Top 10 bars in the world

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A Bond-style martini in London or subzero vodka cocktails in Stockholm – this guide to the top 10 bars in the world will help you choose the right hotel and raise a toast to your travels.

King Cole Bar, New York

History seeps through the genteel King Cole Bar, where Monroe, Dali and other merry old souls sipped cocktails at the carved oak bar. An eye-catching mural of Old King Cole dominates the sumptuous setting. Try Fernand Petiot’s 1934 red snapper, a spicier version of the bloody Mary he created in Paris.

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Sky Bar, Bangkok

From its giddy perch on the State Tower’s 63rd floor, the open-air Sky Bar seems to float above Bangkok’s sea of lights. The spacey, color-changing bar is a striking place for a cocktail and a knockout view of the city illuminated.

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Hemingway Bar, Paris

Ernest Hemingway made history when he gallantly ordered a martini here during the liberation of Paris in 1944. With its rich wood panelling, leather armchairs and literary tradition, the Hemingway Bar is a fine spot to nurse a single malt.

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New York Bar, Tokyo

Tokyo’s glittering skyline stretches out before you from Park Hyatt hotel’s 52nd-floor, glass-walled New York Bar, the backdrop for the movie Lost in Translation. Live jazz singers croon in sophisticated wood-panelled surroundings.

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Dukes Hotel, London

It takes practice to not spill the brim-full martinis theatrically served at your table at this venerable Mayfair bar that was once the haunt of Ian Fleming. Its potent martinis inspired Bond’s classic line “shaken, not stirred”.

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Bar Marmont, Hollywood

For that celebrity feeling, dress to impress the doormen at Bar Marmont on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. Stars like Johnny Depp hang out in the softly lit lounge for decadent cocktails under a butterfly-clad ceiling.

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Kosybar Marrakech

Bag a front-row seat at Kosybar for a sundowner as storks swoop down to the ramparts and Koutoubia’s minaret begins to twinkle. Downstairs, you can sip Moroccan wine by the fireside and catch great jazz and blues singers at the weekend. 

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De Witte Aap, Rotterdam

Bohemians, creatives, businessmen – all Rotterdamers love De Witte Aap (the white monkey). Great for people-watching on the terrace by day, by night the bar heaves with partygoers who squeeze in for good beer and first-rate DJs. 

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Absolut Ice Bar, Stockholm

Expect a frosty welcome at Stockholm’s Absolut Ice Bar. With a year-round temperature of -5°C, this is the world’s first bar sculpted entirely from ice. The famous vodka cocktails are served in ice glasses in Narnia-like surroundings. 

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Rio Scenarium, Rio de Janeiro

An old curiosity shop of a bar, Rio Scenarium brims with antiques from marionettes to bicycles. Rio’s best samba bands fill this revamped warehouse with infectious rhythms. 

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