13 Bars in Strange Places

From a bookstore to a laundromat, here are the world’s strangest places to get a drink.

This champagne bar looks like a mirage as you’re coming down the last stretch of the narrow Sunnega run back into Zermatt. A classic après-ski spot, it’s where the local instructors gather at day’s end. The Cuban-born bartender is always playing great music, from Bob Marley to Jack Johnson, while skiers stay warm with heat lamps, fur blankets, and, of course, multiple glasses of Veuve Clicquot.
1925 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202, USA
Inspired by Brooklyn’s Barcade and Portland‘s Ground Kontrol, The 1up is Denver’s take on an arcade bar. Stocked with 15 pinball machines, 3 skeeball lanes, giant Jenga sets and 45 classic arcade games including Donkey Kong, Frogger, Pac Man, NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat, The 1up is a dream for grown-ups that refuse to grow up. Make sure to bring a stash of quarters as the game prices haven’t grown up either (.25 cents for arcade and skeeball games, .50 for pinball machines).
Japan, 〒105-0022 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Kaigan, 2 Chome−7, 東京都港区海岸2丁目7−104
Want to spend a night out in the future? No problem, the Jicoo Floating Bar is your time machine ticket there. Open for business every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from 8 to 11pm, Jicoo (which is a cute Romanization of the Japanese word “jiku,” meaning “space-time”) plys Tokyo Bay between Hinode Pier near Hamamatsucho Station and Odaiba aboard a sleek, ultra-modern maritime starship that wouldn’t look out of place in a sci-fi space opera anime. Admission of 2,500 yen grants you boarding privileges at either the Hinode or Odaiba piers for as long the bar is in motion—with beer, wine, and cocktails available on board for an average of 800 yen a pop. The boat also features a dance floor complete with DJs spinning a variety of genres ranging from ambient to deep house, and there are even live shows scheduled periodically on Fridays and Saturdays. The star of the show, of course, is the spectacular view of Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge, which you’ll pass under several times as you soak up the spirits and cut a rug or two atop the waves.
2225 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204, USA
A guy called Santa because of his long, white beard owns this trailer painted in Christmas motif in an up-and-coming area just south of downtown. There’s karaoke every night and cheap beer for cash only. A house band plays every Sunday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best dive bars in the city.
1017 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206
A pioneer of the East Nashville restaurant scene, Margot McCormack created this stylish spot in a repurposed service station in the heart of East Nashville’s Five Points long before the area was considered a destination for fine dining. The Nashville native, who moved away for the Culinary Institute of America and a stint at restaurants in New York City, serves from her collection of mismatched china in a cozy space with copper pots hanging from exposed brick walls. After more than a decade, the restaurant remains a favorite for dinner and Sunday brunch. The menu changes daily, but entrées might include pan-roasted scallops with parsnip purée, baby carrots, and preserved lemon, or house-made fettuccine with butternut squash, walnuts, and goat cheese.
Funenkade 7, 1018 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands
Unexpected surprises abound in Amsterdam. On the city’s east side, you’ll find one denoted by a tall windmill: Brouwerij ‘t IJ (the IJ Brewery), a small brewery and pub situated in the former Funen bathhouse, next to the De Gooyer windmill. Opened in1985 by former musician Kaspar Peterson, Brouweij ‘t Ij prides itself on a large selection of unfiltered, non-pasteurized beers and seasonal offerings. All are certified organic and made on the premises. Belly up to the bar next to the big mill and order your beer from a chilled tank. Follow the scent of hops onto the large outdoor terrace, where you can enjoy your brew with an order of peanuts, boiled eggs, abbey-made cheese, salami, ossenworst from Slagerij de Wit or Skeapsrond cheese from Dikhoeve Farm. The adjacent pub serves more substantial meals, as well as drinks and snacks. In addition to beer, Brouwerij ‘t Ij’s menu includes wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Guided tours are offered on weekends.
9 Crijevićeva ulica
Climb the grand baroque staircase and pass the Jesuit church, cross Gundulić Square, and follow the COLD DRINKS WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW signs. Then, yes, walk through the walls. Buža translates to “a hole-in-the-wall,” and a hole-in-the-wall it is, one that leads to a cliffside ledge with a bar on it. From the moment you order a cool beverage off a simple menu, you begin to unwind. The backdrop to your drink is stunning: a sky-high stone parapet on one side and nothing but the blue sea between you and the horizon. This is the ideal spot for swooning over Adriatic sunsets.
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