In this follow up to Best Pubs and Bars of the World we continue to explore additional hidden speakeasys, converted pubs, and happening bars. The authors have included additional links for more information on these speakeasys and pubs.
Speakeasys and Pubs in Dubai: Barasti
By Sharon Cassidy from My Free Range Family
There is no beach and bar atmosphere quite like Barasti Bar in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. It has stood the test of time and it is a guaranteed good day or night out, year after year. In the Dubai Marina, Barasti opens at 11am. It is also easy to get to. And it’s free to enter unless there is an event on and space is not an issue.
Divided into two levels, you’ll find two uniquely different scenes and vibes. If you are looking for a live band, pool and a more laid back atmosphere, then keep to the upper bars. Here you’ll find plenty of space to find a seat. You can also grab a bite to eat. In addition, be sure to try a local shisha.
For those looking for a beach view and sand between their toes, then definitely head to the lower bars. This is where people come to be seen. So, get your finest beach gear on and dance into the early hours. From time to time, you might even find a concert or well-known DJ graces the stage.
Once a favourite intimate setting for sundowners Saturday nights with expat locals, it is now a thriving hot spot. But no longer is it a secret spot reserved only for Dubai residents. Barasti is now well known among visitors seeking a taste of Dubai’s infamous pool party and beach scene. And with each season and renovation it just gets bigger and better.
Speakeasies in Kuala Lumpur
By Victoria Heinz from Get Your Guide Travel
Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic city to visit with lots to offer. If you’re looking for a unique nightlife experience this is definitely the place to go. Kuala Lumpur is home to endless secret speakeasies and hidden bars which have become a favourite among locals and tourists. You can find them all over the city and going to at least one is highly recommended. While these speakeasies can be very different they all have one thing in common. They’re not advertised as bars but rather are hidden behind storefronts or unmarked doors.
To find one of Kuala Lumpur’s hidden bars you need to know where they are before you go. For example, PS150 which is one of the most famous hidden bars in Kuala Lumpur is hidden behind a toystore and you need to ask the workers to be let into the bar. Then there is Botak Liquor which has a secret entrance in a restaurant. It might feel awkward to walk into a restaurant and look for a secret door but that’s the way you’re supposed to find it. Most of Kuala Lumpur’s hidden bars serve delicious and carefully crafted cocktails and while they can be pricey they’re 100% worth seeing!
Pubs in London: Freemasons Arms
By Clotilde Passalacqua from A Princess Travelling with Twins
In any London itinerary a visit to Hampstead should not be missed, both to immerse yourself in the incredible atmosphere of a village of yesteryear transplanted into a 21st century metropolis, and for a stroll through one of the inviting green lungs of the city like Hampstead Heath.
Then nothing’s better after a day of exploration than being able to sit in a completely renovated space with modern design to enhance the beautiful architectural elements of the building, like the enchanting former conservatories which now house one of the dining rooms? This is the Freemason Arms, a pub located right off Hampstead Heath not far from the characteristic ponds.
They offer British food with Mediterranean influence and it is perfect in summer with a large informal garden at the back and a patio at the front, but also welcoming in winter with comfortable sofas and armchairs in front of lit (albeit electric) fireplaces You can come simply for a drink, but also for a Sunday roast or a pleasant dinner, alone, with friends, or with children who will be warmly welcomed and thanks to the spacious and certainly not silent environment they will not make you feel uncomfortable if not yet able to rely on their inside voices.
Don’t forget to visit London in the fall for beautiful foliage, pumpkins, and the Restaurant Festival.
Speakeasys and Pubs in Dublin: The Church
By Pam from the Directionally Challenged Traveller
One of the most unique bars in the world is the Church, located in the heart of Dublin. Built at the start of the 18th century, it was originally St. Mary’s Church of Ireland. The Church is home to an organ built by Renatus Harris, a famous organ maker, a breathtaking stained glass window, and delicious food!
Over the next hundred and fifty years, St. Mary’s served the Dublin community. Arthur Guinness (founder of Guinness Brewery) married here in 1761. Authors Sean O’Casey and Jonathan Swift both attended services here. And John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, delivered his first sermon at St. Mary’s.
St. Mary’s closed in 1964 until 1997 when purchased by John Keating. In 2005, it reopened its doors as The Church Bar & Restaurant. It includes a cafe, a night club, a barbeque terrace, and a stage for live musical performances. The combination of modern day amenities and history intricately intertwines at the Church. During your visit, you can take a self-guided tour of the building which includes the organ, the burial crypts, and some of the original architecture.
Once you’ve taken in the history, it’s time to enjoy the food! Whether it’s their famous three cheese toastie or mouthwatering chicken burger, you’ll find something to love! If you’re visiting Dublin, be sure to make a stop at The Church for a unique dining experience.
Speakeasys and Pubs in Cuba: Bodeguita del Medio
By Pubali and Indranil from Paradise Catchers
If you like to explore different pubs and bars around the world, put Bodeguita del Medio on your list. Located in Havana, the capital city of Cuba, this bar claims to be the birthplace of mojito. So, include an evening at Boedguita on your Cuba itinerary to check off a bucket list item.
Although you can now find La Bodeguita del Medio in some other countries around the world, one cannot beat the feeling of visiting the original. Eminent personalities like Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, among others have patronized this classic bar in Havana.
High on popularity index, Bodeguita gets pretty crowded. Although cramped inside, the bar’s atmosphere has a happy vibe. Walk in to the bar, buy a drink of your choice and sway to the cheerful live music. Although you can choose from different cocktails and spirits, you would want to try their mojito since they claim to have created it. You may come across cheaper and better mojito in other places of Cuba, but give Bodeguita in Havana a try for its iconic stature.
Another cool thing you can do at Bodeguita del Medio is to leave your impression at the bar, literally. Signatures of visitors from around the world, collected over years fill the walls of the bar. Remember to carry a marker and scribble your signature to those walls of fame.
Speakeasys and Pubs in Hungary: Szimpla Kert (Simple Garden)
By Tristan Sassenberg
The “simple garden”, which translates as “Szimpla Kert”, is located in the Hungarian capital and is an absolute must on your Budapest trip. This first ruin bar of Budapest opened in 2002 in an old building that once served as a factory and apartment. Not for nothing, Lonely Planet chose this extraordinary bar of the 7th district (Kazinczy u 14) as one of the top 3 bars in the world!
An iconic spot
Szimpla Kert is an iconic nightlife spot! You step into a run down building with a vacant backyard. The walls of the former rooms are still there, so you can meander through the different areas. You can expect a mess of garden, graffiti and furnishings that could come from the bulky waste. There’s something to discover in every nook and cranny: nostalgic lamps, tricycles, candles, dolls, and a green oasis in the middle. The result is a unique, casual and extremely charming atmosphere!
The Ruin Bar is a popular meeting place to have a drink and shish in a relaxed atmosphere. From 11 pm, the courtyard transforms into a dance floor with live music. They offer more than 400 drinks in nine different bars on the three floors. Be sure to try Budapest’s Unicum liquor, even if it literally makes you blind – cheers!
A visit to Szimpla Kert is also worthwhile during the day. Every Sunday, for example, a farmers’ market with local specialties is held between 9 am and 2 pm. Also have brunch in the ruin bar. They often show old movie classics on the screen in the courtyard, making it a great place to sit down with a drink. As you can see you should always do some research before traveling to a new country. So make sure to read some Hungary travel blogs before your next trip to this amazing country.
Speakeasys and Pubs in Dublin: The Temple Bar
By Bradley from Dream Big, Travel Far
Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland is probably the most famous bar in the city, if not the country. It is nestled in the busy neighborhood of Temple Bar, where you can find a line-up of other local pubs, indie restaurants and charming boutiques. It has always been a popular area, but a government refurbishment in 1991 made the destination skyrocket.
The red building has a quintessential Irish charm to it, while the interior is buzzing with pendant lamps, a massive whiskey display, and a quaint statue of James Joyce.
The bar itself first opened in 1840 and offers more than 450 different whiskies, which is the largest collection you can find in all of Ireland. Don’t forget to try their signature Original Blend!
Better yet, this bar doesn’t just have some of the best pints of Guinness, you can even enjoy some oysters. What better way to spend a nice afternoon, right?
With incredible live music playing traditional music like ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ and a warm atmosphere, it’s no wonder that this place is always busy.
Popular icons like Pink and Ed Sheeran have even stopped by for a drink! After you enjoy a pint in Temple Bar, make sure to explore Dublin and all of its charms. In fact, try asking some of the locals to recommend a lesser-known spot for you.
Speakeasys and Pubs in Queensland Australia: Scenic Rim Brewery
By Natalie & Steve of Curious Campers
Mount Alford is one hour west of the Gold Coast and Brisbane in Australia. It is in the heart of the Scenic Rim, a landscape of dramatic volcanic peaks, ancient rainforests and rich farmland. Like many Australian country towns, there’s not a lot in Mount Alford. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great beer.
What makes the Scenic Rim Brewery so special is that when you drop in for a drink, you’re not just getting a beer, you are getting a taste of the local community. The beers at the Scenic Rim Brewery honour the local people and places that give the town and region its character.
The Fat Man Maroon Ale has a bitter aftertaste in honour of the highs and lows of the sporting rivalry between Queensland and neighbouring New South Wales. Try a Digga’s Pale Ale or The Beauy and Blue Ale which incorporates the flavour of the locally grown blue pumpkins. An afternoon sampling the local brews will give you a great taste of all that is special about life in country Queensland.
The Scenic Rim Brewery is a family owned business. In addition to making great beers, they celebrate their Dutch heritage in their food menu. Between drinks, try traditional Bitterballen or a bratwurst hotdog. If you want to combine your drinks with some sightseeing, check out Tamborine Mountain and stay for a few nights at Lake Moogerah.
Speakeasys and Pubs in Munich: Hofbräuhaus
By Diana at The Globetrotting Detective
Hofbräuhaus Munich, also known as Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, is one of the most famous and popular pubs in Germany and the oldest beer hall of the Bavarian capital, Munich.
The Duke of Bavaria, William V founded Hofbräuhaus in 1589. But only since 1828, it is accessible for the general public.
After World War II, Hofbräuhaus became one of Munich’s top tourist attractions and the symbol of Munich’s hospitality.
It is located in the heart of Munich. The hall of Hofbräuhaus looks like a big colorful ballroom. Its ceiling features incredibly beautiful baroque style frescoes. And you sit with total strangers in rows of long tables.
It is open from 9 a.m. to midnight. Thus, you can start your first beer early morning.
Order craft beer in a Maß (standard 1 L mug). The most famous beers in Hofbräuhaus are Helles (traditional Germany pale lager beer), Dunkles (German dark lager beer) and Weißbier (Wheat beer).
With beer, you can have such delicious snacks such as Brezn (soft pretzel) with Obatzda (cheese dip) or big meals such Bratwurst (fried sausage) with sauerkraut or Surhaxe which is pickled knuckle of pork served with sauerkraut and horseradish.
The most awesome thing about this traditional pub is that they play Bavarian folk music all day. If you want to enjoy Hofbräuhaus to the fullest, try to learn the famous Hofbräuhaus song, „In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus, eine, zwei, g’suffa!” by Wilhelm Wiga Gabriel.
Last but not least, make sure that for every drink, you say a Prost, which means cheers in German.
Speakeasys in Captiva FL: The Bubble Room
By Blake Truck from Style island
Nestled quietly within Captiva, Florida, the Bubble Room is anything but quiet. Unlike anything you have, or will likely ever see again, this Florida bar and restaurant is famous for its quirky theme. A cross between a Christmas shop, bar, and a kitschy antique store, it is part Willy Wonka, part holiday shop, and part something out of a horror movie.
This local spot has been a Captiva mainstay since 1979, known for its over the top decorations and large array of tchotchkes and trinkets. But it’s also a popular attraction among tourists visiting the island. Besides all the oddities, and trinkets to peruse and take in, the Bubble Room features a lit up train that continuously runs on a track around the perimeter of the bar. Upstairs is the restaurant part where you can sit and order food. But a drink at the bar surrounded by all the strangeness is way more fun and interesting.
I hope you enjoyed learning about these favorite speakeasys and pubs from around the world. This is only a small sampling of the speakeasys, pubs, and bars out there. I hope this inspired you to seek out additional speakeasys on your own. It has inspired me to check out local breweries in Florida which I hope to post on soon.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.