Time Out Melbourne

See the world through the bottom of a glass with Time Out's picks of the best bars and bevvies in 20 cities

Abu Dhabi, UAE

A Jelly Martini at Ray's Bar
Soak up heart-stopping views of the Emirati capital from the 62nd floor of the chic Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hotel and soak up a jelly Martini from Ray Bar's lengthy drinks menu – sharp and fruity with little cubes of jelly bobbing about, it packs a potent punch. Tux up, though: this place is the most luxurious joint in town.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

'The Walking Dead' at Hiding in Plain Sight
Fearsome cocktail the Walking Dead offers a taste of liquid danger in this boozy hideaway in the oldest part of Amsterdam. Based on the potent classic the Zombie, Hiding in Plain Sight’s secret recipe is served (and then set on fire) in a giant glass skull, and features three different types of rums including Bacardi 151. Bar-imposed limit: one per night.

Barcelona, Spain

Vermouth time at Quimet i Quimet
Everyone passing through Barcelona should knock back an afternoon vermouth at the cosmopolitan Quimet i Quimet tapas bar, in the city's Poble Sec district. Vermouth time – usually on Sunday around midday lunch – is a quintessential part of Barcelona’s character.

Beijing, China

A jar of Honey Ma Gold beer at Great Leap Brewing
A US brew laced with honey from the Great Wall and peppercorns from distant Sichuan province, Great Leap Brewing’s sweet-yet-fiery Honey Ma Gold is Beijing in a glass: a mix of old Eastern ingredients and modern Western techniques, enormously attractive to hipsters and, thanks to Great Leap’s location, intimately tied to the city’s winding hutong alleys.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

A Pisco Sour at Milión
A lavishly appointed drinking destination in BA's refined Recoleta barrio, Milión has been catering to the city's style-conscious since 1999. The bar specialises in classic cocktails, and the only one to match the heritage and peculiarly South American grandeur of Milión itself is a Pisco Sour.

Chicago, USA

A shot of Jeppson's Malort at the Rainbo Club
One thing divides real Chicago drinkers from the posers: the ability to put down a shot of Jeppson's Malort, Chi-Town's medicinal, locally made booze. (The Old Style, a local beer, is there to cleanse the palate.) Try it at this excellent Ukrainian Village dive.

Delhi, India

An Old Monk Rum and Coke at Ziro
Eco-chic café-bar Ziro is co-owned by an indie rock band and an environmental NGO, a marriage that produces contemporary cool in New Delhi. It’s always packed with regulars – students, young professionals and expats – throwing back the bar’s unbelievably inexpensive drinks. And most Delhiites will opt for a classic Old Monk rum-and-Coke, or several.

Istanbul, Turkey

Raki at Yakup 2
Turks might flirt with other drinks from time to time, but they always come back around to the national drink: rakı (the anise-flavoured aperitif). To down some of the milky-looking liquor with a place of good, traditional meze, head to Yakup 2, a slightly bohemian, slightly seedy meyhane (tavern) in Asmalıescit where the food is always good and the conversation lasts for hours…

London, UK

A classic Martini at the Connaught
Skyfall reminded everyone how brilliant a drink the martini actually is – a purist combination of smooth English spirit and aromatic French vermouth. But it never went out of fashion at the Connaught – the barmen at this super-luxury London hotel have been mixing them to the highest standard for decades.

Los Angeles, USA

A 'Sazerac Fix' at Pour Vous
The Sazerac is thought to be the oldest American cocktail, first blended in the mid-1800s when California was in its infancy. And at Melrose Avenue's Pour Vous bar, a heady mix of Belle Epoque Paris and golden-age Hollywood, it's conjured up using rye whiskey, lemon, bitters, pastis, evaporated cane, classic burlesque and a host of special effects.

Mexico City, Mexico

Pulque at Expendio de Pulques Finos los Insurgentes
Drink like the Aztecs with a measure of Mexico's indigenous grog, pulque – the milky fermented sap of the maguey plant. Mesoamericans in this part of the world considered it sacred, and you will too if you order it at Expendio de Pulques Finos los Insurgentes, a kitschy bar in the Roma Norte district.

New York City, USA

A 'Gin-Gin Mule' at the Pegu Club
Booze hounds can toss back a Manhattan at any bar on the planet these days. For a true New York tipple, swing by Audrey Saunders’s world-renowned Pegu Club and order a 'Gin-Gin Mule' – a vivacious elixir of homemade ginger beer with Tanqueray gin, fresh mint and lime juice. The contemporary classic helped usher in Gotham’s gin revival, along with America’s craft cocktail rebirth, and sips just as fine today.

Paris, France

A fine Bordeaux at Le Baron Rouge
A glass of wine at a Parisian bar is an enduring classic; do it in style with a 1989 Château Angélus from Saint Emilion. Aged in oak barrels in one of the most prestigious vineyards of Bordeaux, it’s a rare and precious bottle – and Le Baron Rouge, a superb little wine bar around the corner from the Aligre market, is one of the few bars where you’ll find it.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Pinga at Bar do Gomez
Head to Rio's old colonial town for an artisanal pinga – Brazil's national drink, better known as cachaça – served by a friendly bunch who have been doing precisely that for years at Bar do Gomez. For 100 years, in fact, give or take a few.

Shanghai, China

A 'Shaoxing Cavalry' at Yuan
A night out in Shanghai these days feels more Chinese with bars relying less on foreign talent and imported tastes, instead nurturing a bright new wave of homegrown bartenders and locally derived concoctions. Yuan is leading the way. Try the Shaoxing Cavalry – a reimagining of the Manhattan where Chivas 12 Scotch replaces bourbon and is tempered with wolfberry-infused Shaoxing rice wine, balanced with orange bitters and served in old-style Qing Dynasty pottery.


A 'Singapore Sour' at Loof
Tourists may charge to Raffles Hotel to venerate the Singapore Sling, but for a more up-to-date Singapore drinking experience head for an à la carte cocktail at a rooftop bar. Following a recent renovation, downtown's Loof has re-emerged as one of the leaders of the year-round alfresco trend, thanks to a locally inspired list of cocktails and some of the best bar bites you’ll find in Singapore.

St Petersburg, Russia

A shot of 'Foxy' at Mishka Bar
It may share its name with a LOLdog (Mishka the talking husky is a Russian internet phenomenon), but Mishka the bar is one of the most interesting and significant drinking spots in St Petersburg. And for the cutting-edge SP experience, it's a cider, a 'Foxy' shot (vodka and Amaretto) and... a Kinder surprise!

Sydney, Australia

Irish Handcuffs at Baxter Inn
That queue of people rolling out of a dark, nondescript laneway on Clarence Street is for Baxter Inn – a candlelit basement bar with thick carpet, jazz and blues and toilets that have some of the best acoustics in town. It’s kind of modelled on an old-school American Irish sports bar, only with no sport and much better whisky. We’re not kidding about those acoustics, by the way – the tiled-and-wood-panelled bathrooms are each equipped with their own PA. They sound so good and are so nice, we’re almost tempted to set up camp in there.

Tokyo, Japan

Hoppy and shochu at Fujiya Honten
Customers at this basement bar – established more than 130 years ago – simply plonk down the amount of money they've budgeted for the night, and the staff deduct from it accordingly. For something hard, go the shochu liquor, sold in 360ml bottles with a choice of mixers. Opt for Hoppy, an old-school beer substitute that's come back in vogue with the office-worker sect recently, and which makes for a crisp, refreshing DIY cocktail.

Zagreb, Croatia

Rajika at Cica Bar
The Cica Bar is the stand-out place on Tkalčićeva, Zagreb's endless, pedestrianised drinking strip. It's also the best spot in town to sample Croatia's favourite local liquor, rajika – a variation on grappa or ouzo. Here it's served in a variety of flavours: try 'medica' (honey) or 'orahovica' (walnut), and, like its fellow Mediterranean aperitifs, you'll need a throat of steel to enjoy it.

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Updated on 7 Jul 2014.

By Time Out International Editors   |  

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