Where to Drink in 2015
For your next getaway, look to far-flung drinking destinations with unique local libations, world-class eats and exotic surroundings.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cosmopolitan, innovative Cape Town is a city always on the move. Tapas bars, casual bistros and fine dining are bolstered by myriad craft beers, spirits and fine wines to create an ever-changing world of drinks and dishes embraced within the heart of the mother city. Each visit is as exciting as the first.
Original gourmet dishes are complemented by an internationally awarded wine list offering great breadth and depth. Knowledgeable sommeliers ensure a memorable wine-and-dine experience.
Up-market steakhouse, where properly aged beef and more is matched by an extensive list that offers more than 200 wines by the glass.
Some 500 whiskies from around the world are available at this waterside venue, while the wine list features the Cape’s lesser-known varieties, auction wines and verticals.
Butchery by day, wine bar by night, Publik is the place to experience individual, cutting-edge wines from many of the Cape’s coolest winemakers.
Inventive cocktails, a wine list featuring mature Cape Winemakers’ Guild auction wines, craft beers and tapas are served in this restored heritage building in the heart of the busy CBD area.
Hong Kong’s status as a global city is reflected in a bar scene that blends intriguing wines, unique spirits and craft beers from around the world. The city’s name translates to “fragrant harbor,” and true to its name, you’ll find tempting aromas, mouthwatering bites and amazing sights in this electric port town.
Not surprisingly, you’ll find top-notch options of its namesake items, plus Spanish wines and tasty tapas amid a stylish interior bedecked with blue and white tiles.
Hop aboard for the city’s biggest beer lineup, including local craft producers, plus a British pub menu with meat pies and fish and chips.
More than 80 gins are uniquely matched to a tonic water and garnish in a hip, spacious ping-pong hall turned lounge.
Natural French wines meet bistro comfort food at La Cabane. Italian-leaning vinophiles should check out 121BC, just a short walk away.
Set on the 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre, Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton claims to be the world’s highest bar. Indulge in the Rose Bubble Martini or the Dom Pérignon-fueled brunch while taking in the breathtaking views.
The pisco sour, Peru’s national drink, is said to have been invented in Lima about a century ago by an American expat barkeep. The classic is made with pisco (a grape brandy), citrus, syrup, a bit of bitters and egg-white froth. Mixologists in Lima, the coastal capital, have tinkered with versions ever since. In addition, locals drink wines imported from Argentina and Chile, both of which also claim the pisco sour as their national mixed drinks.
The bar of this opulent hotel in the heart of historic Lima popularized the pisco sour—it was once the place where local and international socialites gathered to see and be seen.
Housed in the elegant Casa Moreyra in the San Isidro district, Astrid & Gastón is an acclaimed Peruvian restaurant that mixes mean pisco sours and pours wines from an extensive list.
Lima’s premier business hotel serves Maracuya sours—made with pisco quebranta, apricot brandy and passion fruit juice. Middle Eastern-inspired bites are available at the U-shaped marble bar and in comfy seating areas housed in this soaring space.
Huaca Pucllana Restaurant
Nestled within the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site, where fifth-century ruins include a pyramid temple. The bar mixes variations including the chilcano (a pisco sour sweetened with ginger ale).
Despite the cultural disconnect between Lima and the storied European train, this cozy spot in Miraflores has reasonable prices and a good vibe, along with the best pisco sours in town.
Mexico City, Mexico
Though Mexico is home to the oldest winery in the Americas—Casa Madero, founded in 1597 as La Hacienda de San Lorenzo—and Baja wines are increasingly making waves, Mexico City is no wine mecca. But with its dining scene at a peak, a throng of traditional tipples and the economy on the uptick, there’s no better time to go.
This luxe restaurant modeled after the 1940s Parisian institution has Mexico City’s best wine list, including back vintages of many Mexican and South American producers. It’s open 24/7, providing unparalleled people watching.
Both here and at its sister bar, El Palenquito, Karla Moles (who also owns the mezcal brand Milagrito) uses garrafones (water jugs) to sell backyard mezcals, mostly from Oaxaca. Their production methods are described in obsessive detail on the menu.
One of the best places to experience Mexico’s booming craft-beer scene, “Malt Fever” (translated) has dozens of native microbrews on tap and many more in bottle, with good food to boot (try the hibiscus enchiladas).
Limantour’s slogan is “the new old days,” which encapsulates the vibe at this classically inspired cocktail bar. It spawned a citywide clamor for gin and tonics, as well as more locally inspired cocteles (cocktails), made with ingredients like guava, cilantro and canela (Mexican cinnamon).
For over a century, this downtown bar (nondescript but for its indigenous-inspired murals) has served nothing but pulque, the spontaneously fermented sap from the maguey, a giant agave plant. Thick and sticky, it’s made more palatable by flavoring it with pine nut, celery and tamarind. The finished products are called curados.
Copenhagen has blossomed into a wine and food mecca. The pulsating heart is Noma, considered one of the world’s best restaurants and a forerunner in foraging and embracing natural wines, a big topic here. Wine bars abound, and if you keep an open mind, you’re certain to drink well.
With an inviting interior, prime location and knowledgeable staff, you’ll need to come early if you want a seat. Cool-climate wines only, with excellent local cheese and charcuterie to match.
A favorite among hipsters and lovers of orange wine, the delicious “new Nordic” tasting menu and matching natural wine package is hard to beat.
If you tire of the natural wine movement, R Vinbar serves classic wines, with more than 50 available by the glass. Selections range from an earthy Monthelie-Duresses from Bouchard Père et Fils to a vibrant Central Otago Pinot Noir from Mount Edward.
The restaurant, a lunch staple in the heart of the city since 1877, is open nights September–May as a no-frills wine bar boasting wooden tables, talkative hosts and a serious, Eurocentric (and attractively priced) wine list.
Are cocktails your poison? Book a cozy table at Ruby, a retro cocktail bar hidden in a private apartment next to the Georgian Embassy. While the focus is on the classics, several original concoctions are always available.
If it’s true that a city gets the dining culture it deserves, Melbourne’s wine drinkers have been very well behaved. The rise of the enoteca-style outfit—part wine shop, part restaurant, part wine bar—means it’s a great time to discover the best artisan, classic and iconic offerings from Australia and beyond.
Rooftop views of Melbourne’s grand end of town and an extensive European wine list make this the best slice of the Old World in the New World.
A cozy bar loved by locals, Geralds pours Australian wine heroes and curious internationals. The first customer gets to choose the night’s by-the-glass option.
Melbourne’s top take on the Italian enoteca, it’s a welcome nook in an area with a definite vibe to it. An early purveyor of artisan wines, and still one of the best.
If sampling some of the world’s best wines by the glass, carafe or taste is not enough, choose one or more of the 4,000 bottles offered in the wine store to enjoy with dinner.
The new kid on the wine shop/bar block, Harry & Frankie champions international small wine producers and Australia’s rising stars.
- 3South America
- 4North America