inspiration from the iconic coffee bars of Rome.
Bar Termini’s cocktail program is exceptional and revolves around the Italian aperitivo tradition. The bar offers a concise yet well-curated menu of classic and contemporary cocktails, each expertly crafted with precision and flair.
Bar Termini’s reputation as one of the best bars in the world is further solidified by its consistent inclusion in prestigious industry rankings and awards. Its recognition attests to the bar’s excellence in coffee and cocktail craftsmanship and its unmatched commitment to providing an authentic Italian experience to its guests.
Bar Termini in London stands out as one of the best bars in the world due to its dedication to Italian coffee culture, exceptional cocktail offerings, and warm and inviting atmosphere. It is a place where guests can savour the rich tradition of Italian coffee and the artistry of Italian aperitivo – all within the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of London.
The Clumsies – Athens, Greece
The Clumsies, situated in Athens, Greece, has garnered a well-deserved reputation as one of the best bars in the world thanks to its vibrant ambience, innovative mixology, and warm hospitality.
One of the defining aspects of The Clumsies is its exceptional mixology program. The bar’s creative team of bartenders combines premium spirits, fresh local ingredients, and a dash of Greek influences to craft a diverse and imaginative cocktail menu.
The Clumsies has been consistently recognised in prestigious industry awards and rankings. It has been featured in The World’s 50 Best Bars and has earned accolades at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, solidifying its position as a global destination for cocktail enthusiasts and industry insiders.
The Clumsies in Athens stands out as one of the best bars in the world due to its inventive mixology, vibrant ambience, and genuine Greek hospitality. It is a place where guests can embark on a delightful and unforgettable cocktail experience that celebrates the rich culture of Greece while pushing the boundaries of modern mixology.
The Aviary – Chicago, Illinois, USA
The Aviary, located in Chicago, Illinois, USA, has earned widespread acclaim as one of the best bars in the world, setting new standards for innovation and creativity in mixology.
One of the key factors that sets The Aviary apart is its molecular mixology approach. The bar’s team of talented mixologists use cutting-edge techniques and tools to create drinks that are as visually stunning as they are delicious.
The Aviary’s sophisticated interior design adds to its allure. Guests can choose from different experiences, including the main bar, the intimate Salon, or the impressive kitchen table, where they can witness the magic of cocktail creation up close.
The Aviary’s reputation as one of the best bars in the world is further solidified by its recognition in prestigious industry awards and rankings. It has consistently been featured in The World’s 50 Best Bars and has received accolades from Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
The Aviary in Chicago stands as one of the best bars in the world due to its unparalleled innovation in mixology, meticulous attention to detail, and commitment to delivering an extraordinary and multi-sensory cocktail experience.
High Five – Tokyo, Japan
High Five, situated in Tokyo, Japan, is celebrated as one of the best bars in the world, renowned for its exceptional cocktails and the legendary skill of its head bartender, Hidetsugu Ueno.
One of the standout features of High Five is its masterful mixology. Hidetsugu Ueno, affectionately known as “Ueno-san,” crafts cocktails with meticulous attention to detail, using premium spirits, hand-cut ice, and the finest ingredients to create balanced and nuanced drinks.
High Five’s reputation as one of the best bars in the world is further solidified by its consistent recognition in prestigious industry rankings and awards. It has been featured in The World’s 50 Best Bars and is highly regarded by the global cocktail community.
High Five in Tokyo stands as one of the best bars in the world due to its masterful mixology, warm hospitality, and the renowned skills of its head bartender, Hidetsugu Ueno. It offers an authentic and unforgettable drinking experience that celebrates the art of cocktail making while providing guests with an intimate and welcoming setting.
El Floridita – Havana, Cuba
El Floridita, located in Havana, Cuba, holds a special place as one of the best bars in the world. Established in 1817, El Floridita has a rich history and is an iconic symbol of Cuban culture and cocktail heritage.
It gained international fame in the 20th century, primarily due to its association with the renowned American author Ernest Hemingway, who frequented the bar. Hemingway’s fondness for the bar and its signature cocktail, the Daiquiri, elevated its reputation and drew the attention of cocktail enthusiasts and literary aficionados worldwide.
One of the main reasons El Floridita is considered one of the best bars in the world is its legendary status as the “Cradle of the Daiquiri.” The bar’s bartenders have perfected the art of crafting the classic Daiquiri, made with fresh lime juice, sugar, and Cuban rum.
El Floridita’s reputation as one of the best bars in the world is also attributed to its impeccable service and hospitality. The staff at the bar are well-versed in the art of mixology and take pride in providing attentive and friendly service to every guest. Their passion for the craft and genuine warmth make patrons feel welcome and cherished.
Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco, California, USA
Smuggler’s Cove, located in San Francisco, California, has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best bars in the world. It offers a unique and immersive tiki bar experience that transports guests to an enchanting world of exotic cocktails and a Polynesian-inspired ambience.
One of the key factors that sets Smuggler’s Cove apart is its commitment to the tiki cocktail tradition. The bar’s extensive menu boasts a wide array of expertly crafted tiki drinks made with fresh juices, house-made syrups, and premium spirits that capture the essence of Polynesian flavours.
Furthermore, Smuggler’s Cove’s reputation as one of the best bars in the world is affirmed by its numerous accolades and industry recognition. It has consistently been ranked in The World’s 50 Best Bars and has received praise from Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards and other influential publications.
Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco stands as one of the best bars in the world due to its immersive tiki experience, exceptional mixology, and commitment to preserving the heritage of tiki culture. It offers a captivating and adventurous escape from the everyday, allowing guests to savour the flavours and flair of tiki cocktails.
The Best Bars in the World are Spread Far and Wide
The best bars in the world stand as beacons of excellence and innovation in the realm of mixology and hospitality. These establishments transcend the boundaries of mere drinking spots, offering immersive experiences that captivate the senses and create lasting memories.
These best bars in the world share common threads contributing to their acclaim. A dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail shape their beverage programs, resulting in expertly crafted cocktails that delight the palate and engage the imagination.
The best bars in the world serve as cultural ambassadors, reflecting the heritage and traditions of their regions while also contributing to the evolution of mixology as an art form. They are places where cocktail enthusiasts, tourists, and locals converge, forging connections and celebrating experiences.
If you’re interested in amazing pubs, check out our blog on the Best Bars in England.