Top 10 classic bars to try before you die
Words by Theodora Sutcliffe
Want to follow in the stagger of Ernest Hemingway? Sample cocktails in the places where they were invented? Drink in a little liquid history? Or simply wow your friends? We've put together a list of 10 classic bars to try before you die – a starting point for your own bar bucket list.
10: THE LONG BAR
Disputed though its recipe is, the Singapore Sling is Asia's most famous cocktail and a pilgrimage to the classic hotel where it (or the Straits Sling?) was invented is a must. Crunch across the peanut shells and past the tourists to an iconic bar where pre-mixed pink gloop spurts from machines.
Celebrity guests: Noël Coward, Somerset Maugham, Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Hemingway
Drink: Singapore Sling
The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
9: OLD ABSINTHE HOUSE
Yes, there are better bars in New Orleans. No, so far as we know, there is not a better 200-year-old bar in New Orleans than this Bourbon Street icon, famous for absinthe, and home to the Absinthe Frappé. Drinks may disappoint, but architecture, charisma and history make it a must-visit.
Celebrity guests: PT Barnum, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Franklin Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli
Drink: Absinthe Frappé
240 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, United States
8: 21 CLUB
For all the trend for fake speakeasies, New York's 21 Club is one of few that have outlasted Prohibition, although the famous concealed cellar and mechanical bar have been relegated to history. A mecca for slebs since time immemorial, it still attracts the glitterati of politics, literature and film.
Celebrity guests: Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Robert de Niro, Hillary Clinton, Bruce Willis, Whoopi Goldberg
Drink: Perfect Manhattans (just because)
21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019, United States
7: PEGU CLUB
One of a vanishingly small number of colonial clubs still in existence, home of the Pegu Club cocktail and inspiration for New York's Pegu Club, the original Pegu Club, in Yangon, Myanmar (AKA Rangoon, Burma), decays in splendid, cobwebbed style. Get there before some wiseguy buys the joint.
Celebrity guests: Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, Paul Theroux
Drink: Bottled water, after braving the broken stairs
Pyay Road, Yangon, Myanmar
6: EL FLORIDITA
Cradle of the Daiquiri and workspace of Constante Ribalaigua Vert, probably the greatest of Cuba's cantineros, Havana's El Floridita is a must-visit for any fan of rum, and any Hemingway-phile. Founded as La Piña del Plata, this historic bar is undoubtedly the home of the Papa Doble, and a focal point of any visit to Havana.
Celebrity guests: Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Tennessee Williams, Spencer Tracy, Giorgio Armani, Kate Moss
Drink: Daiquiri No.1
Obispo No. 557 esq. a Monserrate, Havana 10100, Cuba
Torn between Mai-Kai, Trader Vic's London or AN Other revamped Beachcomber? Don't be. Tiki-Ti, on Sunset Boulevard, founded by Beachcomber veteran Ray Buhen in 1961, is THE Tiki pilgrimage point par excellence. Still family-owned, this is a quirky, classic Tiki bar of the type that time forgot.
Celebrity guests: Marlon Brando, Nicolas Cage
Drink: Uga Booga
4427 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles California 90027, USA
4: KING COLE BAR
No matter where you stand on the vexed question of the Bloody Mary (or Red Snapper), New York's St. Regi Hotel was key to its development - and the spot where Fernand Petiot plied his trade is still very much in operation, overlooked by the legendary mural of Old King Cole which has endured a myriad renovations.
Drink: Red Snapper
The St. Regis New York, 2 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022, United States
3: HARRY'S NEW YORK BAR
First founded by celebrity jockey Ted Sloan, since bartending icon Harry McElhone acquired this little Paris joint in 1923 it has grown from strength to strength - and still remains family-owned. Fernand Petiot cut his teeth here, the White Lady was likely invented here and it remains a barfly mecca.
Celebrity guests: F Scott Fitzgerald, George Gershwin, Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Humphrey Bogart, Clint Eastwood
Drink: White Lady
5 Rue Daunou, 75002 Paris, France
2: HARRY'S BAR
There aren't many venues that are home to an iconic dish and an iconic cocktail - but this discreet little Venetian place is one of them. Founder Giuseppe Cipriani opened the bar in 1934 thanks to a loan repayment from one Harry Pickering and went on to create both the Carpaccio and the Bellini.
Celebrity guests: Guglielmo Marconi, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Woody Allen, Nicole Kidman
Calle Vallaresso 1323, Venice, Italy
1: AMERICAN BAR AT THE SAVOY
Serving classy cocktails to classy folk since 1898, the Savoy's American Bar is one of few hotel bars that seems to survive ambitious refurbs without losing its style or soul. Name-maker for generations of outstanding bartenders - from Craddock to Dorelli and beyond - its timeless elegance endures.
Celebrity guests: Claude Monet, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Richard Burton, Richard Harris
Drink: Hanky Panky
The Savoy, Strand, London, England, WC2R 0EU