Show Us the World's Most Unique Bars, Pubs, and Taverns

Across the globe, from small villages to sprawling metropolises, you can find a bar, tavern, or local watering hole to drown a few sorrows. However, not all bars are made the same, many offer a bit more than a cold one. Some are historical centers that have been around for centuries, others offer surroundings that are truly one of a kind. With that said, let’s toast to the new year with some of the most unique bars the world has ever seen!

(Image: Dayana Rizal/Public Domain)

When in Ridgedale, Missouri travelers can experience a true watering hole at the Bat Bar in the Lost Cavern Cave. Located in the Ozark Mountains, visitors to the Lost Canyon Cave & Nature Trail can travel along the scenic Eagle Pass, then journey into the cave to enjoy a cocktail while viewing a gorgeous waterfall. If you fancy subterranean trappings and happen to be in Nottingham, then stop by the city’s oldest hotel, the Mercure Nottingham City Centre George. Twenty-six feet below the hotel is the Lost Caves Bar. It’s uncertain why these grottos were created, but they have been transformed into a unique haunt to enjoy a glass of gin from your sandstone chair. Perhaps you’re not in the mood to navigate a cave or venture underground for a drinking experience. Perhaps you’re just looking to have an adult soda somewhere you never thought you would. If that happens to be your muse, then head over to The Washhouse in Manchester, England. What appears to be a laundromat with limited equipment actually houses a secret bar. However, be sure to call ahead to book the one mysteriously large washing machine inside as space is limited. These are just a few bars around the world that offer much more than a cocktail. Now we’d like to see a few of your favorites.

In the thread below, tell us about some of the bars you’ve visited over the years whose decor or location was a truly unique experience. Where was the bar located and what made it so special? Why did you decide to venture inside, were there any other unusual trappings in the bar? Any interesting spirits or history? Tell us about it! Be sure to include any pictures you have or can find. Your response and photo may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura!

As always, I like to comment on things from my own city, São Paulo-Brazil:
-Bar do Cofre: In the underground of a former bank is the “safe box” bar. This place used to be where the valuables were kept. It’s really cool to wander around and see the big doors of the former vault! And the room is so sturdy, there’s no cell signal in it.

-Bar dos Arcos: a bar (also) in the underground, this time of São Paulo’s opera house! Phantom of the Opera, anyone? The name means “bar of arches”, in reference to the many architectural elements of the place. The highlight: it features a ball pit for adults!


If you ever visit Dartmoor in Devon, be sure to visit the Highwayman Inn. It really is amazing. It looks from the outside like something from a fairy tale. You open the door and step into another dimension, finding yourself inside what appears to be a stagecoach carriage. Beyond that, I don’t want to say anymore, partly because I couldn’t possibly find the words, but also because it will spoil the surprise. A friend casually mentioned to me that I should call in there during my visit to Dartmoor. She didn’t say anymore and I didn’t have any expectations beyond finding a good country pub on the Moors. Which it is, with a few extras - quirky would be putting it mildly. I must admit, if it weren’t for such a warm welcome, I may have felt a little uncomfortable. But once you get it, after the initial bemusement, you will love it. Find your way to Sourton, near Okehampton, and you can’t miss it.


The Middy Bar, Weatheringsett, East Anglia. Named for the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, and occupying a dismounted rail car behind Brockford Station. Obscure in that it’s not on Google or Atlas Obscura’s maps, and only has a twitter account for online presence.


It’s tiny! Mostly people sit outdoors and watch the goings on in the steam engine yard. Love the keg cozies.

Popular with live steam and skiffle fans, thoroughly reliant on chalkboards for advertising.


While not primarily a bar, The Tourist Club (Die Naturfreunde) has a location in Marin County, California just north of the Golden Gate Bridge that wins obscurity points for being a kilometer’s walk away from the nearest pavement, cash-only with no ATM, and only open to the public on rare and unpredictable days.

" Guest days happen when they happen. We will update our Calendar when one is offered."

Should you happen to arrive on the correct day with the correct money in your pocket and a few miles under your soles, you will be treated to a beautiful Alpine lodge where you can get some European beer, but perhaps not any California wine.

I haven’t been there, but boy do I want to go.


JC kaffelab in Drammen, Norway

The most unique coffee place in all of Norway !
It’s a mix between the space ship from Alien and Tokyo.
Anunn, the artist who runs it, also built it. A process that took 14 years. Everything is built from scrap materials. And he has made everything in the premesis.
He roasts his own coffee ( which is damn fine), has built his own superduper speed-coffee machine, and he has really nice food in hearthy portions.
You really have to experience this truly original and amazing place!

Taos Mesa Brewery, specifically the Mothership. This is the bar where you want to be when the zombie apocalypse happens. They built the place with lots of reclaimed materials, like the dance floor (yes, they have live music) that is built on top of recycled tires. There are fruit trees and vegetables, and to cap it off, the outdoor amphitheater is done in the “earthship” style. Almost forgot the best part: they serve excellent beer and food, too. Add in the astounding New Mexico sunsets to make it perfect.