The experience of solo travel just wouldn’t be complete without paying a visit to a chic cocktail bar that captures the essence of the city.
Each country has its own bespoke spin on the classic ingredients – from Pisco Sours to Sazeracs, Aperol Spritzes to Black Russians. And they offer a distinctive taste of the places they emerge from.
An ideal travel itinerary should end a few of its evenings with a delicious local cocktail, preferably at a bar that helps you learn more about the city you’re visiting.
While there are dozens of global cocktail bars worth hopping on a plane to experience, there are a few that take things to a whole other level.
While journeying in Asia or South America (whether you’ve got a free night/day on a Flash Pack trip or not) be sure to stop by these amazing cocktail bars, many of which use local ingredients and offer a chance to meet new people while on the road.
Enjoy a drink or two, but keep the memories forever.
Star Bar Ginza, Tokyo
One of Tokyo’s most acclaimed cocktail bars can be found at the bottom of a hidden set of stairs in Ginza, the city’s posh shopping district.
Japanese cocktail bars are known for their careful attention to detail and Star Bar Ginza does this to an extreme. The ice, in particular, is perfectly carved and insanely clear, a perfect match to each classic cocktail on the menu.
Be prepared to pay a cover charge to enter, but it’s worth it once you’re situated inside the dark, intimate bar sipping the most perfect old fashioned you’ll ever encounter.
Charles H, Seoul
Descend into a secret door at the Four Seasons in Seoul to uncover Charles H, a relatively new cocktail spot that evokes vintage New York.
The menu is based off the travels of American writer Charles H. Baker, with each drink transporting you to a far-off locale with its balanced, exotic flavors.
Try the Manhattan flight, which displays three small versions of the whiskey classic, or snap a photo of the highly-Instagrammable Zombie.
The menu also includes food, making it ideal for an evening out while in the South Korean city.
Read more: The wellbeing benefits of sex and travel
American Bar, London
The American Bar is London’s oldest and most storied cocktail bar, serving up a menu of innovative classics that changes every year.
It’s where drinks like the Moonwalk and the Hanky Panky first originated and there’s even a vintage Sazerac that will cost you whopping £5,000.
Be sure to arrive early to grab one of the four bar seats where you can have a view of the action. The bartenders will even let guests who ask nicely come behind the historic bar top to snap a photo.
No Scandinavian journey is complete without a visit to ICEBAR, the world’s first permanent ice bar, which is constructed with actual frozen snow.
The drinks are themed, with the current menu offering a take on the concept of “Bifrost” (as in Viking mythology), and each cocktail is served in a glass also made from ice.
Be sure to make a reservation in advance, especially if you want to indulge in the dinner and drinks package. It’s open throughout the year, although a summertime visit might be more to your liking to escape the heat.
And don’t worry: ICEBAR provides a coat and gloves to keep you warm during your visit.
Dead Rabbit, NYC
Twice named the World’s Best Bar, Dead Rabbit can be discovered on the southern tip of Manhattan.
It’s actually two bars, one a more casual Irish pub and the other a high-end cocktail bar that prides itself on its whiskey selection.
The downstairs Taproom is recommended for those who want to sip a few pints, while the upstairs Parlour should be enjoyed with a cocktail or two.
It’s a great way to see a part of New York City you might otherwise miss.
Room #9, Santiago
Venture inside Chile’s first speakeasy, Room #9, while exploring the South American country.
It’s located on the terrace of the Tinto Boutique Hotel, with a sparkling view of Santiago, and the bar is best enjoyed when you make a booking ahead of time.
The drinks are innovative and fun (and easy to drink for hours), and you’ll feel part of the local culture inside this intimate space.
Baxter Inn, Sydney
While exploring Sydney, one of Australia’s most vibrant cities, be sure to make a late-night stop by the Baxter Inn.
The dimly-lit bar, which is styled as an underground speakeasy, can be found just off a main road in the Central Business District and stays open until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
Baxter Inn doesn’t take bookings, so show up early to ensure one of the corner tables (especially since you’ve traveled so far to be here).
The menu is massive, focusing primarily on whiskey and those who covet a glass of Glenfiddich 12-year-old or a rare Japanese whiskey will be right at home.
It’s the sort of place you can post up for hours – and it’s recommended that you do.
Drinking in an underwater bar is an extreme bucket list achievement for serious drinkers (or even casual drinkers) and travelers can sip a cocktail under the sea at Subsix in the Maldives.
It’s also a restaurant, but you’re here for the drinks, as well as the Underwater Glow Party, which takes place Wednesday and Saturday nights after 9 p.m.
Try one of the menu’s original cocktails, which include a selection of alcohol-free versions for those choosing not to imbibe.
Check out these 3 solo trips for a taste of adventure:
Challenge yourself in Chile
From the white-water rapids of Petrohue River to the vast starry skies of the Atacama Desert, this endlessly diverse country is unmissable.
Journey to the heart of Japan
Bathe in warm mountain springs, sea-kayak around a watery shrine and feast on the most exquisite local cuisine.
Step into snowy Sweden
Hike through an icy landscape by twilight, journey into Lapland on a snowmobile safari and chase the Northern Lights as they ebb through the sky.