1. Cloud 9, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in Fiji
"It's a floating pontoon bar in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in Fiji! They have a wood-burning Italian pizza oven, plus a variety of international drinks. The only place in the world where my drink color has matched the water color!"
—Nadine Sykora, Hey Nadine
3. Cafe Bar Pray, Tokyo
"Oh, the bizarre world of Japanese maid cafes! This one has an angels and demons theme, where half of the servers are innocent seraphs, and the rest are devilishly cute temptresses. Each maid has a fake name, age (most are hundreds of years old), and rank in the heavenly hierarchy. Pick your favorite. She’ll give you her name card and prepare her special cocktail. The maids charm the customers with games, skits, and lighthearted conversation. You’re also allowed to take photos inside, the decor is swanky, and there’s a relaxed, anything-goes atmosphere — which is a nice change from the typically tense otaku hangouts." More info here.
Both of these bars are located outside the walls of the Old Town, in Croatia — and both are also fairly hard to find. You basically have to walk through a literal hole in the wall to get to them, but once you arrive, you're hit with a ~stunning~ view of the Adriatic. "They're truly the best views in the world. What spectacular places to sit and sip a drink while the sun sets against the Adriatic Sea."
—Diana Edelman, D Travels 'Round
6. Ronnie's Sex Shop, Western Cape, South Africa
"Ronnie's Shop originally opened in the 1970s. His friends decided to prank him by painting 'SEX' between 'RONNIE'S' and 'SHOP.' As soon as road-trippers saw the sign, curiosity brought them in — so they decided to turn the shop into a pub instead! Today, the bar is filled with layers of panties, bras, and other undergarments hanging from the ceiling. Bring a set of your own and Ronnie will add them to the collection!" More info here.
—Kate McCulley, Adventurous Kate
8. Sky Bar Lebua, Bangkok, Thailand
"The bar is connected by a bridge to a building, so it 'floats' in the sky, and the views are unreal. It's actually become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Bangkok because of Hangover 2, so it's not super secret these days." But it's still totally worth a visit.
—Jimmy Im, Travel Writer
9. Terrace Bay Bar, Namib Desert, Namibia
"This place is the most northerly spot you can order a drink in Namibia's Namib Desert before the salty road abruptly gives way to vast, uninhabited nothingness. Seriously though: The nearest city is an eight-hour drive south, which I will admit freaked me out at first. I was traveling with three other women and two guides, and we all just looked at each other wide-eyed when we rolled up, like, 'Where the hell are we?!'
But it actually turned into one of our favorite nights of the whole trip, because it was all so extremely weird and secluded. The bar walls were covered in 'inspirational' messages scribbled by passing patrons, such as 'No Shipwrecks, Only Death,' and there were whale skulls scattered outside. But that's what made it wonderful."
—Emma Yardley, Travel Writer
10. Rick's Cafe, Negril, Jamaica
When this bar was first founded in 1974, Negril was just a small little fishing village. As the years passed and visitors began to visit Negril for vacation, the bar got increasingly popular, mainly due to its prime cliff-jumping location and incredible sunsets. And now it's one of the most popular vacation spots in Jamaica.
11. Babaloo Bar, Koh Tao, Thailand
"Babaloo Bar is an amazing beach bar in Koh Tao, Thailand. It's cool because you can drink a beer while lounging in a hammock strung above the water! They play reggae, serve delicious Thai food, and have goldfish swimming around their beer cooler. There's no better place to laze around in a hammock with a beer in hand, listening to good reggae." More info here.
—Ashley Fleckenstein, Ashley Abroad
12. Ozone Bar, Hong Kong, China
13. Castaway Island, Halong Bay, Vietnam
"The stunning limestone cliffs of Halong Bay in Vietnam are one of the natural wonders of the world. If you go on the Castaway two-night boat cruise, you spend one night on Castaway Island, which is a private island in the middle of Halong Bay that features cheap beers on the beach, rock climbing, and wakeboarding. My favorite part was dipping my toes in the water in the middle of the night; it's a bioluminescent bay, so it all lights up!"
—Christine Amorose, C'est Christine
15. Dow Jones, Barcelona, Spain
"It's a riot! It's set up to be like the stock market. When more people buy a certain drink, the price goes up. Meanwhile, if a certain drink hasn't been purchased in a while, the price goes down. While I was there, the stock market 'crashed' and all the drinks were the same, lower price while everyone rushed the bar to get lower-priced drinks. It's a lesson in economics while getting drunk — it's absolutely hilarious!"
19. Mad Monkey Beach Bar, Siem Reap, Cambodia
"Siem Reap in Cambodia is best known for being home to the incredible Angkor Wat, and the infamously raucous Pub Street. What it is not known for is sand between the toes and a cranking beach vibe, as it's hours away from the closest sea — but that hasn't stopped the Mad Monkey Hostel from building their very own beach bar on their roof.
"Warning: A night out at the Mad Monkey Beach Bar is not for the faint of heart. Expect gallons of booze to be consumed on the sandy dance floor, impromptu drinking games, buzzing tunes, and one of the best sunset views in Siem Reap. If you're up for a real interesting night, take part in their famous Grenade Challenge!"
—Jarryd Salem and Alesha Bradford, Nomadasaurus
20. Ice Hotel, Quebec City, Canada
If you go to Quebec City in the winter (already the closest thing to a winter wonderland possible), you can go to the Hotel de Glace: an actual real-life igloo. It's a fully functioning hotel, complete with a hotel bar that serves up delicious cocktails in glasses made of ice! Bonus: You can go down an ice slide after your drink.
—Christine Amorose, C'est Christine
21. Guinea Pig, Shinjuku, Tokyo
"It's a Japanese horror movie come to life. The decoration consists of such nightmares as chains, baby mannequins, and shrunken zombie heads. The owner has a giant live snake that you can wrap around your neck if you dare, and he'll serve you bloody cocktails while splatter films play in the background. Some of these [unique] bars are one-act novelties, but I can go to Guinea Pig again and again. It's a subculture hub — there are always interesting people drinking at the small counter." More info here.
22. Vernadsky Research Base Bar, Antarctica
"Maintained by only 11 men throughout the year, this bar is way, way off grid. When I went, I ended up taking a vodka shot with the bartender at 10:30 a.m. — because when in Antarctica, right? Needless to say, I was toasty warm on the ride back to our ship."
—Sherry Ott, Otts World
23. Bizarre Bar, Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York
"When I walked into Bizarre Bar for the first time, my first thought was, 'Wow, what an apt name for this spot.' It's a dusty space filled with mismatched furniture, skeleton dolls, mannequin legs, and odd knick-knacks, and on my first night, I sat next to a man at the bar who was buck naked drinking a beer. I also saw a woman melt chocolate onto her body and have audience members lick it off; another guy wrap the audience in string and make them dance like puppets; and a girl who ran out onto the stage with two fake heads attached to her head, only to proceed to shove three hot dogs down her throat in fewer than 10 seconds.
"Four years later, I still go to Bizarre Bar, and while the cocktail menu has expanded from just absinthe to food and more drinks, that offbeat — and often downright weird — entertainment, coupled with a crowd that truly lets their freak flag fly, is still there."
—Jessie Festa, Jessie on a Journey
26. Cross Club, Prague, Czech Republic
"It's a bar straight out of Blade Runner. In the words of Dracula Clothing's Truls, 'It's a steampunk bar, constructed by Czechs who don't know steampunk exists.' Clockwork and moving parts are continuously added to the decor. Each room has different lighting and parts. There was a wall of motherboards, lit by cyber-punk neon." More info here.
The name of the bar in #8 has been changed to Sky Bar Lebua, and the location has been changed to Bangkok, Thailand. The punctuation on a previous version of this story made it seem like the bar was in Lebua.