From fire-breathing bartenders to the ultimate swim-up bar, IgoUgo members recommend their favorite unique places for a pint. You’ll be in high spirits even before your first drink at any of these weird and wonderful bars around the world.
Photo by fizzytom
In a town full of unusual bars, Puutorin Vessa is the royal flush: it’s housed in a former public restroom and features ceramic toilets everywhere, including in place of beer mugs. What’s more, the actual bathrooms do the bar’s pedigree proud and offer “good reading matter,” according to one guest.
Photo by hayward68
According to hayward68, “a unique feature of the bar is the pewter bar counter with its rare set of antique taps for gravity-fed spirits.” That may be true, but more unique still is the 18th-century mummified hand upstairs, “still clutching his playing cards.”
Photo by GB from Devizes
Just up the road in Pewsey, Wiltshire, is the Barge Inn, where the clientele is what makes the watering hole weird: the pub is a “mecca for crop-circlers and UFO enthusiasts from around the globe.” Even its website gets into the act.
Photo by Ben the Grate
Just outside Big Bend National Park, built into a cave on Terlingua Creek, and decorated with bones shaped to form skeletons of fantastical animals, La Kiva is unique right down to its copper-pot urinals. Part of the charm, say visitors, is that “on a typical night, more folks arrive on horseback than in cars.”
Photo by fizzytom
“Only in this part of the world,” says fizzytom, where Depeche Mode has a major following, could a whole bar be devoted to the English band. Memorabilia covers the walls and tables, and the bar's TVs and music playlists are 100% Depeche Mode.
Photo by Miss Bels
This handcrafted bar may look like a spaceship, but the view of Sokcho’s beach will remind you that you’re still earthbound. From the moment you enter through a portal, says Miss Bels, it’s hard not to enjoy this novelty “in all its shining glory.”
Photo by Travelny2
“The most unique bar I've ever been to,” says Travelny2, and it’s because there’s no such thing as a normal shot here. Bartenders set the bar on fire, breathe flames, fashion crazy straws, and organize other fun and games on the road to ruin.
Photo by Hal1026
Home to the infamous Painkiller cocktail, the Soggy Dollar Bar derives its name from all the people swimming to shore and paying for drinks with sopping-wet dollars. You’ll have to charter a boat to get here, but it’s worth it to sample local tipples on a beach as soft as “white sugar” and in water “the most beautiful color of turquoise.”
Photo by Ksu
Runners-up include ice bars in Warsaw, London, and Tokyo, but IgoUgo members’ favorite shot of cold is in Stockholm, where “crystal-clear ice is the building material for the ceiling, the walls, the bar counter, and decorative details." The only warm thing, according to one visitor, is the convivial atmosphere.
Photo by fizzytom
These skeletons aren’t stationary; they light up and dance. The two pictured here are the life of the party, but they’re joined by more macabre décor, including a bathroom that’s hidden behind a bookcase and only accessible if you turn a hidden handle of bone.
Photo by fluppe
Not only is Raffles Hotel’s legendary Long Bar famous as the birthplace of the Singapore Sling cocktail, it’s also unique for its litter policy: patrons are encouraged to litter peanut shells here, unheard of in a town where leaving trash behind carries a hefty fine. Do the crime, do the time, and order a Sling--you’ll even get to keep the iconic glass.
For another round of the world’s greatest places to order a drink, see IgoUgo’s top 10 places to try world drinks.