Croatian design team Gharani Strok designed the interiors for the recently opened five-star Hotel Bellevue.
The hotel itself is like something from an old James Bond film with its lift to the private beach below built into the rock face.
The cocktails served in Vapor's bar are something quite special. The terrace is split in two with Vapor on one side and the other side being home to one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik. The terrace has a wonderful view out over the Adriatic where you can sip your cocktail while watching a whole variety of craft from tall Pirates of The Caribbean ships to little island-hopping taxis moving in and out of Dubrovnik harbour framed by a glorious sunset.
The Adriatic's most friendly barman made us the perfect Vodka Martinis and told us tales of having to fight in the Balkan war and then finding work on a cruise ship where he learned the art of perfect mixing. My boyfriend and I spent a magical evening sipping amazing cocktails and watching the moonlight dance over the Adriatic. Bliss!
Hotel Bellevue - Pera Cingrije 7, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
T +385 20 330 000 F +385 20 330 100
The views up here are like nothing I have ever seen before. You know that scene in Vanilla Sky where Tom Cruise is at the top of the building and the whole world is glittering below him? Drinking in Level 25 is every bit as mind-blowing as that because it's all glass and the atmosphere of the place changes with the weather, making it impossible to get bored of.
It takes on the character of the sunset, or of a starry night. The city sparkles in the distance and the sea glimmers and glints and you feel like you could be a movie star yourself.
I go to Miami once or twice a year to see my family and this is always where I take people for a drink now. It's really good for post-work drinks if you're working in the area because it's in the financial district. You could get drunk just on the atmosphere or, of course, on the menu of marvellous speciality cocktails.
25th floor of Conrad hotel building, Brickell Ave, Miami, Florida.
This was my closest ever brush with foot and mouth - a shot of Yukon jack whisky with a shrivelled human toe in the bottom.
To join the Sourtoe Cocktail Club in the Downtown Hotel, Dawson City, Yukon, I had to let its gnarled blackened nail touch my lip, a tradition that started in the 1970s when a local discovered the frozen tootsie of a rum runner who'd had to amputate it in a log cabin when he got frostbite.
Occasionally toes are accidentally swallowed by visiting drunks - they re-emerge painfully a few days later but they aren't really toes you can use again (unless you're really flying), so a steady supply have been donated over the years including ones from diabetics and people who decide to use a lawnmower while wearing sandals. Last time I went they had a full donated set of five toes, all preserved in salt.
It's not as bad as it sounds and you do get to become a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, the only club I've been a member of in my life.
I’m not known for skipping in and out of cocktail bars, but swimming to one in a turquoise sea under a tropical sun is another matter, even I couldn’t resist the allure of the infamous Soggy Dollar Bar, so called because the only access is by water.
We had hired a little boat with some friends, talked my brother into being captain, and were sailing around the BVI in the Caribbean for an idyllic holiday. We had already discovered the potent Painkiller cocktail, an innocent tasting concoction of white rum and tropical fruit juices, served in half pint mugs. One before dinner the night before had left us giggly and strangely uninterested in the food put before us. The test was now whether we could swim ashore, have a Painkiller and return without drowning.
The bar lived up to all its hype; swaying palm trees, golden sands and hammocks to lie in while sipping and chatting. We eventually managed to doggypaddle back to the mooring and then lay out on deck gazing at the stars. We didn’t bother with dinner, strangely no-one was hungry – again!
Views of the city and its fjord to die for from this bar on the 21st floor. A stylish and suited downtown crowd gathers here at sunset to watch the light fade and the neons come on all over the city, supping sophisticated concoctions from a long (and, as it’s Scandinavia, suitably pricey) cocktail list. Male vertigo sufferers should stick to short measures: the urinals are built into glass walls looking out over the abyss.
Ten years old this year, makes the Gin Palace a venerable old man among Melbourne's hip young cocktail bars. It has lost none of its greatness though. Well trained bartenders, a bookshelf of cocktail books, hundreds of bottles (including dozens of types of gin) means that if you want to stray from the ten martinis printed on their cocktail list, you can have just about anything. Also, the chairs are stuffed with goose feathers, the music is never too loud and it is open every day of the year (including Christmas). I don't live in Melbourne any more but if I did, I'd be there right now.
Russell Place, Melbourne
Google map: tinyurl.com/qg2jvh
Now, I am not normally a cocktail man. But on a weekend in Chicago with my then-fiancee, we discovered The Terrace at the Conrad. You snuggle up on a sofa five stories above the rest of the world but feel like you're a million miles away, so it's perfect either for romantic drinks or for a relaxed night with friends (and not as pretentious as a lot of other bars we tried in the city). The unique cocktail menu was a really big hit with my other half and even I was a fan of the 'TerraceTini'. Go in the summer and soak up the atmosphere, or go now and soak up the alcohol whilst the exchange rate is so good... the lovely lady I took is now my wife so it must have been a reasonable success!
The Terrace, upstairs at the Conrad Chicago at 521 North RUsh St.
Chicago, Illinois, 60611.
Tel number 1312 645 1500
Great rooftop drinks and fantastic views of historic HCMC centre from this 20th floor bar and terrace, and one of the pluses is that because you're in it, this modern edifice isn't spoiling your view as it towers over the Opera House, Post Office, Rex Hotel and Notre Dame Cathedral. Hang on to your money in the breeze for the sake of the waiters. A couple of notes we were leaving for a tip blew through the balustrade, and the waiter leapt over onto a narrow 20th floor ledge to rescue them before we could offer replacements. Good service or madness?
On Dong Khoi, the French and Americans famous Rue Catinat, at Lam Son Square
I first sampled Level 25 on a girls' weekend in Miami, and we all fell in love with it for its completely creative cocktails. It serves all your old faves, but given a unique twist and served with flair (by very attentive bar staff). It also has its own speciality cocktail menu - trust me, you'd need more than one visit to work through it! As well as all this, the setting is quite literally out of this world, 25 floors above the ground. The bar is all glass, with the city and the sea glittering away outside - quite enough to take your breath away (if the cocktails haven't knocked you out already!). The clientele is stylish and atmosphere electric. Without a doubt my favourite cocktail corner in the world.
Level 25, Conrad Miami
1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL, 33131, USA
Tel: 1-305-503 6500
Fabulous all-American bar in one of the best NY hotels where the bloody mary was invented. You have to go in the cosy bar with comfortable leather armchairs, fabulously attentive staff, lovely nibbles and, of course, the best bloody mary in town.
Two East 55th Street, at Fifth Avenue, New York
A gem, to an ex-pat Brit, found it very difficult to locate great bars in Vancouver, this more than makes up for it. Tiny place, best staff in town, and the best cocktails by a country mile, (pretty good food too!).
1326 Davie Street, Vancouver, @ Broughton
This little communal cafe has a nice variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic cocktails and a very alternative, lefty and studenty atmosphere; it doubles up as a little bit as a community centre, arthouse cinema, theatre and concert hall and event space.
The group associated with it also organises some of the best fun events of the city: the bathtub regatta, the soapbox derby, the naTo-cup (football), Bollywood in Leipzig and has also been caring for the restoration of the historic GDR advert 'Löffelfamilie'; which shows a family eating soup (donations urgently needed).
It's a fantastic little venue with cult status and as one of my favourite places only suitable for nice, friendly, open-minded, easy-going and in general just lovely people.
telephone: 0049/0 341 3014398
Several trams are just stopping in front of it. Can't remember which ones, but all which go to "Connewitzer Kreuz".
What any five-star cocktail bar should be like - very friendly ambience, excellent and friendly, yet reserved, barmen. Best whiskey sour I've had.
Best cocktail bar in Europe.
Potsdamer Straße 102 • 10785 Berlin
Telefon +49.30.2575 9977
Great cocktails served outdoors. The bar is located in the garden in front of the villa housing the French restaurant and action theatre.
It is located at 42 Waterloo Street (just off Bras Basah Rd, across from the arts museum).
Ruby is Copenhagen's newest cocktail bar offering sublime cocktails in a beautiful old luxurious apartment. Really hard to find but well worth the effort.
You won't find a better place to enjoy a perfectly made Manhattan. Top service from professional, passionate bartenders. Homely atmosphere, like visiting friends.
Nybrogade 10, st.
1203 Kbh K.
T: +45 3393 1203
This is the best place to go for cocktails at night in Lisbon. Since it is not in the centre of all of the night time action in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood, it's easy to be overlooked. But it is within walking distance from Bairro Alto and worth finding it. It has a variety of excellent cocktails and the overall atmosphere is cool and relaxed.
See the www.golisbon.com for more details about it.
It is located at Rua Ruben A. Leitão, 17-A
The best cocktail bar in the city is between the Pantheon and the Luxembourg Gardens.
Cosy, intimate and friendly this place has it all. The back street location and unassuming frontage makes it a true local hangout – strictly for those in the know.
It opens and shuts late so is perfect for long nights when you don’t want to face a noisy dancefloor.
And with more than three hundred cocktails on the list you’re sure not to get bored.
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