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From London to Hong Kong, Alice Lascelles leaves no stone unturned in her quest to find the best bars for a Champagne cocktail
Park Hyatt Tokyo, 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku; +81 3
Situated on the 52nd floor of one of Tokyo’s tallest buildings, this glossy, intimately lit lounge bar offers spectacular views of the city at night, along with live jazz and cocktails that incorporate Japanese ingredients, such as green tea and plum wine. Film buffs will recognise this as the place where Scarlett Johansson nursed her sorrows in Lost in Translation. Prices are equally A-list (and there’s a hefty service charge), but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and there are few headier places to enjoy a Champagne cocktail.
Sankosha Building B1F, 1-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku; +81 3 3535 8005;
Waistcoated bar staff lovingly craft superb classic cocktails, each served in its own unique antique cocktail glass, at this minuscule, subterranean speakeasy.
37 West 19th Street (between Fifth
and Sixth Avenues); +1 212 727 7741;
Take a journey back in time to the golden age of cocktails with a visit to this art-deco style bar, housed in Manhattan’s iconic Flatiron building (one of the first skyscrapers ever built). Featuring a reclaimed 1920s mahogany bar that was once leant on by the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Flatiron Lounge is home to some of America’s best bartending talent, who will whip you up Champagne cocktails, martini flights and Rat Pack favourites such as sidecars and Sazeracs. To take things up a gear, head downstairs where jazz makes way for contemporary beats that regularly have punters bouncing off the gold-leafed walls till 4am at weekends.
433 East 6th Street; +1 212 388 0882;
There are no reservations here, so it’s a case of queue up and squeeze into a dimly lit booth at this achingly hip drinking den, where cult cocktail making includes six twists on the Champagne cocktail.
‘With a reclaimed mahogany bar once leant on by Frank Sinatra, the Flatiron Lounge is home to some of America’s best bartending talent’
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury
Road, Kowloon; +852 2315 3188;
A gleaming mix of perspex, white upholstery and glowing tabletops, this playfully futuristic bar and restaurant at the Peninsula hotel offers the ultimate escapist night out. It is a tad touristy, but that’s unlikely to bother you as you admire the Philippe Starck interior. The cocktail list is extensive, but Champagne is the drink of choice for the high-rolling crowd, so equip yourself with a bottle of something special and settle down by one of the huge windows to watch Hong Kong’s nightlife across the harbour.
38 Staunton Street, Soho; +852 2857 2586
Head off the beaten track for an evening with Hong Kong’s arty types at this former antiques shop, now a decadent dive that’s all gold curtains, candles and whisky cocktails.
Behrenstrasse 72; +49 30 301 117 333;
Berlin is fast gaining a reputation as one of the world’s cocktail capitals thanks to sophisticated outfits like Shochu Bar. Attached to the Asian-inspired restaurant of Michelin-starred chef Tim Raue, this opulent space has a sexy, masculine feel that lures well-heeled Berliners to sip cocktails with playful twists. Try the house aperitif: rosebud-infused shochu blended with Champagne, bitters and hibiscus flowers.
Café Einstein, Kurfürstenstrasse 58;
+49 30 2639 1922;
Once the home of Henny Porten, one of Germany’s first movie stars, this former townhouse is still full of original features and oozes old-school glamour. Look out for it in Quentin Tarantino’s new World War II movie Inglourious Basterds.
Mount Nelson Hotel, 76 Orange Street;
+27 21 483 1000;
If you want great views of one of South Africa’s natural wonders but don’t fancy stretching your legs, this bar at the Mount Nelson Hotel could be the answer, as it sits right at the foot of Table Mountain. The people-watching isn’t bad either as this huge pink-and-white, colonial-style hotel is loved by Cape Town’s movers and shakers. In winter, a roaring fire is the focal point of the plush, cream-coloured bar, which boasts a drinks list with more than 20 Champagnes and a cocktail list big on fresh fruit and fizz.
68 Kloof Street; +27 21 422 0909;
An olive-tree courtyard glowing with Chinese lanterns and fairy lights is at the centre of this chilled-out haven – a delight for open-air drinking on a warm evening.
Langham Hotel, Portland Place,
Regent Street; 020 7636 1000;
Designer David Collins pulled out all the stops with this dazzling hotel bar – bespoke chandeliers, purple ostrich skin, ornate mirrors and clusters of fresh roses at every turn make this a dream setting for a celebration. Drinks are exquisitely prepared from a list big on rum and sparkling cocktails – try the Russian spring punch made with vodka, fresh berries, cassis, lemon juice and Laurent-Perrier. You can also enjoy complimentary canapés.
61 Poland Street; 020 7292 9949;
This dimly lit speakeasy is one of the best members’ bars in the UK. Make sure that you tap the expertise of the excellent bar staff when ordering your drinks. Booking is essential.
13 rue des Beaux-Arts; +33 1 44 41 99 00;
You could blow your wallet at the Ritz’s Hemingway Bar, but we’d recommend the more discreet charms of Le Bar at L’Hotel. This is where Oscar Wilde saw out his last days, and the spirit of romantic decadence lives on at this Left Bank boutique hotel, which has played host to numerous other bohemian types including Jim Morrison and Johnny Depp. Expect old-fashioned comforts – brass fittings, marble tabletops and a feast of Louis XIV-style velvet furnishings – as well as classic cocktails. Perfect for a clandestine rendezvous.
37 rue St-Sauveur; +33 1 45 08 88 09;
Impossible to find, absolutely tiny and utterly charming, this eccentric, chandelier-lit gem is run by lovely staff well versed in classic cocktail making. Arrive early to bag a table.
67 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills; +61 2 9211 0664;
If you’re serious about your ingredients, then this award-winning bar and restaurant really is the place to come in Sydney. Housed in the basement of a former Schweppes tonic factory, Foveaux evokes a sexy pre-Prohibition vibe, with exposed brickwork, loungey seating and warm, intimate lighting. The cocktails here are made with painstaking attention to detail (sometimes at your table): chilled glassware, homemade syrups and seasonal ingredients are par for the course. And the Champagne cocktail list is mouthwatering, such as the honey & chamomile fizz, made with honey water, chamomile tea, Peychaud bitters and sparkling wine.
2 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross, +61 2 9357 2177;
This deco-influenced bar is a perennial bartenders’ favourite, a Kings Cross institution that’s renowned for its excellent drinks, awe-inspiring spirits collection and friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
Editorial feature from Square Meal Lifestyle Magazine Summer 2009