If you’re looking for a lively experience that feels like it is straight out of your imagination, there is a menagerie of eccentric watering holes around the world. From creative libations to dreamy decor, these themed bars and restaurants are eye-opening adventures to add to your travel itinerary. Grabbing a drink or meal turns into a magical journey and captivating story to tell your friends and family.
Beverages Below Zero
You don’t have to travel to Antarctica to enjoy your favorite cocktails in a frozen wonderland. Ice bars are magical rooms found across the globe and set to a temperature below freezing. Upon entry, you walk into another world from your dreams. While you order a cocktail, you gaze at the intricately hand-carved ice sculptures and structures. You find yourself pulling up an ice stool to a bar made of solid ice and drinking from an ice glass. Some of the most notable ice bars are located in Rome, Stockholm, Las Vegas, Milan (pictured above) and Finland. The best part is that most of the bars provide jackets or thermal ponchos so you can stay warm without bringing your own gear.
Ninja Akasaka in Tokyo
Journey through cavernous tunnels into an underground ninja lair complete with water features like waterfalls. The bar is designed like an Edo-period ninja village and stuns with thrilling tableside ninja shows. The atmosphere is dark with subtle hints of light that illuminate the rock walls, wooden beams, and metal doors. The food and beverages are also unique, with special effects like smoke and fire.
Safe House in Chicago
If you love spy movies, this is the ultimate bar for you. You either enter with the right password or complete a mission with the bar’s operative to verify that you aren’t a double agent. The bar has a dark and industrial style with pops of light. There is a lit map of the world behind the bar and clocks showing the times around the world. While you sip on drinks or enjoy the cuisine, you stumble upon real belongings of former spies and items to engage with. Follow a scavenger hunt, witness magic, and even bring your kids along for the ride during the day.
Fun and Games
Ballie Ballerson in London
Find your inner child at this bar that combines drinking with diving into massive ball pits. The Ballie Ballerson bar is characterized by neon lights, a spinning roulette wheel for risk takers to accept dares or win a free drink, disco, R&B, and house music, and millions of ball pit balls. The balls are sanitized weekly with a special machine and hand sanitizer is kept throughout the building. You will love the whimsical drink menu featuring ingredients like Capri-Sun, Skittles, and bubblegum.
Carousel Bar and Lounge in New Orleans
Try not to get too dizzy at this bar in the Big Easy that rotates every 15 minutes. The bar is part of Hotel Monteleone and has a detailed and ornate carved marquee top featuring mirrors and vanity lights. The round bar has chairs set in front of it with artistic images of animals on the seat backs. The Carousel Bar opened in 1949 and has been revolving and thriving ever since. This is a hot spot for live jazz music and the Vieux Carré, a renowned New Orleans cocktail.
Alux Caverna Lounge in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Alux Caverna has a cozy atmosphere for dining underground in a cave amidst stalactites and stalagmites. With nooks lit up by neon lights and chandeliers overhead, there are touches of elegance added to the rocky room that lets you escape the real world above. The lounge has a varied menu with an emphasis on seafood.
Beetle House Bar in New York City
Step into your nightmares in this goth-themed bar named after the notorious movie that revolves around the afterlife and hauntings. Beetle House features live shows performed by singers, psychics, magicians, sword swallowers, and more. Lovers of all things spooky have a memorable experience complete with burgers stabbed by souvenir scissors and creative drinks like a fish bowl filled with Swedish Fish gummies.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Flying Fishbone Restaurant in Savaneta, Aruba
One of the most romantic and serene restaurants you could visit is Flying Fishbone in Aruba. Diners enter past indoor seating and a bar inside of a room with tree trunks growing through the roof and neon lights casting an intimate glow. Continuing through the restaurant, you’ll discover a breathtaking view. Outside, you dine in the sand or with your feet completely submerged in the ocean while enjoying calming reggae music. Flying Fishbone offers tables in the water for barefoot diners to watch marine life cruise by and witness a stunning sunset. Flying Fishbone is a hot spot for honeymooners and offers celebratory desserts.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant on Conrad Rangali Island in the Maldives
Journey over 16 feet underwater to Ithaa for food and drinks while surrounded by sharks, fish, coral, and other forms of marine life. The restaurant has a minimalist design with eye-catching and dynamic 360-degree views of what exists beneath the sea. The exquisite small-plated meals pair well with the restaurant’s wines and cocktails.