The beach bar may be the best idea humankind has ever had. After all, what’s the point of even having civilization if we can’t have beach vacations? And what’s the point of beach vacations if we can’t spend our time on those beaches drinking?
Beach drinking doesn’t need to be complicated to be wonderful: as long as there are waves, sand, and booze, you’re all set. You could have a Solo cup filled with the foulest grog imaginable while sitting on a piece of rotting driftwood, and you’d still be having a better time than virtually every other non-beach-bar-goer in the world at that specific moment.
But some bars have taken this perfect idea and they’ve made it even better. They’ve found ways to make it more scenic and memorable, by, say, placing the bar on a cliff overlooking spectacular sunsets, or by developing world famous cocktails, or by making it so you have to get to them by boat, or by providing you with crazy good local music.
These are the bars that made this list; establishments that are not only beach bars — and let’s be honest, being a beach bar is enough — but those that have added an extra novelty or element that puts them above the rest. This doesn’t mean they can’t be dives (a few of these bars are literally made out of driftwood and look like they could be tipped by a strong wind), but it does mean they have to have that special X-factor.
Our list is subjective, but all of these beach bars are famous or infamous, and are well-reviewed. Maybe it’s because of the views, maybe it’s because of the cocktails, or maybe it’s because of the service, but all of these bars stand above the rest.
See if there are any you want to add to your bucket list.
1. Badeschiff, Berlin, Germany
Yes, the first bar on our list is in Berlin, a city that is notably not on the seaside. But Berliners have made this little strip of the Spree River into a beach, complete with sand, beach chairs, an open-air bar, and a pool that actually floats in the river. In the winter it remains open as a “wellness retreat,” with the pool heated, and with two saunas. Oh, and they have table tennis. Well done, Berlin.
2. Rock Bar, Bali, Indonesia
The Ayana Resort and Spa decided that when they built their beach bar, they’d build it on the jagged rocks overlooking Jimbaran Bay. They keep the lights low, so the place is probably most popular for watching the unparalleled sunsets and then stargazing when it gets dark. While the main attraction is the view, the drinks — particularly the martinis — are all highly regarded as well. It ranks sixth on CNN’s list (and made it onto Fodor’s as well) but CNNGo also named it the best hotel bar, period, in the world.
3. Hula Hula Beach Bar, Hvar, Croatia
The trendy, culture-rich island of Hvar in Croatia’s neck of the Adriatic Sea is a relatively chill beach bar by day, but once the sun sets, it turns into a pretty killer dance club. The bar is known for piña coladas and margaritas and pitchers full of Caipiroska, and in terms of food, it’s adjacent to a Bubba Gump bistro. It’s been visited by Jay-Z and Beyoncé, but while there is the occasional superstar sighting, it’s mostly a pretty young, international, non-celebrity crowd.
4. Lava Lava Bar, Big Island, Hawaii
The Lava Lava Beach Club overlooks the Big Island’s Anaeho'omalu Bay. It’s regularly got live music, and it’s known for having a solid cocktail menu. While the prices are a little bit up there, the drinks are worth it — they’re poured strong. One of their signature cocktails is called a Gilligan’s Girl, made with ginger, of course, and is served in a coconut cup. It’s got a great beer and wine menu as well.
5. Ponta Dos Ganchos, Santa Catarina, Brazil
The remote and expensive Ponta Dos Ganchos sits on a private peninsula on Brazil’s Santa Catarina coast. It’s got private pools, hammocks, saunas, and it sits just beyond a rainforest, so naturally it’s fairly exclusive — it’s known as the watering hole for both the local elite and international celebrities — but its views and its cocktails are to die for. Probably the best drinks available at the Ponta Dos Ganchos are the ones made of cachaça, Brazil’s signature sugarcane liquor.
6. Z-Plage, Cannes, France
Most of the sites putting Z-Plage in Cannes near the top of their lists mentioned that the highlight of this particular bar wasn’t necessarily the food, the drinks or the scenic views, but the people-watching. The types of people rolling through Z-Plage are often Europe’s rich, beautiful, and famous, whether that means supermodel trophy wives, European playboys, or billionaires. It is a French restaurant in Cannes, though, so of course the food and drinks are delicious as well.
Jet off to more of the world's most fabulous beach bars.
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