If you crave more than a generic corner pub or bar, don your explorer’s hat and quench your thirst at these spots - which happen to be located in the farthest-flung corners of the world.
It is not quite Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but it could certainly pass for The Little Mermaid’s splashy digs.
Enveloped in the beauty of marine life, this posh underwater restaurant and bar belongs to Niyama Private Islands Maldives on the island of Huluwalu in the Maldives. You’ll first need to get to the luxury resort via a 40-minute seaplane ride from Malé International Airport.
Once at Niyama, board a speedboat to the dock at SubSix, about 500m offshore, 10 to 15 minutes depending on how choppy the water is.
Once there, descend a grand staircase 6m below sea level, pull up a seat at the clam-inspired Subsix Bar, and marvel at the majesty of aquatic life careening by, such as hawksbill turtles, moray eels and rainbow-hued fish.
Although the menu of sips is extensive, it seems most appropriate to pop a bottle of Dom Perignon and toast your surreal surroundings with a glass of bubbly.
Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
The vast, cold and rocky landscape of the Gobi Desert, considered the world’s fifth-largest, is home to the Thirsty Camel Bar. Located in Omnogobi Aimag, Mongolia’s southernmost province, the bar is surrounded by such natural wonders as snow leopards, Gobi bears, desert basins and the Mongol Altai mountain range.
The weather is volatile and given to extremes, with drastic shifts in temperature. Getting to Three Camel Lodge requires a 90-minute flight from the capital Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad on the edge of the Gobi Desert. From there, it is another 90-minute drive by off-road vehicle to reach the lodge in Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park.
Camp Kalahari, Botswana
Calling the bar at Camp Kalahari an “oasis” is fitting, as it is in the heart of Botswana’s dry savanna in Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve, where there is a large concentration of salt pans - vast deserts where little wildlife can endure extreme conditions of harsh winds and scorching heat.
It’s a place where “nothingness stretches as far as the eye can see, and so quiet that one can actually see the curve of the Earth and hear the blood circulate through their ears”, said Dave van Smeerdijk, a founder of the Natural Selection chain of lodges, of which Camp Kalahari is a member.
One can contemplate philosophical musings at Camp Kalahari’s rustic lodge bar with a classic gin and tonic. The space exudes old-world charm and is crammed with wooden chests, maps, soft cushions and portraits of intrepid explorers.
The Old Forge, Scotland
Located in the village of Inverie on the Knoydart Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands, the Old Forge is Britain’s most remote pub, and quite good, according to Peter Irvine’s book, Scotland the Best.
There are no roads to it; the nearest accessible town is Mallaig, itself a four-hour ride north-west of Glasgow. Once in Mallaig, the only way to access the pub is via a 30km hike over a Highlands mountain pass or a 11km sea crossing. Despite the numerous obstacles, visitors who rise to the challenge are rewarded generously with seafood feasts and local brews upon arriving.