The 9 Best International Bars for Ambiance

These Global Tastemakers winners from around the world are exceptionally gorgeous places to drink.

Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London

Courtesy of Scarfes Bar

Global Tastemakers is our first-ever reader’s choice awards, celebrating the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. F&W readers voted based on travel completed within the past three years, on categories including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. Due to the limitations of pandemic travel, this year’s Global Tastemakers winners reflect a smaller portion of the globe. In many categories, we’re including an editor’s pick to shout out some more culinary destinations in places you can’t miss. See all the winners at

What makes a bar worth coming back to, especially in cities where there are new openings every week? A solid menu and warm service count for a lot, but we’d argue that the overall ambiance — the lighting, seating, music choice, and feeling you get after that first sip of a Martini at the bar — matters just as much. We asked our readers about their favorite bars from around the world for excellent vibes and ambiance. Read on for their picks from Mexico City to Barcelona to London.

01 of 10

Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London

Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London

Courtesy of Scarfes Bar

With cozy velvet banquette seating and a fireplace that you can count on to be lit at all hours of the night, Scarfes Bar within Rosewood’s stunning Covent Garden property is an absolute must-stop on a night out to remember in London. An impressive collection of antique books line the space, which also features doodles from British caricaturist Gerald Scarfes, the bar’s namesake.

02 of 10

Bar Hemingway

Bar Hemingway

Vincent Leroux

Sipping a Hemingway Daiquiri in one of the plush leather armchairs at the Ritz Paris’ famed Bar Hemingway is something everyone should do at least once in their lives. It’s a cozy, intimate space that seats just 25, so while you should be prepared for a wait, it’s well worth it. Named after Ernest Hemingway, who frequented the bar alongside folks like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Marcel Proust, there’s no better place to finally start working on your novel.

03 of 10

Licoreria Limantour

Licoreria Limantour

Courtesy of Licoreria Limantour

This airy, two-storied bar in Mexico City has an Art Deco feel and a terrace with excellent people-watching opportunities. Order a Margarita or Paloma, and spend an afternoon chatting with some of the city’s most talented bartenders.

04 of 10

Little Red Door

Little Red Door Paris

Courtesy of Little Red Door

Behind a (little) red door in Paris’ Marais district, you’ll find a dimly lit respite from the bustle of the city. Shelves of classic spirits and unlabeled bottles of bitters and tinctures give the space a hidden apothecary feel, contributing to the overall sense that you’re in a sacred place that takes cocktails very seriously.

05 of 10

Fifty MIlls

The bar at Fifty Mills

Courtesy of Fifty Mills

Brightly colored velvet sofas and chairs invite you to take a pause from your travels and take in the relaxing atmosphere as soon as you step inside Fifty Mills, located inside the Four Seasons in Mexico City. There’s a lush outdoor space with firepits, chaise lounges, and umbrellas for sunnier days, and lots of corners to tuck away for a quiet night out, if privacy is a priority.

06 of 10

Ritz Bar

Ritz Bar

Jerome Galland

Like Bar Hemingway, Ritz Bar is located within the Ritz Carlton’s Paris property. This is the spot for the astrology-obsessed and cosmo-curious; images of stars, signs, and planets are scattered throughout the room, and crystal chandeliers add to the overall sense of other-worldliness that makes this such a special stop on any trip to Paris.

07 of 10

Connaught Bar

Connaught Bar


It’s unclear whether the martini cart has ever felt more at home than it does at London’s Connaught Bar, located inside the Connaught Hotel. The space exudes old-world elegance, with emerald-colored leather sofas, warm wood paneling, and antique mirrors. 

08 of 10


Paradiso Bar

Aanarav Sareen / Getty Images

It’s easy to lose track of time inside Barcelona’s Paradiso, a curved wooden bar located behind a refrigerator door in the back of an unassuming pastrami shop. Order a sandwich and prepare to be transported to a world where deliciously over-the-top drinks are the norm. Nowadays, when too many speakeasies feel tired or overdone, Paradiso keeps the magic alive.

09 of 10

Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky Bar

Brent Hofacker / Getty Images

This Mexico City hotspot started as a private, members-only club, and the speakeasy vibe continues to be a core part of the bar’s identity (you’ll see when you get there). The space is buzzy and inviting, with retro lighting and a wide bar.

10 of 10

Editor’s Pick: BKK Social Club

BKK Social Club

Jackyen Joy photography / Getty Images

Shortly after its 2020 opening in the Four Seasons Chao Phraya, BKK Social Club became a star in the cocktail world and a fixture in Bangkok’s incredible (and growing) cocktail landscape. In addition to the glamorous decor, with grand chandeliers and verdant plant displays, the drinks just feel like a special occasion. Sip a Negroni flight, order bottled cocktails for the table, or explore the ambitious menu of Buenos Aires-inspired signature cocktails — all while surrounded by old-school luxury. - F&W Editors 

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