Most cocktail enthusiasts and avid drinkers know where to find good drinks. They can tell you that New York has some of the best cocktail dens in the U.S., that New Zealand has some of the best wines on the planet, that Germany is the place for beer, and Poland (not Russia) is the locale for vodka lovers. But no one would think to look for a great cocktail in a decommissioned aircraft carrier in the jungles of Costa Rica, or for the perfect Perfect Martini at a geothermal spa in Iceland. And yet, they certainly should be looking in those exact spots. If you’re perpetually on a quest for a great drink, here are seven unlikely destinations to travel to for unexpectedly delightful bars.
This airplane isn’t just any airplane; it’s the last survivor of a pair of planes constructed by the CIA to be used against the Sandinista Army in Nicaragua in the late eighties. After its sister was shot down, the CIA abandoned the surviving plane at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica. Purchased in the year 2000 for a measly $3,000, the plane was shipped piece by piece (it was too big to fit on the local railroad) to the town of Quepos. After it was reassembled—off the main road where it looks as if it crash landed into a hill—the plane was converted to a bar and a restaurant that now serves seafood, beer, cocktails and lots of rum.
Located in a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula, this geothermal spa is one of the most sought out destinations in the world. Not only are there spa amenities like mud masks, in-water messages, saunas and geothermal waterfalls, there’s also a full restaurant and bar on-site. In between soaks you can nosh and imbibe to your heart’s content on things like smoked haddock, birch and juniper cured arctic char and their Fríkí Tíkí cocktail, with Havana Club, Captain Morgan, amaretto, grape and apple cider. Thanks to a digitally linked wristband that charges costs directly to your room at the Silica hotel (a 10 minute walk), you don’t have to carry your wallet. Mud bath and a Martini? We’re there.
This Victorian-era public washroom was saved from destruction and renovated into a cocktail den in 2015. The beautiful subterranean lounge focuses on rotating selection of craft cocktails made with homemade liqueurs and syrups. Best of all, they’ve recently started producing their own, in-house brand of gin—talk about bathtub gin.
This bar is not only located in a laundromat, but it also still functions as one. Instead of just staring at your phone for half an hour while your whites are washing, you can sip on a frosty pint, a glass of wine or have a tasty snack (they also serve coffee and espresso drinks). If only we could pay one of the bartenders to fold all our laundry.
With gorgeous, panoramic views of the Adriatic sea, this Croatian bar is built on the edge of a coastal cliff. The Buža bar (which translates to “hole in the wall”) is a make-shift bar built at the base of the city’s protective stone walls upon jagged cliffs. Only open in the spring and summer, the Buža bar is a must-visit destination when visiting Dubrovnik. We can’t think of a better setting to relax with a cocktail in hand and watch the sun set over the sea than on the edge of a cliff.
Located in the quaint town of Hudson in upstate New York, this bookstore doubles as an ale house. After perusing books, you can cozy up with a glass of wine or a pint of a locally made microbrew. With live music, trivia nights and a bevy of books at your disposal, this is the perfect place to hunker down come winter.
This church-turned-high-brow-cocktail-lounge is the answer to all our prayers. Located in the former St. Mary’s Church in downtown Dublin ( the building is over 320 years old), The Church opened as a massive restaurant, cafe and mixology mecca in 2005 after a seven year renovation. With a massive catalogue of whiskies, live music and events, this bar has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Dublin. One thing’s for sure, if more churches served the heavenly golden dram (or drinks in general), you’d find us at mass every Sunday.