Best Bars

Icon Klub in Luang Prabang Serves up a Tasty Cocktails

Icon Klub in Luang Prabang is the literal definition of a hidden gem – a place to sip drinks, swap stories, and generally contemplate the good time life. ‘Klub’ has a great reputation and has picked up fans from nearly every corner of the globe since its opening in 2009. Obscured down a side street in this charming UNESCO city, the romantic bar offers some of the region’s most delicious and authentic cocktails.

The proprietor has certainly added her own personality into the bar, helping attract an eclectic international crowd through the doors. Once there, they trade tales about travel, discuss life, listen to good music (there’s always a guitar on hand for those that know how to strum), and of course, take down tipples. There is plenty of cocktail drinking at Icon Klub, as the owner doubles as head bartender, and she knocks out great versions of absinthe martinis, bloody Mary and mojitos. She does this all while presiding over the crowd which can range from bordering on boisterous some nights to chilled out and quiet when there is a poetry reading.

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Seasalt Restaurant with Beach Bar at Alila Seminyak

Seasalt has made waves with a new refined dinner menu and a sustainable cocktail concept. Diving into the next wave of mixed drinks – sustainable, zero-waste cocktails – Seasalt has found it can save time, money and resources, while also contributing to saving the planet from added waste. For a truly sustainable sip, Seasalt will also be implementing straws made from sugarcane fibre waste.

The restaurant is one of the first in Indonesia to implement the sustainable, zero-waste concept behind the bar, reusing, fermenting, recycling and upcycling ingredients that would otherwise be discarded as trash. Think leftover fruit juices, fruit rinds and fruit seeds saved from the scrap heap and instead strutting their stuff in exciting ocean-inspired craft cocktail creations. Award-winning mixologist duo of Ayip Dzuhri (Indonesia’s Bartender of the Year 2015) and Daniel Gerves (Alila Seminyak’s Beverage Manager and Captain Morgan Cocktail finalist in 2017), create concoctions such as ‘La Mer’ featuring oyster-infused vermouth.

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Black Cat in Canggu

Located on the infamous Canggu shortcut is a speakeasy bar hidden in plain sight. This haunt actually has a secret door that passers-by won’t know if they are unaware of its existence. Next to the Pretty Poison is the Black Cat Mini Mart, a run-of-the-mill mini mart that looks just like every other mini mart you can find in Bali. On venturing inside you’ll find all the things you can find in any other mini mart, including a fridge, with a ‘broken’ sign written on a piece of paper stuck onto it.

To those unaware, they’ll just think it’s a broken fridge, but unbeknownst to them, behind the fridge is a hip speakeasy bar! Set with a moody lighting Black Cat serves up cheap drinks, cool music and a pool table, the coolest speakeasy popular amongst the millennial crowd.

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Iconic & Historic Long Bar Returns Fully Restored

The historic Long Bar returns fully restored and continues its proud tradition as the Home of the Singapore Sling. The famous counter shines like new amidst decor that marries architecture and contemporary plantation-inspired motifs. Long Bar was located at Cad’s Alley in the early 1900s. . At a time when improved rail and road systems brought rubber and palm oil plantation owners over to Singapore from Malaya every weekend, it was known as the ‘Rendezvous of Planters’.

The Singapore Sling, widely regarded as the national drink, was first created in 1915 by Raffles bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Primarily a gin-based cocktail, the Singapore Sling also contains pineapple juice, lime juice, curaçao and Bénédictine. Giving it the pretty pink hue are grenadine and cherry liqueur. Bartender Ngiam deliberately chose to give the cocktail this rosy colour.

The Singapore Sling has however been thrust into modern day and updated. The iconic cocktail that was invented at the hotel in the early 1900s has been subject to ingredients such as a new gin, a new cherry liqueur and even a grenadine syrup that was custom made for the hotel. The past (version of) the Singapore Sling was apparently a bit juicy and sweet, with cocktail aficionados requesting something a little different.

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Bar Hopping from Soho to Lan Kwai Fong

Whether it’s a secret speakeasy, craft beer bar, live music or late-night club, Hong Kong has it all! Conveniently, you can find most of them within easy reach of each other around the infamous Soho and Lan Kwai Fong areas of Hong Kong Island.

Start your evening off in one of the many hip hangouts that are becoming ever popular in the city. Just off Soho on Aberdeen Street “The Old Man” pays homage to Ernest Hemmingway and is a great spot for some punchy cocktails that will liven up the night. Moving up the road there are numerous small narrow bars that line Staunton Street, all with their unique twist on craft beers, cocktails or classic wine bars. We’d recommend a quick stop off in Brooklyn Bar, with its 90s classic indie music, great friendly service and the perfect bench to people watch from.

Heading down the popular Hong Kong Escalator, a highlight in almost every tour guide, do as the locals do and go down and right onto Hollywood Road leading to Wyndham Street. With plenty of bars to choose from it’s easy to hop in and out along this road. Last on the list is a place many locals affectionately term the “Fiery Steps of Hell”, steep steps that will take you into one of the craziest, busiest party streets in Hong Kong!

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Hidden Bar Hopping in Penang & Kuala Lumpur

Over the past few years there’s been a surge in the speakeasy bar scene, especially in Penang. Enjoy an evening uncovering a series of hidden bars that you’ll have to actively seek out before choosing your favourite tipple. Some bars hide nestled behind toy stores or vault doors, others are inspired by Chinese superstitions. These exclusive joints will spice up your night out with a real sense of adventure. Your sense of smell and taste are tested as mixologists create specialty cocktails infused with ingredients such as cumin, kaffir lime leaves, lemon bitters, coffee beans and other local ingredients to enhance your drink – there’s always something new to discover in Malaysia!

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