iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Conde Nast Traveler

GET UPDATES FROM Conde Nast Traveler

The 10 Hottest New Bars Around The World (PHOTOS)

Posted: 06/23/2012 10:45 am

What's a vacation without one amazing -- perhaps even epic -- evening out?

A night of salsa dancing amid beautiful Bogotanos, swinging with Sydney's red-lipsticked rockabillies, or sipping scotch with Shanghai bankers in a Mad Men-style mise-en-scène. We asked our global correspondents to do some drinking and dancing and to come back with their picks for the world's most happening new spots.

More from Condé Nast Traveler:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Bangkok: WTF

    <strong>What:</strong> WTF (which in this case stands for Wonderful Thai Friendship) unites a cozy bar and two floors of galleries where there's always something great going on--an art exhibition, band, pop-up dinner, poetry reading, or guest DJ (retro music label ZudRangMa's HQ is next door). <strong>The look:</strong> Fifties kitsch meets Macau minimalism, with lots of local art. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Artsy expats and low-key locals. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Hip-hop by niche collectives like Digging in the Crates. <strong>What to wear: </strong>Flannel, Buddy Holly glasses, skinny jeans. <strong>What to drink:</strong> Something classic--perhaps the Pegu Club (gin, orange liqueur, lime juice, and -bitters). <strong>The door policy:</strong> Come one, come all (7 Soi Sukhumvit 51). <em>Photo: Courtesy Christopher Wise / WTF Bangkok</em>

  • Beijing: Zajia

    <strong>What:</strong>A 500-year-old Taoist temple transformed into a bar and -music venue. <strong>The look:</strong> Sixteenth-century temple stone floors in the bar usher patrons up steep, scary-when-you're-tipsy attic stairs to a cozy rafter overlooking the adjoining music and arts space. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Brightly clad hipsters; friends from the neighborhood. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Experimental Chinese rock bands jamming in the neighboring Zajia Lab room. <strong>What to wear: </strong>A cardigan, since the place is drafty, even in summer. <strong>What to drink:</strong> Belgian ales and imported whiskies. <strong>The door policy:</strong>There isn't even a door--it's more of a curtain (23 Doufuchi Hutong, behind the bell tower). <em>Photo: Courtesy Zajia Bar</em>

  • Berlin: Kater Holzig

    <strong>What:</strong>The new iteration of the legendary club Bar25. Now in a former soap factory, Kater Holzig is a sprawling cultural playground with a restaurant, a theater, a multi-tiered waterside deck, and artist ateliers. <strong>The look:</strong> Alice in Wonderland meets Berlin's underground: Vines climb up interior walls, and there's abundant graffiti and artist-created urban flotsam and jetsam. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Berlin's young creatives dancing to electronica until the sun shines--and beyond (the Sunday night crowd often stays until noon on Monday). <strong>The sound track:</strong> Techno beats. <strong>What to wear: </strong>It's a free-for-all with one rule: Avoid upmarket designers at all costs. <strong>What to drink:</strong> Anything with caffeine. <strong>The door policy:</strong>You might wait an hour in line and still not get the nod from the fickle door team. Hedge your bets by reserving a table in the restaurant (Michaelkirchstrasse 23). <em>Photo: Courtesy Katja Hentschelr</em>

  • Bogota: El Bembe

    <strong>What:</strong>In La Macarena, Bogotá's bohemian quarter, a bar for salsa dancing or for mingling and marveling at beautiful couples' moves. On Fridays, a band starts at midday, encouraging lunchers to blow off work and dance until 3 a.m. <strong>The look:</strong> Old salsa records on the walls, bright tables around the dance floor; it's reminiscent of Cuba's secret salsa joints. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Dancers, actors, stock-traders. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Old, deep, sexy salsa. <strong>What to wear: </strong>Something that'll look good on the dance floor. <strong>What to drink:</strong> The Hector Lavoe mojito, made with passion fruit and coconut. <strong>The door policy:</strong>Easy (Calle 27, No. 6-73). <em>Photo: Courtesy El Bembé</em>

  • Buenos Aires: Oasis Clubhouse

    <strong>What:</strong>A slick, sexy social club on prime Palermo real estate, with an ivy-ringed garden containing a glowing pool and an alfresco bar. <strong>The look:</strong> Two floors of dim nooks and lounges with double-height windows overlooking the lawn. A basement bar draped in black velvet makes a cozy winter snug. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Blue-blood Europeans march to the garden for la previa (or pre-party), a raucous poolside whistle-wetter. Locals host polo bashes and daytime pool parties. <strong>The sound track:</strong> New York City DJ, Whitney Weiss spices up classic house with eclectic pop. <strong>What to wear: </strong>Girls favor colorful, near-transparent wraps from Juana de Arco; guys wear summer whites. <strong>What to drink:</strong> There's no menu; ask for something with cardamom, basil, and ginger. <strong>The door policy:</strong>Guest list only: Cough up $33 for an all-day pass or call ahead--and sound convincing--for a free, evening-only invite (email for the address). <em>Photo: Courtesy Adrien de Bontin / Courtesy Oasis Clubhouse</em>

  • Cape Town: Tjing Tjing

    <strong>What:</strong>Beneath the eaves of a heritage building in the city center, a terrace bar with recessed daybeds and a glimpse of iconic Table Mountain. <strong>The look:</strong> A stylish Japanese jet-setter's loft: dark wood, leather settees, and a wall papered in sepia photos of the owner's travels to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hokkaido. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Journalists and graphic designers. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Electronic-influenced remixes. <strong>What to wear: </strong>Jeans and V-necks--nothing flashy. <strong>What to drink:</strong> Dawa (Swahili for medicine), a potent mix of vodka, lime, crushed ice, and honey. Tapa-size quesadillas also hit the spot. <strong>The door policy:</strong>None, but the place fills up quickly (165 Longmarket St.). <em>Photo: Courtesy Tjing Tjing</em>

  • Hong Kong: Butler

    <strong>What:</strong>A Japanese cocktail bar pouring meticulously mixed drinks. <strong>The look:</strong> Flapper-era chic, with a long mahogany bar, leather booths, and carefully polished Baccarat crystal glasses on the back wall. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Businessmen and literary types who appreciate a good Moscow Mule. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Chilled-out ambient tunes. <strong>What to wear: </strong>Bartenders don bow ties, cuff links, and white dinner jackets, so you might want to reconsider your everyday jeans. <strong>What to drink:</strong> Ask for something omakase (translation: "I'll leave it to you"). <strong>The door policy:</strong>It's tiny, so call ahead to secure a spot. There's a $25 minimum charge per person (30 Mody Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui). <em>Photo: Courtesy Butler </em>

  • Istanbul: Ca'd'Oro

    <strong>What:</strong>A glassy, minimalist indoor-outdoor boîte with glittery Golden Horn views atop Istanbul's hottest new art gallery, Salt. <strong>The look:</strong> Bright, clean modernism within the old Ottoman bank building: glass walls, floating wooden stairs, and an outdoor section that hangs over the city and water below. <strong>Who goes:</strong> Expats, socialites, and brainy members of Istanbul's ever-expanding arts scene. And smokers: Istanbul's new smoking ban has made the terrace a hot commodity. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Just the soft tinkle of piano tunes; it's refreshingly quiet inside. <strong>What to wear: </strong>Something simple--think Alexander Wang. <strong>What to drink:</strong> Try the Mar-Tea-Ny, a martini made with jasmine tea. <strong>The door policy:</strong>Arrive early to snag an outdoor table, especially on warm spring nights (Bankalar Cadessi 11). <em>Photo: Courtesy Ca'D'oro </em>

  • London: Worship Street Whistling Shop

    <strong>What:</strong>An underground ode to Victoriana on an unassuming Shoreditch backstreet. The Dickensian vibe belies the focus on molecular mixology: Waistcoated bar staff create inventive concoctions from fruit infusions, herb dusts, and produce from the distilling machine in the bar's glass-walled lab. <strong>The look:</strong> Studded sofas, oak barrels, and antique maps play to the heritage theme; candlelit glass lanterns and a copper-backed bar add glamour. <strong>Who goes:</strong>Laid-back intellectual types, architects, cocktail lovers, and bon vivants. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Blues, rock 'n' roll, and soulful honky-tonk. <strong>What to wear: </strong>Plaid shirts, striped sweaters, thick-rimmed glasses. <strong>What to drink:</strong> A Panacea, the bar's inventive take on the whiskey sour, or a classic and perfectly executed Aviation. <strong>The door policy:</strong>None (63 Worship St.). <em>Photo: Courtesy Worship Street Whistling Shop</em>

  • Los Angeles: Harvard & Stone

    <strong>What:</strong>A converted dive on the eastern edge of Hollywood with a -whiskey-focused cocktail list, live-music, and two bars--the smaller of which, called R&D, hosts guest celebrity bartenders mixing new and rare spirits. <strong>The look:</strong> World War II-era industrial garage, with plenty of exposed pipes, metal chains, and faux weathered walls. <strong>Who goes:</strong>Edgy, just-of-age Eastsiders, rock stars, chefs, the cast of Mad Men, and cult cocktail followers. <strong>The sound track:</strong> Indie hard rock bands playing on the small front stage, or guitar from the jukebox; the prevailing theme seems to be "loud." <strong>What to wear: </strong>Something dark and tight--black denim, leather, and a vintage Tshirt. Lipstick-red pumps for ladies, Converse (duh) for men. <strong>What to drink:</strong> Whatever's on special in the back R&D bar, with winky names like Fernet Headed Slut or Bird's the Word. <strong>Everyone's welcome, but expect to wait your turn on a Friday or Saturday night (5221 Hollywood Blvd.). <em>Photo: Courtesy manufactur / Harvard & Stone</em>

This article originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler: The Best New Bars in 20 Cities


Follow Conde Nast Traveler on Twitter: