Three bars to blow your mind

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The low-down on three of the most incredible places in the world to grab a drink

Sky Bar / Bangkok
63rd fl, State Tower, 1055 Th Silom, Bangkok, Thailand


So where is this place?
Halfway between Bangkok and earth’s exosphere, 63 floors up on the roof of the luxury Lebua State Tower.

Why am I here?
Pollution-free alfresco cocktails with Bangkok’s style-set and a 360° view of the frenetic, sprawling beast of a city below.

Am I really in Bangkok? It could be LA.
True, there is something LA about Sky Bar’s gaudy, incongruous architectural styles, with its Greco-Roman columns and enormous golden dome, but that’s all part of the fun. Plus, the punters aren’t all fans of The Hangover II (which featured the bar in some scenes).

I’m feeling a little dizzy.
Vertigo sufferers: hug the sides and send a heights-immune friend to the psychedelic circular bar. It hovers, spaceship-like, over the skyline, pulsing with different colours. Hopefully they’ll come back with the bar’s signature drink, a Sunset 63.

A couple of Sunset 63s down, food please.
Head down the stone steps to the garden terraces, where peckish punters satiate on light, Mediterranean-inspired fare.

Monkey Bar / Berlin
Budapester Strasse 40, Berlin, Germany



Monkey Bar, Berlin

I’m here because …?
Because monkeys.

Well, maybe not just because you can see all the monkey business going on in the primate enclosure of the Berlin Zoo below… It’s also a great place to see the sun set against sweeping views of Berlin’s buzzing city streets.

What’s it like inside?
There’s a semi-industrial-meets-animal-safari feel to the Monkey Bar with its exposed steel beams and a large, square, black bar overhung by apothecary-bottle drop lamps. The hard lines are warmed up by the use of soft furnishings like the blue, red and yellow leather ottomans, tapestried throw cushions, tree-trunk stools and living plants. There’s a wraparound outdoor terrace with loungy seating that gets packed on sunny summer days.

What should I drink?
It’s a toss-up between the ‘King Kong’ – Guatemalan vanilla rum, sugar syrup, chocolate spirits and cherry bitters, and the ‘Ape’s Twist’ – vodka, elderflower liqueur, cloudy apple juice, lemon juice and soda water.

The Harrison Speakeasy / Buenos Aires
Malabia 1764, Palermo,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: +54-11-4831-0519

The Harrison Speakesy © THE HARRISON SPEAKEASY

The Harrison Speakesy © THE HARRISON SPEAKEASY

Please no, not another speakeasy?
Of the speakeasies that have popped up like pimples on the face of major cities in the last decade, this place puts most to shame. It is one of the most genuine and one of the best.

I’ve been burned by this speakeasy thing before.
Haven’t we all. But give a gangster a chance. Just getting inside the front door, or at least the first front door, is an adventure. There are passwords and secret entrances and a strictly enforced photography ban (well, no-one had smartphones in the 1920s now did they?).

Sounds like a lot of rigmarole for a cocktail.
While some speakeasies make the secrecy feel like a chore, the Harrison turns the clandestineness into an exciting and exclusive game. Once past the sushi shop and through the vault-like door, you’ll find a dark and ornate wooden bar, dimly lit lamps and even an old piano.

I’m exhausted.
Prepare to be refreshed. The expert bartenders are magicians, concocting flavours tailored to your personal taste – even Al Capone would be impressed.

Extract taken from Lonely Planet’s new title 50 Bars To Blow Your Mind (Lonely Planet, £6.99; out now)

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