From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

12 Glamorous Cocktail Bars

Whatever drink you favor, these stylish watering holes will serve it with style.

MOST READ CUISINE
Looking to the Past and Future of Korean Cuisine

Restaurants

Looking to the Past and Future of Korean Cuisine

JP and Ellia Park bring a global perspective to their restaurants Atomix, Atoboy,...

Innovation in the world of vegan meat products has yielded a new crop of elevated culinary offerings.

Food and Drink

The Future of Plant-Based Food

These three Bay Area companies are leading the way when it comes to innovation,...

A Dinner Date With Michael Stipe

Music

A Dinner Date With Michael Stipe

Over a meal at one of his favorite restaurants in New York City, the former R.E.M....

Enjoying an artisanal cocktail in a sumptuous location is as much about the surrounding atmosphere as it is the drink in hand. Glamorous bars around the world—rich in history, personality and mixological talent—deliver. And as cocktail revivalism continues full bore, they are the places to be.

“A bar is a stage where you can constantly reinvent yourself,” says Jacob Briars, global spokesman for Bacardi. “So much thought has gone into the lighting, to make sure you’re going to look as good as possible, or the seating, so it’s just close enough, or the drama of the entrance.”

Trained as a bartender in his native Wellington, New Zealand, Briars has spent almost two decades globe-trotting as an ambassador for premium liquor brands. He compares drinking at a top-tier cocktail joint to an evening at the opera. “In utilitarian terms, you can go to a liquor store and buy a bottle of wine just like you can put on a DVD,” he explains. “But why do you go to a show? It’s a performance. At a bar, unlike the opera, you’re a player in the show.”

The establishments on our list don’t disappoint. Some are located in hotels in neighborhoods like London’s Mayfair, the Worli district in Mumbai and the Shanghai waterfront. Others sit hidden in plain sight, channeling Prohibition-era speakeasies from a shoddy side street in San Francisco, a skyscraper in Tokyo or New York’s Grand Central Terminal. But what they all have in common is an unabashedly glamorous aura, which allows you to sit back and celebrate the simple beauty of a perfectly made cocktail.

Newsletter

Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.