A touch of New York with a dash of Scandinavian cool thrown in (a smorgasbord of Swedish nibbles is available). Laid-back boho coffee house by day-pick a title from the large collection of books on art, design, fashion and settle down in a comfy (probably designer) armchair-funky bar by night with loud music and cocktails. You’ll be surrounded by Rome’s trendy young things.
Piazza del Pietra 42, +06 678 5804.
This is a great bar/venue. Dispite its small size it rocks BIG. You can get up close to up and coming bands, and rock on till the early hours of the morning. If you get tired, you can always chill out in the bar downstairs. It is a great night out whoever you are. Also you usually get to see three bands for less then a tenner. Coldplay, Electric Six, Badly Drawn Boy, The Vines and The Darkness have all played here.
Cutting-edge non-mainstream music.
49 Chalk Farm Road, Camden, LONDON, NW1 8AN
from Camden Town tube station - 5 Mins
From Chalk farm tube station - 3 Mins
A bar housed in a former garage - hence the name (Brakes and Clutches). Just across the bridge into Trastevere this small bar spills out into a little square, with candles burning and throngs of good looking people perched on the wall surrounding the square.
The bar had a real buzz, which is what first draws the attention from the bottom of the steps, I found it to be a really friendly little bar with a good mix of patrons, the staff were friendly too and only too happy to help.
Cocktails are a speciality and the mojitos were amazing especially on a hot summers evening - the whole cocktail list looked fantastic and there seemed a good wine list too, although regrettably I didn't sample any. There was also a very tempting buffet on offer which looked much better than the second rate tourist crap I'd just eaten.
The decor of the place was a juxtaposition between the futuristic and reclaimed which created a unique ambience.
Via del Politeama 4-6,
Tel: 06 5833 4210
The owner, Giovanni, is a Roman by birth, but was raised in Canada and speaks perfect English - well American English! He and his girlfriend, Simona, serve locals and tourists every night from 5pm - 2am. Great fun.
Via di Tor Millina, 32;
near Piazza Navona
A tradional bar which serves the best authentic home made tartufo ice cream (chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks). One is enough for two.
Piazza Navona 28 Phone: 39 066 880 1996 In the middle on the northern side of the piazza.
Is this the best bar in the world? Well, it is set in a beautiful crumbling piazza, serves Frascati that will amaze you, does a nice line in salads and shows the Italian football on the TV indoors. All this without attracting too many tourists.
Pop into the Museum of Trastevere opposite, clock the art, come here after and have some frascati with a pear salad while pretending to read La Repubblica over your fake Gucci sunglasses. Now that's civilised.
The bar staff are really sexy too.
Ordering drinks at tables in Piazza Navona, Piazza della Rotunda etc can be pricey. You won't save much by ordering a small beer or a cappuccino, so get value for money by ordering a Negroni - a cocktail made of three alcoholic drinks (Gin, Vermouth and Campari) The cost should be five to eight euros and you'll be bought some nibbles too.
My favourite place to sit and sip one is the bar to the right of the Pantheon. You'll take away an unforgettable memory of Rome - just don't drink more than two, or the memory will be lost in the haze.
This is perhaps the best hotel in all of Cambodia. The new facilities and the local and international staff are nearly perfect as they move from soft opening to grand opening. The luxury duplex spa suites with breakfast and private pools are so good I never wanted to leave.
Sivutha Blvd, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tel: + 855 63 966 000
Fax: + 855 63 965 001
A Moorish castle with a beautiful view. It’s only a euro for a superbock beer and it has regular live music. It looks over Lisbon on one side and the sea to the other, it’s outstanding.
Tram 15 - a nice scenic route - or if you have the legs for it a nice steep walk
A three-floored restaurant on the north side of the Smithfield meat market. Downstairs is a lively cocktail bar and restaurant, which does a very good bacon sandwich and chips for breakfast, on the middle level is a brasserie serving good food and at the top is one of London's top restaurants with a great (and pricey) menu where the meat is superb and the fish is delicious too. It also has a terrace which makes it a great spot in the summer.
If you're low on cash and keen on jazz, this family-run community arts space - located in a converted railway arch under Herne Hill station - hosts a free jazz night every Thursday. The musicians - of quite a decent calibre - usually play from around 9.30pm to midnight. The studio also hosts poetry nights, like Penned in the Margins, which include open mic sessions. There's a little bar, local art and lounges.
Milkwood Road, Herne Hill
Train: Herne Hill station
Nearest tube: Brixton
If you're in Shoreditch and feel like getting away from the hyperactivity of most of the bars and crowds in the area (especially on a Friday night), this is a fantastic option. The owners are adept at creating an intimate and personal space (they also own the more swanky basement bar, Friendly Society, in Soho).
The Commercial's interior is cosy but far from claustrophobic, quirky and comfortable, having been lovingly decked out with retro and hand-painted furniture. The choice of music is always startlingly suitable for a quiet drink (last time I was there they were playing the theme from Taxi Driver) and the bar staff are unusually friendly.
Oh, and historically it's associated with the Elephant Man, who is said to have lived in the caverns beneath.
142-144 Commercial Street, Shoreditch
Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch, Whitechapel
This is a traditional bar on the south side of the city with a cosy atmosphere, excellent beer, a huge choice of whisky and champagne, delicious food (mostly smorregebrod) and a courtyard for secluded al-fresco libations in the good weather.
239 Morningside Road
This is a fantastic gay cafe bar with good food (primarily burgers and steaks), friendly service and a chatty crowd who really know how to enjoy themselves. Check out the live act on Thursday and Sunday (Three Tuns of Fun). I am still grinning every time I think of these talented black mamas (thanks girls).
Address: 74 Waterkant St, (De Waterkant), Cape Town, 8001
Phone: +27 21 421 6666
Fax: +27 21 418 7843
Neighbourhood: Atlantic Seaboard
Breathtaking views of Manhattan from the Grill Bar at the historic Rainbow Room. Save the admission fee to the observation deck and have drink instead. Excellent retro cocktails. Good people watching. Sirs Elton, Paul and Alex Ferguson spotted recently.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th floor
This genuine 1950s coffee house has played host to Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon in its time, and it retains an artistic, bohemian buzz to this day.
The food is excellent, the atmosphere agreeably relaxed and the club beneath it has a huge range of comedy nights, poetry readings and live music. Highly recommended.
263-7 Old Brompton Road, SW5 9JA; Tel: 020 7370 1434; www.troubadour.co.uk
It's almost impossible to find a seat in most pubs in the West End area between 5 and 8pm, but the Nell is handily equipped with an upstairs area which most people seem to ignore. If you're off to see a show at
Drury Lane, The Coliseum, The Donmar or the ROH, the Nell should provide you with a drink and a seat beforehand.
29 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JS; Tel: 020 7836 5328
West Kensington isn't known for its wealth of gastropubs, but this is an absolute joy. Everything about it is understated but high-quality, from the general atmosphere to the service to the excellent food.
29 North End Rd, Hammersmith, London, W14 8SZ; Tel: 020 7371 6806; Tube: Olympia or West Kensington
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