Saturday, December 14, 2013

Good Bars I visited in 2012 and 2013

I traveled a lot last year and this one (2013). In order to try to remember some of the best bars I went, I thought I would document them here with photos if possible. In no particular order!  

Berlin Summer nights
Club Visionaire in Berlin with Mike - Berlin at its best in the summer. Sitting on the river. Red lights. Atmosphere. Big bottles of beer. Punks. Poets. Ah - Berlin!

Bar du Nord, Carouge, Switzerland - a great selection of whisky and a fine place to spend a night when you are stuck in Geneva. It had a sort of rockabilly vibe to it. As rockabilly as Geneva gets at least.

A little bar art

Bar 23, Bangkok, Thailand - a dark dank hole in the wall with excellent djs playing the Smiths, the Cure, and all new music... I just love it. It's when I finally felt at home in Bangkok.

to give you a feel for Bar 23

White Marble wine bar in Hoi An, Vietnam - a touch of lovely colonial looks in a nice shop house but they need to replace the soundtrack and get out of the 90s!

Raskolnikoff Hotel/ Cafe in Dresden with Mike  - cold white wine and pelmeni dumplings. Looks like not much from outside but old and atmospheric with a lovely little garden in the back. a great place for drinks before heading to the punk rock club in the chemical factory.

Heurigen in Vienna - little tiny vineyards where you drink the local wine made right there and sample some great hearty food to go with it - in this case - roast pork, schmaltz, fresh veggies, and great Austrian bread. First time I went to one of these places was in 1998 with my boyfriend Michael Reiner and I fell in love with them.

WTF, Bangkok, Thailand - you can get a horse's neck in an alley in Bangkok and feel like you are in NYC. It's an art gallery on top and the music is often good. The drinks are strong.

Galaxy Hut, Arlington VA - good music, great beers on tap, a seedy dive with a lovely 'futuristic' vibe.
A feel for the ambience of the Red Lounge

Mao's Red Lounge bar
 in Hanoi, Vietnam - a bit scuzzy and crazy. I loved it! Maybe its because they were playing Guns and Roses after I had drank bottle after bottle of fruit flavored rice wine.

The Bucket List Beach Bar in Sydney, Australia - cute boys playing bongo and guitars, awesome fish and chips, ice cold Australian white wine on Bondi Beach. I felt like I was in a movie. Of course, I had just returned from Papua New Guinea and was in shock from falling through the floor of an government building there but still - it was a lovely place.

Ku De Ta in Samanyak, Bali, Indonesia - wanna be cool and listen to great music and drink cocktails while looking at the perfect beach? Try this place.

Foreign Correspondent's Club in Phnom Penh, Cambodia - its a bit overpriced but its got atmosphere. It's hot, the ceiling fans are working overtime, and you can have a cold gin and tonic and feel the ghosts of journos past.

L'Atelier Charonne in Bastille, Paris - I love Django Reinhardt and although this bar doesn't have the best atmosphere, a man in a pencil thin mustache who played the stand up bass came over and serenaded me one August while i was in Paris so it has my heart. To me, I felt as if I were a broke boheme in the 30s scraping together enough for a nice campari and falling in love.

Le Bar in Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam - Delightfully dry martinis. It'll put a hole in your wallet but sometimes you want to pretend you are Graham Greene (or Sir Roger Moore or Charlie Chaplin or Somerset Maugham!) in Southeast Asia.

High Spirits, Pune India - wanna hang out with the most high spirited energetic Indian hipsters in Pune? Go to High Spirits! It has it all - a live reggae band, a dance floor, pool tables, gorgeous young drunk fools!

Ice Bar at Titanium
Titanium, Bangkok, Thailand - home of the famous all girl rock band that really rocks! Also an ice bar and my birthday shots. Fun in a sleazy part of town on Sukhumvit Soi 22 - becoming less sleazy since they tore down Washington Square (??) but sleazier from the outside than the inside!

Union Grill, Yangon, Myanmar - okay so maybe its not that much different than what you could find in most gentrified places in Southeast Asia but I had been suffering along in Rakhine State and to find a nice glass of wine, good waiters, and lovely decor made me happy.

Adhere the 13th Blues Bar, Bangkok, Thailand - I thought it would suck. Most of the live Thai musicians I have seen doing western music have sung phonetically and unenthusiastically. But these guys are the real thing. And its got a great atmosphere too! Down near Khao San road in a small cramped place... great music!

The Dove on Broadway Market, London, UK - I went on a freezing cold sunny day in April with my friend Brian. We sat in a cute little snug, people played board games, beautiful young hipsters got drunk, we talked about life and the meaning thereof all Sunday until it was time to go home. I loved it so much. 

Malaysian Penang Food Adventure

My friend Jennifer and I spent a long weekend in Penang - an island off the coast of Malaysia. I have several Malaysian friends - all of whom assured me that the food in Malaysia is well worth the the trip. Since Air Asia flies there cheaply from Bangkok, off we went.

I tell you - if you are looking for a cheap and fun way to spend two days - go to Penang! They even produce a food map at the airport that you can pick up and just start trying everything they mention. You won't run out of options.

It turns out I don't love the Assam Laksa but i love curry Mee. And Hokkien Mee. Oh- so many delicious noodle dishes. And if you get bored, take a break with the food and go look at all the cool street art too!

From Wikipedia -
Penang cuisine is the cuisine of the multicultural society of Penang, Malaysia. Most of these cuisine are sold at road-side stalls, known as "hawker food". Penang has the reputation as being the "food paradise" in the region as it offers an diverse and exotic mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine, which reflects the multicultural mix of the city. It is popular among locals and tourists alike. Local Penangites mostly find these hawker fares cheaper and easier to eat out at any time of the day due to the ubiquitousness of the hawker stalls all around Penang. On February 22, 2013, Penang has ranked by CNN Travel as one of the top ten street food cities in Asia.