If you believe a good bar is all about an excellent choice of beer and a friendly bartender, you're in vast majority. But if you're looking for a little more than that, there are a number of joints out there that escape easy definitions. They shock, break taboos, reject the rules of design, and depart from conventions. Have a look at some of the most extraordinary bars found throughout the world.
Clinic - Clarke Quay, Singapore
Clinic Bar. By ronaldwidha
Among the kaleidoscope of extravagant shops, restaurants and entertainment spots at Clarke Quay, you'll find Singapore's weirdest establishment. The Clinic is a hospital themed bar and club, where attention to detail in decoration is truly admirable. Get seated in a wheelchair and sip your drink out of a drip bag, all in the gloomy atmosphere of syringes, pills, test tubes and surgery lamps. And if you've had too much and feel dizzy, the waitress-turned-nurse will certainly know what to do.
Mamut Pub - Brno, Czech Republic
The Pub. By rizio
At first glance, it looks like a regular bar, and frankly, it doesn't seem that the owners got to the heights of interior decoration. But wait a minute... Is there a beer tap on the table? I mean ... every table?
The Pub in Brno, Czech Republic, may not be a designer's dream, but it is certainly one of those experiences you remember long after the morning headache is gone. Build a strong team of any size, pour yourselves your own beers, and monitor how those guys at other tables are doing. The Pub takes the concept of drinking competition to a whole new level.
Absolut Icebar - Stockholm, Sweden
Absolut Icebar. By Lina Ardila
What do you do when it's freezing cold and everything is completely ice-bound? You get a drink of course! And the owners of Absolute Icebar in Stockholm, Sweden, certainly know that dependence. Here, the temperature is never higher than -5°C and the entire interior, including chairs and glasses, is made from pure ice. On entering you get wrapped up in a fur lined outfit and off you go into the abyss of cool.
Of course, the Swedish establishment has numerous followers, and ice bars can be found in entertainment hubs such as London, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Paris and Seoul. Whichever you choose, you're sure to get the coolest beer you've ever had before.
Dick's Last Resort- San Diego, USA
Dick's Last Resort. By DMF Photography
If you're constantly in search of the wacky and wild, you'll just love San Diego's most off-beat bar, where folks typically come before and after all the games. Famous for its BBQ, obnoxious wait staff and rowdy atmosphere, Dick's Last Resort is a place for those who like to take life with a pinch of salt.
If you're in on the joke, the idea of waiters throwing napkins at you and serving you with all sorts of verbal abuse will definitely appeal to you. You'll even enjoy wearing a dunce cap with personalized insults.
Alux Lounge - Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Alux Lounge. By Bernsteins in Viroqua
Thousands of years to give the interior an interesting shape, some furnishing and lighting works, and there you go ... Mexico's most awesome lounge is ready! Ajux draws numerous tourists and locals alike with its extraordinary location. The club is set underground, in a large cave, and is complete with spiky stalactites and stalagmites that glitter with shades of green, blue, violet, and pink. Prices are rather on the expensive side, but if you're looking for an unusual bar experience - a little spooky and a little magical, head to Alux next time you are in Playa del Carmen.
Zetor - Helsinki, Finland
Zetor Bar. By mikestuartwood
You may have been inside a tractor cab while on your countryside vacation. You may well have had a shot of home-made booze there. But you certainly have never done those two things inside a bar. And it doesn't seem likely that you can do it in a country as sophisticated as Finland. Well, you can.
Right in the heart of Helsinki, there's a crude barn-looking locale, with old Zetor tractors turned into tables and the most outdated country kitsch décor you can imagine. Some typical Finnish food, plenty of rye bread to go around, a little bit of culture shock and a huge amounts of fun await you in the least sophisticated place in the whole of Finland.
Baobab Tree Bar - Modjadjiskloof, South Africa
Baobab Tree Bar and Wine Cellar. By hannes.steyn
Fancy a drink inside a baobab? It only takes a trip to South Africa's Limpopo province and a stroke of luck to get in. Visited by 7,000 people every year, this surreal watering hole can house only around 25 patrons at a time (although the owners claim to have squeezed in more that 50 at one occasion).
The Baobab feels like a regular bar, with draught beer, stools, and a dartboard, but the fact that, according to scientists, it is about 6.000 years old, makes it by far the most exhilarating place to get a beer... if you don't mind the ants. Besides, the Baobab is a sacred tree in African culture, so lend your ear to amazing myths and legends about its extraordinary qualities.
Christon Cafe - Tokyo, Japan
Christon Cafe. By spof
What an incredibly weird place to have a drink! Would you dare, first of all? Christon Cafe is a Christian-themed restaurant and bar, with heavy touches of strictly Goth stylistics fitted into a chapel-like interior. Chandeliers, candles, red latex booths, coffin-shaped menus and other goth paraphernalia are mingled with stained glass windows, crucifixes, images of Mary and figurines of angels. Small Devil, Joan d'Arc, and God-hand-made humberger is what you may expect to find on the menu...
Some say it borders on blasphemy, others call it a rather harmless way of showing the light-hearted, Japanese attitude to Christianity. The idea has actually become so popular that Christon Cafe now has as many as 8 locations throughout Japan. Controversial? Inventive? You tell us!
Unsicht-Bar - Berlin, Germany
To cut it short, the Unsicht-Bar in Berlin is all about dining in the dark. Before entering the pitch-black dining room, where even mobile phones and lighters are prohibited, patrons choose their meals in the fully lit entrance hall. Then the waiters, who are all either visually handicapped or completely blind, lead them to their tables and assist whenever it's necessary.
However, the idea behind the enterprise is a lot more complex than just fun. What the creators wanted to prove is how much our vision takes over the remaining senses and how many significant details escape our attention. With the loss of vision, you'll soon discover the importance of gentle breezes, the intensity of smells, the depth of tastes, as well as the power of touch and conversation in building relations with others. It's incredible how eye-opening an experience something so dark can be.
H.R. Giger Bar - Chur, Switzerland
Skeleton Bar. By Daniel and Annie Watts
Giger Bar in Chur, Switzerland, has tourists flocking from far and wide just to have a cold on in the amazing skeletal structure modeled by the Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger. The interior is themed along the lines of Ridley Scott's Alien scenography, and you really do get the impression that a blood-thirsty extraterrestrial creature is lurking somewhere there and eager to get you. Admirable attention has been put to detail, producing a place that is a little creepy but hugely fascinating.