From rooftop haunts to hidden speakeasies, the world's best watering holes deliver stylish surrounds and seriously good cocktails.
Taking its cues from Japan, Katana Kitten in New York's West Village isn't afraid to push boundaries. Take, for example, the off-menu "umami situation", which muddles the juice of prawn heads with sake and salted lemon in a shot; there's a side of shochu. The rest of the menu is divided into highballs, signature cocktails and boilermakers (beer cocktails), all served up in a split-level space that is izakaya downstairs and cocktail bar up top. The music is raucous, the sandos are on-point and the crowd is in the mood for fun. katanakitten.com
Despite its unassuming entrance - through an antique fridge door inside a pastrami bar - Paradiso is as glamorous as Spanish bars come. Inspired by the art of Antonio Gaudi, the space is all curved wood and Carrera marble, dimly lit so Barcelona's beautiful people appear in the best light; this is, after all, the city's trendy El Born district. Cocktails come with high drama - try the Mediterranean Treasure, an aromatic vodka-based concoction served in a conch shell. paradiso.cat
If the brisk elevator ride to the 59th floor of the Centara Grand hotel doesn't take your breath away, then the views over the Thai capital when you arrive at CRU surely will. This is a champagne bar, and there are plenty of high-end bottles of bubbles on offer. But it would be remiss to not try it in a cocktail, whether classic (think Kir Royal), popsicle (kiwi and lemon) or signature, like the Bangkok Bellini - a fruity mix of mandarin vodka, mango puree, vanilla syrup, fresh ginger and champagne. champagnecru.com
Holding court with Michelin-starred restaurants inside one of London's hotel grande dames, The Connaught Bar oozes opulence, from its candle-lit tables to its walls dressed in textured platinum silver leaf. The food menu lists delicacies you'd expect of a place of this calibre - caviar, truffle, crab - while many of the cocktails feature vintage spirits. For a whopping £2200 ($4180) you can sip the Silver Jubilee Rob Roy, which unites Macallan Silver Jubilee 1977, Martini Rosso vermouth 1970s and Angostura Bitters 1970s. the-connaught.co.uk
While Argo takes its name from the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, it takes its design from a giant conservatory, with sweeping architectural lines and swathes of glass. The eye-catching space sits pretty within the the Four Seasons hotel, with cocktail drama unfolding around a floor-to-ceiling central bar. Perch here and order signature libations inspired by your destination, like the Birds of Lantau, a heady mix of Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum, XO vermouth, passionfruit, Mr Black, lime and absinthe. fourseasons.com
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6. Zuma, Dubai
From the Maldives to Madrid, Zuma has outlets across the globe. But it's the Dubai incarnation that steals the show, with the restaurant and bar done up in Japanese izakaya style. Pull up a stool at the square bar - allowing the mixologists to show off their skills from every angle - and contemplate whether you're in the mood for a Hachiko (vodka, yuzu, hibiscus cordial, cold-pressed grapefruits, Himalayan salt), perhaps, or a mule with a wasabi twist. Yes, it's a thing. zumarestaurant.com
Established in 1850, Kennedy's has seen its fair share of notable guests over the decades. Indeed, Oscar Wilde earnt his first schilling here, when it was a grocery store. Samuel Beckett and James Joyce were known to stop past for a pint of Guinness, in its incarnation as a bar. We can see the appeal - the atmosphere is convivial, the taps cold and the cocktails strong. Our pick? The Raspberry Collins, with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin, fresh and pureed raspberries, lemon juice and Thomas Henry soda. kennedyspub.ie
Lavish is the first word that springs to mind when you visit Atlas, with its soaring 14-metre-high ceilings inspired by the grand art deco skyscrapers of Europe and New York. The glimmering bar is home to one of the world's largest collections of gin (more than 1300 bottles), while there are also some 250 different champagnes to choose from, including many that are rare and special like the 1988 jeroboam of Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. One cork we'd like to pop. atlasbar.sg
If New York Bar looks familiar, that's because it made a cameo in Sofia Coppola's 2003 flick, Lost in Translation. As per the film, there's always a dapper pianist behind the grand, tinkling out sultry jazz numbers while patrons gaze over the skyline of the Japanese capital - from the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt hotel, the outlook is impressive. Ice is chipped by hand for American-style cocktails like the whiskey sour and old fashioned, but there are also some fun riffs - Chilli Coriander Margarita, anyone? parkhyatttokyo.com
There are just 25 leather seats in this Paris bolthole, a legend among French bars and rightfully set in a hotel just as legendary: The Ritz. Moodily lit and packed with quirky memorabilia - boxing gloves, a framed airplane seatbelt, newspaper clippings - the space has been a hangout for the who's who for decades, from Hemingway himself to F Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Gary Cooper. The menu is full of twists-on-classics cocktails - it's hard to go past the Clean Dirty Martini, served with a frozen cube of olive juice. ritzparis.com
The best of Australia
Setting the pace for Australian cocktail bars, Sydney's Maybe Sammy continues to take home global awards for its extravagant beverages. But style doesn't come at the expense of substance here - everything on the carefully curated menu is delicious, from the traditional (Espresso Martini) to the innovative (Ligurian Sting, replete with beeswax-and-olive gin and caramel honeycomb).
The name theme continues in Adelaide at Maybe Mae, a sustainably focused bar that makes you work for your drink - it's tucked between two lanes and requires you to venture through a tunnel and downstairs before entering via a timber-clad wall. It's worth the effort when you have one of the 'from the market' cocktails in hand, heroing seasonal ingredients like white aspen, ginger and ginseng in a gin-based Half Moon.
Finally in Melbourne, Eau de Vie is straight out of 1920s prohibition America; there's even a hidden whisky room behind a bookcase. Cocktails come with whimsical names like Smokey Rob Roy (yes, your drink is served in a puff of wood smoke) and Lady White Snake, featuring jasmine tea sake. And there's plenty of commentary through the menu, detailing fascinating facts about the spirits you're consuming. Cheers to that! maybesammy.com; maybemae.com; eaudevie.com.au