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12 Bars in Unexpected Places

It's not hard to find a bar, but if you're looking for something special, you have to do some digging. Here are some bars in unusual places that are worth the trip.

1. DISNEYLAND'S CLUB 33 // ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA

Behind a nondescript door marked with the number “33” sits a swanky, members-only social club right in the heart of the New Orleans Square area of Disneyland. The only location in the park that serves alcohol, Club 33 was established by Walt Disney himself as a haven for important park guests, celebrities, and investors (the bar still contains antiques and decorations hand-selected by Disney and his wife). To join, be prepared to plunk down $10,000 a year, plus a $25,000 initiation fee per person. But good luck getting in: The wait time for this members-only establishment has been known to reach upwards of 14 years! (If you really need some wine at the park, fear not. Recent reports have indicated that Disneyland will have a new private dining venue called 21 Royal Street. It’s going to give Club 33 members priority, but if the location is unbooked on any given day, it will be open to members of the general public.)

2. EL AVION // MANUEL ANTONIO, COSTA RICA 

On a picturesque cliff in Costa Rica sits El Avion, a bar built in the fuselage of a 1954 Fairchild C-123 transport plane. It's rumored to have been purchased by the U.S. government to move men and supplies during the Iran-Contra scandal; the plane was abandoned by the CIA after its sister aircraft was shot down by Sandinista guerillas. In 2000, the C-123 was disassembled and moved to its current location. Now the aircraft bar is a great place to grab a beer, catch a sunset, and soak up some history. 

3. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN // LONDON 

Although residents of London’s Kentish Town neighborhood fought against the repurposing of an old subterranean public toilet, owner Will Borrell won out, and Ladies and Gentlemen was born. Craft cocktails and locally sourced bar snacks comprise the highly cultivated menu at this London speakeasy. The entrance is marked by an above-ground sign, but patrons must descend into the subterranean lounge. Visible cisterns and pre-World War II marble on the walls call attention to the space’s former function. 

4. ETERNITY RESTAURANT AND BAR // TRUSKAVETS, UKRAINE 

Have you ever been drinking at a bar and thought, “This is fun, but I wish the decor was a little more funeral-y?” Eternity Bar in the western part of Ukraine has you covered. Made out of real pine and owned by a funeral home, this coffin-shaped bar is the perfect place to have a cold beer and contemplate your own mortality. It features funeral wreaths and smaller coffins inside, and even holds the Guinness World Record for largest coffin. With dishes with names like “Let’s Meet in Paradise,” what’s not to like? 

5. MONKEY BAR // BERLIN, GERMANY 

In a hotel overlooking the Berlin Zoological Gardens, Monkey Bar provides a prime vantage over the garden’s primate habitat, where drinkers can see orangutans, bonobos, gorillas, and chimpanzees. In addition, patrons have a stunning 360-degree view of the city, including the expansive Tiergarten, Berlin’s central park. An express elevator shoots right up to the top floor of the very trendy 25 Hours Hotel Berlin. With live music and world-class DJ events, Monkey Bar caters to all tastes and fashions. 

6. SUNLAND PUB // MODJADJISKLOOF, SOUTH AFRICA

At this one-of-a-kind watering hole, patrons can sip aged wines in an even more aged setting—the trunk of a 1700-year-old baobab tree. Standing over 60 feet tall with a diameter of almost 35 feet, the tree is regarded by the South African Dendrological Society as the largest example of this baobab species in the world. The Big Baobab attracts visitors from across the globe and serves as a symbol of South African heritage. Within the tree itself, a breathtaking array of caves and caverns have been carved out by a thousand years of natural aging processes, resulting in one of the most unique settings on Earth to enjoy a glass of top-shelf South African wine. 

7. FLOYD'S PELICAN BAR // SAINT ELIZABETH PARRISH, JAMAICA 

Floyd’s is a tiny little outpost replete with locals playing dominoes and fresh-caught lobster on the menu. Located in Parottee Bay on the South Coast of Jamaica nearly a mile out to sea, adventurous travelers must take a 20-minute boat ride to reach this driftwood bar propped up on stilts. Many of the local fishermen will take you out to Floyd’s for a small fee, and once you arrive, it’s more than likely that Floyd himself will be there to greet you. The bar has an interesting origin story: Floyd dreamt of owning a bar on stilts, and gradually began transporting driftwood and other building materials using his fishing boat. (The first bar was completed in 2001; after Hurricane Ivan destroyed it in 2004, the bar was rebuilt with the help of donations from the community.) The establishment gets its name from a group of pelicans that would frequent the sand bar upon which Floyd built the bar of his dreams. 

8. FARADAY BAR // ANTARCTICA  

Located at the end of the world, in Vernadsky Research Base, a Ukrainian research station in Antarctica, Faraday is the perfect—and only—spot to enjoy a libation for hundreds of miles in any direction. The watering hole was constructed 30 years ago by carpenter Keith “Cat” Larratt and named after what the research base was called before the British sold it to Ukraine. Now, an eclectic mix of British and Ukrainian paraphernalia adorns the walls, creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere in one of the most desolate places on the planet. The customer base includes a rotating cast of scientists and passengers from Antarctic cruises; the food and supply shipment comes once a year. 

9. WATER AND WIND BAR // BINH DUONG PROVINCE, VIETNAM

The space is used as a local meeting place, concert venue, and events center. Reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, a hole in the center of the arched bamboo ceiling lets hot air escape, creating a window to the sky. The remarkable structure uses cool lake water as well as wind to create a natural air-ventilation system. To reach this bamboo bar situated in the middle of a lake, drinkers must cross a path of stepping stones—a much easier task before you’ve had a few Tiger beers!

10. CAVE BAR // PETRA, JORDAN

Instead of craggy stalagmites jutting out from every angle, this cave in the ancient city of Petra has spectacular columns carved out of the rock. Originally used as a tomb by the Nabatean people over 2000 years ago, the site of the Cave Bar features rough sandstone walls, massive, monolithic rocks, and stunning archways. Open until the early hours of the morning, the massive caverns that comprise the bar are lit in dreamy fashion by a series of lanterns, which illuminate the pouring of expensive champagne and hookah smoke. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, including the 26 percent tax!

11. PANDA AND SONS // EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Located underneath a nondescript barbershop, this Edinburgh speakeasy allows you to live out your James Bond and Batman fantasies—to enter, you need to pull the correct book out of an overstuffed bookcase. Featuring many touches straight out of the Prohibition era, including a plush carpeted staircase, lamps made from vintage hair accessories your grandmother might have used, and glass cabinets full of exotic-looking liquor, Panda and Sons captures the mood and spirit of the 1920s perfectly.

12. FOXGLOVE // HONG KONG, CHINA 

The term “speakeasy” doesn’t fully capture the magic and mystery of Foxglove, a new drinking establishment set behind the facade of an English umbrella shop in Hong Kong. Touch the correct silver-handled umbrella and you’ll find yourself transported to what feels like a different world. Foxglove is replete with secret passageways, hidden compartments, and even a pressure-sensitive painting that grants patrons access to an extra-secret library-themed barroom. Head to 6 Duddell Street, walk up the stairs to the second floor, and let the adventure begin.

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7 Hangover Cures Backed By Science
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Science has a lot to say about bogus hangover cures (coffee, hair of the dog, and saunas aren't doing you any favors), but not as much about which treatments are legitimate. That's not for a lack of trying: The quest to banish the headaches, nausea, and dizziness that follow a bout of heavy drinking has been going on for centuries. We still don't know how to prevent hangovers or how exactly they happen, but if you're feeling miserable after last night, there are a handful of science-based remedies that might ease your pain.

1. ASIAN PEAR JUICE

Have some extra Asian pears at home? Run them through your juicer before your next night out. According to researchers at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, just 7.4 ounces of Asian pear juice is enough to soften the blow of a hangover. The scientists say that the juice interacts with enzymes that break down alcohol, speeding up your metabolism and leaving less surplus alcohol for your body to absorb. There's just one catch: The juice must be consumed before you drink anything else in order to be effective. Apologies to anyone currently reading this through heavy-duty sunglasses.

2. MUSIC

Anyone who's ever suffered through a massive hangover knows that sound is the enemy. But while your roommate's 9 a.m. tap dancing practice might exacerbate your symptoms, music may have the opposite effect. Research has shown that listening to music can provide relief to migraines, which are similar to hangover headaches. As long as the music is pleasant and suits your taste, it should help to drown out the chorus of pain playing in your mind. Head sensitivity isn't the only symptom music helps with: According to researchers at the University of Edinburgh, listening to your favorite music also eases pain. There hasn't been research specifically on hangovers, but at the very least it should hide your pained cries.

3. SPRITE

If you're looking for something to nurse your hangover, skip the bloody Mary. A team of Chinese researchers found that Xue bi, the Chinese version of Sprite, is actually the best beverage to combat the lingering side-effects of alcohol. Of the 57 drinks tested, Sprite was the best at helping enzymes break down acetaldehyde, the metabolized version of ethanol that's blamed for some of the nastiest hangover symptoms. The scientists also identified which concoctions you should avoid: A drink containing herbs and hemp seeds was the worst offender, as it actually prolongs acetaldehyde metabolism instead of speeding it up. (We should also caution that this test was done in a lab and might not be applicable to actual drinking scenarios.)

4. PEDIALYTE

Although not the primary cause of your hangover, one of the many ways alcohol can leave you feeling worse for wear the morning after is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic—it makes you pee a lot more than you would otherwise. If your fluids are depleted when you go to bed, you can expect to wake up feeling groggy, achy, and all-around not your best. Water is the simplest fix for dehydration, but for more extreme cases, there's Pedialyte. The drink was originally developed to rehydrate kids sick from vomiting and diarrhea, but it's marketed as a hangover treatment for adults as well. It contains nutrients, sodium, and other electrolytes—all things that can nurture your body when it's dehydrated. It won't cure the hangover, but it might help alleviate the worst of it.

5. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS

If your first move when you're hungover is to reach for a bottle of aspirin, you have the right idea. Anti-inflammatory drugs may not do much to stop the underlying causes of your condition, but they can suppress your symptoms long enough for you to get out of bed without feeling like your head's been replaced with an anvil. On top of easing headaches and muscle pain, there's another reason these pills are good for hangovers: They may directly combat alcohol's inflammatory effects. But there's one over-the-counter painkiller you should never take while or after consuming alcohol, and that's Tylenol. Any drug that uses acetaminophen will only further abuse your recovering liver.

6. EGGS

The best way to tackle a hangover with food is to eat while you drink. Chowing down after the damage has already been done may distract you from your turmoil for a short while, but it won't soothe your physical symptoms. There are a few exceptions: Eggs, for example, have hangover-fighting potential thanks to a special ingredient. The food is packed with cysteine, an amino acid that breaks down the drinking byproduct acetaldehyde. So whether you prefer to enjoy brunch out or at home, make sure your meal includes eggs in some form.

7. HONEY ON TOAST

While you're at it, put some honey on toast next to your omelet. According to Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry, while it won't cure a hangover, the breakfast can help alleviate the symptoms: "The best breakfast is toast and honey (or golden syrup) which provides the body with the sodium, potassium, and fructose which it now needs." The BBC talked to a junior doctor about this hangover remedy and he recommended adding banana. While he cautions it's an acquired taste, the doctor explained, "Bananas are a high source of potassium—an electrolyte that gets depleted when you go out on the binge. The honey will give you that spike of sugar in your bloodstream and that energy rush to help you get back on your feet."

BONUS: DRINK LESS

While this is definitely the least helpful of all suggestions, in 2005 an article in the BMJ looked at 15 studies of hangover cures, noting that "the paucity of randomised controlled trials is in stark contrast to the plethora of ‘hangover cures' marketed on the internet." Their conclusion? "No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover. The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol induced hangover is to practise abstinence or moderation."

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11 Secrets of Bartenders
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Spend enough time at your local watering hole and it becomes apparent that the person slinging drinks behind the bar is so much more than just a human recipe book. They’re flavor experts possessing saint-like levels of patience, who can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. With that in mind, Mental Floss spoke to three bartenders about the one thing you should never order, how to stock your own bar, and the best way to approach the attractive stranger you just locked eyes with.

1. THEY'RE SMART ABOUT WHAT THEY SPEND MONEY ON.

Berkeley, California-based bartender Nat Harry suggests considering a drink's recipe before you shell out for top-shelf liquor. “Any time you have a spirit that’s going to be the star of the show, like in a Manhattan or a Martini, you’ll probably want something a bit nicer,” she explains. “But if you’re drinking a cocktail with aggressive or spicy mixers, like a Moscow Mule for example, that is not the time to order Ketel One or Belvedere."

According to a bartender at NYC’s Gordon Bar, whiskeys and tequilas are generally worth spending a bit more on. "The quality with both spirits does ramp up quickly," he says. "And the difference between top shelf and well is very noticeable."

2. THEY DO THEIR BEST TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

A smartly-dressed drunkard chats to a young lady at a bar in a theatre scene from 1933
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The customer is (almost) always right—but when they aren’t, you won’t hear it from whoever’s serving them drinks. “I don’t really judge people based on their orders, aside from an ‘Ooh, you just turned 21,’” Courtney Cowie, a Long Island-based bartender, says. “I’m a strong believer in liking and drinking whatever you want.” Harry adds that she does her best to put her own preferences aside when she steps behind the bar: “With experience, you realize the important thing about being a bartender is giving your guest a good experience. If someone orders something I might not find palatable, I’ll try to make the best version of that drink possible.”

3. BUT THEY WILL ROLL THEIR EYES OVER CERTAIN ORDERS.

Of course, there’s one (boozy) exception to the aforementioned rule: anyone who sidles up to the bar and orders a Long Island Iced Tea. “Even if you used all premium spirits, mixing all those flavors together will never be anything more than a hot mess,” Harry says. “Is there a decent amount of booze in there? Sure. But most cocktails, either by virtue of proof or volume of spirits can achieve that for you, and spare you the hangover you’re gonna have from all that sugar.” The Gordon Bar bartender agrees: “You know immediately their number one goal is to just get wasted.”

4. THEY DON’T MIND CREATING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOU.

A barman at the St Mellons Club near Cardiff mixing cocktails for the Carlyle cousins, 1936
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 All three bartenders agreed that creating personalized drinks for customers is one of the best parts of the job—“It makes me feel respected!” says Cowie—with just one caveat. “I love it, but if I’m totally slammed behind the bar, that’s not a good time for a personalized drink,” Harry says.

If you're set on trying something different, get ready to field a few questions: “I always ask right away what they normally drink and what flavors they like, and then if they want to be adventurous,” the server at Gordon Bar says. “I like to get people out of their comfort zones.”

5. IT’S OK TO ASK YOUR BARTENDER TO TRY AGAIN … USUALLY.

Just not feeling the drink in front of you? It’s OK to ask for another. Says Harry, “I think customers are always entitled to a mulligan. I hate to watch someone pull a series of tortured faces if they aren’t enjoying something.” But that rule generally applies only if the bartender’s the one who led you astray. “The exception is when someone tries to order something ‘experimental’ and I try to talk them out of it, and then said experiment results in a yucky beverage,” Harry explains. “If you want to come up with crazy drink combinations, that’s what your home bar is for.”

6. ANYONE CAN INVENT HIS OR HER OWN SIGNATURE BEVERAGE.

Jessica Mitford with her husband Esmond Romilly behind the bar of the Roma Restaurant in Biscayne Bay, 1940
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 If you’re a beginner, Harry suggests following this simple formula: “It’s a safe bet to start with a base spirit, 80 proof or higher, a liquer, citrus, and then a sweetener if needed, or even bitters. After you get comfortable following the rules, you can start breaking them.” The most important rule of all, according to the source at Gordon Bar? “Always taste as you go!”

7. "MIXOLOGIST" IS MORE THAN JUST A PRETENTIOUS SYNONYM FOR "BARTENDER."

As the Gordon Bar employee notes, “A mixologist is more like a chef in that they spend a lot of time researching ingredients and comparing flavor profiles.” Unlike with sommeliers, there’s no single organization governing the profession. While there is currently a movement in favor of formalizing the training and certification process, most mixologists just learn on the job. As Harry puts it, “Every good mixologist should start by trying to be a good bartender first."

8. LOOKING TO PLEASE A CROWD? HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KEEP AT HOME.

If you're setting up a home bar for the first time, there's no need to run out and buy one of everything. “Always have vodka, and then one whiskey, either a bourbon or a rye,” says the anonymous NYC-based bartender. “Those are essentials. And then a couple of bitters—like Angostura or Regan’s Orange—and high-quality club soda and fresh juice.” Harry suggests making your own simple syrup, too—”It’s cheap and easy, and lasts a long time in your fridge”—but as far as equipment goes, you can skip the elaborate gadgets and gizmos. The only “specialty bar tool” you really need, according to Cowie, is a shaker.

9. THEY COME READY TO CHAT.

Men gathered around a bartender, 1950
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 Even the most introverted bartenders know the small talk they dish out is almost as important as the beverage they’re stirring (or shaking). “We know a little bit about everything: sports, music, and pop culture usually have you covered,” Cowie says. “But if all of the above fails, we just ask questions.”

10. YOU CAN LET THEM PLAY CUPID.

Bartenders rarely mind helping their patrons make connections. “For folks who don’t want to stroll up and start chatting with a perfect stranger, ask the bartender if they can buy the person they like a drink,” Harry suggests. “I phrase it like that because I like to check in with the object of their affection before I start making it. Maybe they don’t want company, or maybe they’ve already had too many. But most of the time, it’s a yes, and they move down the bar to thank their benefactor.”

11. YES, THEY’RE PROS AT PREVENTING HANGOVERS.

A woman suffering from a hangover circa 1956
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 Experienced bartenders try not to get to a point where a hangover will be an issue, because they know there's no magic cure-all. “The best remedy is preventative care—one glass of water per every two drinks,” Cowie tells Mental Floss. “But if the deed is done, try energy drinks, lots and lots of water, and a huge breakfast.” Harry agrees that getting something in your stomach is key: “Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and a Coke. Bonus points for hash browns.”

This story originally ran in 2015.

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