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05th Sep 2019

Wake Up To… These Seriously Cool Secret European Bars

Brian Dillon

The Aer Lingus September Sale is back and we’re feeling inspired. Getting away for a short break is a great way to break up the winter months. And with so many wonderful destinations just a stone’s throw away, sure there’s no reason not to.

When travelling abroad, it can be easy to go with the obvious choices when choosing somewhere to have a couple of drinks at night. The popular places are popular for a reason, after all.

But while you’re away, it’s good to experience things that you can’t experience anywhere else. Whether it’s a pub enjoyed by locals, a bar that is quirky and truly unique, or a watering hole that is hidden away and takes a bit of searching to find, it’s well worth your while heading to these cool spots that might not have otherwise been on your radar while in these European cities.

1. Fogashaz, Budapest

One of the things Budapest is known for is its ruin bars: bars that are built in Budapest’s old District VII neighbourhood (or the old Jewish quarter) in the ruins of old buildings.

One of the city’s best ruin bars is Fogashaz, which gets its name ‘House of Teeth’ from the old dentist office that used to be in the building. If you visit this bar, you’re likely to find that it is less touristy than other ruin bars in the city such as Instant and Szimpla Kert.

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2. Le Chat Touille, Brussels

It doesn’t get much quirkier than a cat-themed bar now does it? And by ‘cat-themed bar’, I mean it is literally full of cats.

Based on the cat café concept popular in Asia, Le Chat Touille is complete with scratching posts and cat trees as well as local beers and tasty wines.

It’s a great place to relax and make some feline friends at the same time.

3. Bar Behind The Clock, Bordeaux

This bar is the actual definition of ‘hidden away’. It is literally hidden behind a grandfather clock.

Located in the chic and slick restaurant Symbiose, Bar Behind The Clock is one unexpected surprise to be found in the backroom, serving up arguably some of the best cocktails in Bordeaux.

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4. Madame Claude, Berlin

This bar is actually upside down, with furniture stuck to the ceiling.

As expected, the bar is popular among students and hipster folk due to its vintage and, well, upside down decor. It also opens late, hosting DJs and bands, and the dancefloor opens up and comes alive once the evening hits.

5. Black Angels Bar, Prague

You’re not likely to simply stumble upon this bar, as it’s situated underground on the second lower level of the Hotel U Prince.

Designed as a prohibition-style bar, stepping inside this bar transports you back to the 1930s. Its extensive menu includes delicious cocktails such as the Manhattan, the Sazerac and the Sidecar, and they even have a cigar menu.

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6. Fairytale, Berlin

If you’re in the market for cocktails as well as some fantasy in Berlin, then Fairytale Bar is where to head. Their cocktails are stunning, their staff are dressed for the occasion, and they even have a multi-sensory menu that reads out the cocktail list and whispers dark and eery fairytales. You really will feel like you’ve stepped into the mind of Tim Burton when you walk in here.

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7. Anker’t, Budapest

This is another one of Budapest’s classic ruin bars, set in the courtyard of an abandoned factory in downtown Budapest. Expect DJs, amazing cocktails and grilled food.

The space is made up of connected courtyards complete with a spacious dancefloor, couches to lounge on and quirky art hanging from the walls.

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8. Hemmingway Bar, Prague

Ernest Hemingway himself was a dedicated patron of this Prague bar, and today, the establishment is dedicated to keeping the memory of the writer alive.

In this American-style speakeasy, expect delicious cocktails. Absinthe is even featured quite frequently on the menu.