Bars & Pubs
The eight meter masts and sails above the deck of a nineteenth century ship replica are unmistakable on the Puerto Banus waterfront at Muelle de Ribera. While the wood and forged iron reproduction has a swashbuckling air of high seas adventure and romance, the secret to Astral Cocktail Bar’s charm isn’t the architecture. Its best attributes aren’t apparent until you climb aboard, perch yourself atop a buccaneer’s stool, or get nestled into a cozy nook, browse the menu and notice that the ship’s galley doesn’t specialize in food. The kitchen is dedicated to creating the freshest, fruitiest, juiciest, sassiest, sumptuously delicious cocktail concoctions on the Costa del Sol.
Babilonia is a café-lounge-bar on Frontline overlooking the yachts in the Harbor. Although part of Linekers Puerto Banus Group, it’s different from the Linekers Bar Puerto Banus is famous for – the one in New Town with dozens of plasma screens and sportscasts – and different from The Lounge and Tibu which are strictly nighttime destinations. Babilonia distinguishes itself by opening earlier in the day, having a terrace with a harbour view, serving afternoon coffee and pre-party cocktails, being an elegant venue for social functions and having an ideal ambiance for tasteful ladies nights and classy hen parties. The décor is indulgent, verging on hedonistic. It’s aptly named Babilonia – Spanish for Babylon.
Linekers is still a hot name on the Costa del Sol nightlife scene, and the original Linekers Bar Puerto Banus hasn’t changed what it offers: sports & drinks in a vibrant atmosphere. It’s just gotten bigger and better with twice as much space, meaning larger VIP areas, private rooms, and all the top sports events LIVE on 25 plasma screens! Linekers Group also has cocktail bars with waterfront terraces, elegant lounges, gourmet restaurants, venues for stag & hen weekends, organizational facilities for golfers and the ability to host unique events such as Sphereing®. Linekers is also the name behind the best Puerto Banus nightlife clubbing venue – Tibu.
Lolas Bar isn’t a bustling outdoor terrace. It’s not a pub, chiringuito or dance club along the Paseo Marítimo or right on a Costa del Sol beach. Lola’s is a few bocks away from the usual places, on the second floor, with glass windows from ceiling to floor, overlooking Fuengirola’s quaint streets – replete with Spanish wrought iron lamps – and a little park called Plaza de la Constitution. Lola’s is a place to meet friends for breakfast or a late brunch; a place conducive to meeting a lover for afternoon pastries; a place where it’s okay to wear red lipstick and a strand of pearls. Lola’s is a destination of its own or a place to start the evening and then slowly turn it into a night.
Benalmadena ice bar is exactly what it sounds like – a bar made of ice that offers the coolest nightlife in Costa del Sol. The walls around you, the seats you sit on, the bar where your drinks are served and the glasses the cocktails come in, are all made of ice. Of all the bars in Benalmadena and surrounding area, Boals Ice Bar delivers one of the most unique experiences for the entry price of 10 euros, which includes a thermal cape, gloves, socks and a cocktail. Just how cold is the Benalmadena ice bar? It’s minus 14 degrees on the inside, although Igloo Bar is the usual warm Costa del Sol temperature, which makes it fun to sip Freezing Alcohol Slushies between trips into the subzero zone.
Ana Martínez de Bedoya created more than another restaurant in Benálmadena when she designed La Celosia Cocktail & Gastrobar. Although it’s one of the top gourmet Benalmadena restaurants that serves international cuisine – from escargots de Bourgogne au beure aillé to risotto of wild mushrooms with La Mancha flavour, the name “Celosia” means lattice, and the allusion to crisscrossing patterns of light and shadows is no coincidence. La Celosia is a space where it’s possible to remain hidden as if behind a lattice; where being seen is less important than seeing; where absorbing the Arabic-Andalusian décor is as important as pondering ideas, savouring caviar d’aubergines au jambon croquant and imbibing the aroma of jasmine along the balconies.
There are three ways to discover Drink Bar: a Polish lover takes you saying “it’s not what it looks like from the outside”, you’re looking for oriental curios or underwear and open the wrong door, or you’re lost. Guests stumble into, or totally miss, this reticent, eclectic-bohemian bar since it’s disguised by mediocrity below a square apartment block wedged between a curio emporium and a lingerie shop. Ignore the gaudy window-dressings and metal bars. Swing open the door and…voila! A tiny avant-garde space with arty theatrical relics adorning ceiling and walls; where moody lights turn faces into ruddy shadows and tables overflow with conversation. It’s a Warsaw bar so underground it’s in plain view on Wspólna Street. Authentic Warsaw nightlife - impossible to improve.
Reggae rhythms (for skanking & chilling) and panoramic sea views make cliff-side After Beach Bar Phuket lounge, lookout & restaurant (in the hills over Kata Noi en route to Phromthep/Rawai via hwy 4233) a popular place for an evening Singha or Chang. Not a resort-style Phuket lounge with chaise long, but a rustic Thatched terrace with wobbly floors & wooden benches; a place where Phuket nightlife begins at twilight with vermillion & amaranth over the Andaman Sea. Sup on a seafood hotplate with nam phrik, crab salad or gai pad med mamuang cashew-chicken stir-fry. Let Bob Marley “stir it up” and get you in the mood for “jammin” as fishermen emerge beyond Phuket Kata beach. Only open till 11pm, but just minutes to Phuket bars like Ska, Robert’s & Rick N’ Roll on Kata Rd.
Bangkok nightlife for couples starts by “nesting” atop a rooftop bar. In cabana-style lounge-pods around a sandy beach. On open-air Bali-beds under canopies. In hammock-swings for two. On cushioned sofas with exotic fruit cocktails or at low tables sharing Euro-Asian-fusion tapas in a secluded garden with jazz & bossa nova at the heart of Sukhumvit nightlife district on Soi 11. The Nest is chic yet unassuming; conducive to romance, but not boring; featuring live music in the evening, weekend DJs and midweek Latino theme parties. It’s also a stop-off for couples en route to the Bed Supper Club, Q Bar and other Sukhumvit hotspots since many top Bangkok nightlife venues are literally a minute away from this romantic ninth floor Nest. Open till 3am. No cover charge.
Edinburgh city is one of the most haunted places on earth. Tourists who come to relive its spine-chilling past complete their experience at the most haunted pub in Scotland - The Banshee Labyrinth in the underground Edinburgh vaults. It’s one of the no. 1 haunted pubs in the Edinburgh underground, not only renowned for frequent hauntings but also for independent bands, whiskey & rum, and free cinema screenings of contemporary & horror classics. Their “Dine with the Dead” menu consists of items named after scary movies & fantasy-gone-wild like “Psycho” mushrooms, “The Exorcist” goat cheese or “The Headless Scotsman” haggis. Haunted weekends, and eerie weeknights in Old Town, are never the same twice in the Banshee Labyrinth chambers that haunt visitors till 3am.
Up 3 breath-snatching flights of stairs is a graffiti-plastered dive bar & hookah lounge – a mishmash of a joint straight out of a horror flick, with wooden benches under splotchy orange ceilings dappled with Chinese lanterns and flags – where gin, whisky & vodka comes by the bucket, beer’s on tap and eats are dirt cheap. It’s Perry’s Bar; the dive I dragged one of my friends to and the first word she uttered was “dodgy”. True. The graffiti is inescapable, not street art, but contributions of the drunk and the restless; every inch of sullied wall space festooned with a hodgepodge of exaggerated human body part sketches, random names of people, countries, dates and profanity scrawled in marker. Some might find it offensive. Others (people like me) consider it enticing.
Anokhi in Hindi means “unique, and Anokhi Cafe in the heart of Jaipur, is indeed a one-of-a-kind hideaway with a non-Indian menu made with fresh “mostly organic” produce that comes from the local Anokhi farm. The café is sleek and minimalist, with a ceiling made of cane and round wicker chairs draped in blue fabric set around tables under soft lighting. It’s a soothing space for organic coffee; mint, chamomile and lemongrass infusions; fresh pomegranate, pineapple and seasonal juices; salads made with organic lettuce; pizza with grilled veggies; hummus sandwiches and treats like banana bread, carrot cake, oatmeal cookies and lemon meringue tarts. Situated on the second floor of KK Square Mall in Jaipur, Anokhi is the place to escape city life and relax.
If the summers in Delhi (capital of India) force you to drive out of the city in search of a place to chill, now there is no need to go anywhere … the place is there in Delhi only where you will freeze while the temperature outside is at its peak. Thanks to Julian Bayley (co-founder of Ice Culture Inc.) for sculpting a place for the Delhiites to escape from the scorching temperature and oppressive weather. The worldʹs best ice designer had done a great job with 35 tons of ice and designed an authentic ice bar situated on 1st floor of MGF Metropolitan Mall, New Delhi, India. On the entry, receive warm greetings by a beautiful ice lady. Feel enchanted in a majestic ambiance of soulful music, beautiful ice sculptures and a temperature hovering between -5°C and -10°C.
In the center of Brussels, there’s a cozy Irish pub named Celtica. Surrounded by historic charms, it offers bottled Belgian beers, draught Maes beer, Guiness, Irish Ciders, Vodkas, Gins, Tequilas and Irish whiskeys. Celtica Irish Pub Brussels is a place to watch sports on 8 flat screen TVs, listen to live music, dance to DJ beats, have a relaxing drink or just hangout. It’s ideal for anyone seeking a cheap, good night out. With keg shaped tables, high stools & Celtic designs on the walls, there’s definitely a feeling of being in an Irish pub. Since happy hour continues until midnight, the place is almost always packed with laughing crowds. There are pub snacks available, or you can order from the Italian Pizzeria next door. They deliver pizza right to Celtica tables.
India is great. Over a billion people, and 28 states, yet Karnataka is one of my favourites...which brings me to its capital - Bangalore. Unlike other bustling metros, an exclusive calm prevails over everything else in the city. Don’t get me wrong, honking yellow autos, determined scruffy beggars, and random floating garbage are still prominent features of the scene. However within all this chaos, shiny buildings and busybodies, there’s an unidentifiable romanticism that fills the air. I visited one place, called Rain Tree Cafe, that proved my escapist theories of this green and flowering city to be more than a mere fantasy. Raintree Cafe & Boutique are situated opposite the Windsor Manor Bangalore, in the Vaanthnagar district – an area also known for boutiques.
Mind Café brings “people together through old style intellectual clean fun” with over 2000 board games, a giant set of Jenga building blocks plus snacks & beverages – without an Xbox or PlayStation® in sight! Mind Cafe Gurgaon locations (at Cross Point on the 2nd floor of Galleria Market, DLF Phase 4, and on the 1st floor of the Fortis Hospital) are based on the café/restaurants with board games Singapore introduced to the world. The ones in Gurgaon are the first board games café centers in India; already popular hangouts for gaming fans and the hottest places for birthdays (3 years – adult), intellectual kitty parties, corporate “Ice-Breaking” & “Team Bonding” events plus lots of competitions. They also sell board games so you can take the fun home!
A few meters from the Stone Gate, Zagrebʹs attraction, shrine and a main entry into the Upper city, you will notice a beautiful balcony and just around the corner there is the entrance into Cafe and gallery Lav. Maybe youʹll decide to take a walk in Zagrebʹs old town first, since all the main sights are very close, but in any case you wouldnʹt want to miss drinking tea and coffe here. The place is both a gallery and a cafe which makes it unique. The moment you step inside surely the overall mood, soft lighting, cosy armchairs and imaginative pieces of art surrounding you will make you feel comfortable, at ease and at home. Occasional concert or a party happening here will allow you to discover a more lively side of this otherwise peaceful spot.
In Martićeva street, still in the city centre but far away from the crowded Zagreb špica (Saturday morning custom of drinking coffee in city centre, near Cvjetni square), there is a bar with a style of its own. Itʹs so diverse from other bars in Zagreb that could be said that nothing of a similar design can be found. Some would call its interior design overwhelming and bursting with too much detail and others find it playful, fun and very creative. On one subject everybody agrees and that is their delicious cheesecake and a really good coffee. Observing, commenting and noticing fun things in this space will entertain you and visually and mentally occupy you, so be prepared to take some extra time when paying a visit here.
If youʹve just moved to Zagreb and feel like a stranger who would like to find a place where youʹll feel as comfortable as in your own living room and at the same time among a circle of people that often stop by at the same cafe and read, work or have fun there, this is your spot. A bar and a book club, a wifi zone with free internet access where you will meet all sorts of easygoing people; freelancers working from their computers, lovers of literature borrowing foreign literature magazines or just a random Zagreb tourist reading a book in english. Offering all sorts of events from independent cultural scene including literature workshops, concerts and poetry readings, Booksa will probably seduce you with its simplicity and charm.
In the city centre (close to the ZKM, Zagreb theatre) there is a small cafe with a stunning backyard terrace that you could easily enjoy during the summer because of the atmosphere, decorations and delicious homemade cakes you can taste. Jutro means morning in croatian language so the name of the cafe suggests you could start your day here. The interior is very small but cosy and designed in a very creative way with many colorful details that enliven the room and make the overall mood pleasurable. A lot of the things hanging on the walls or lying on shelves are handmade art ready for sale but also a great decoration for the cafe itself. Sometimes you can stumble upon a concert here or merely come to socialize with your friends over a cup of tea or a homemade cake.
Relax by Sydney’s iconic Harbour while your tastebuds celebrate with Belgian style chocolate at its finest. The Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe sits along the foreshore of Circular Quay, overlooking Sydney Harbour in all its beauty. The restaurant serves rich chocolate cakes and coffee which you can enjoy as you marvel at the beauty of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The menu includes Belgian waffles, cakes, tarts, hot and cold drinks as well as macaroons and biscuits. Don’t be afraid to try something new. At the Guylian Cafe everything is guaranteed to impress you. The chocolate cafe is the place to try signature Guylian desserts and chocolate specials. Dine at the Guylian Belgian chocolate cafe for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.