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While rooftop bars feature impressive views — and sometimes from nosebleed-inducing heights — there’s a different sort of attraction to bars that are hidden underground or underwater since they offer a shared sense of intimacy and are often in spectacular or historic hideaway venues. These 9 subterranean bars from the Maldives to lower Manhattan each have their own visual flair and special atmosphere — the one thing they all have in common: they’re not recommended for anyone who gets claustrophobic.
Location: Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, Frankfurt, Germany
Atmosphere: Young, sophisticated crowd
The Lowdown: While, ironically, the namesake for this underground restaurant and bar is the open-air Breeze restaurant located on the 51st and 52nd floors of the Tower Club at Lebua in Bangkok, the Frankfurt version specializes in themed flights of cocktails, including its “smoke” series.
2. Cave Bar
Location: Hotel More, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Atmosphere: Smart, but casual
The Lowdown: Located along the seaside, the Cave Bar is a well-lit, well-appointed natural cavern that spans more than three levels and can accommodate about 60 guests.
3. [The Other] Cave Bar
Location: Petra Guest House Hotel, Petra (Wadi Musa), Jordan
Atmosphere: Casual, but lively
The Lowdown: Situated inside a 2000-year-old Nabataen rock tomb in the Petra archaeological area, the Cave Bar is known for its comfort food and party-friendly atmosphere.
Location: Conrad Ragali Island Hotel, Maldives
Atmosphere: Smart, underwater (no scuba gear)
The Lowdown: This restaurant and bar that opens mid-morning for cocktails is the only underwater bar and restaurant in the world that’s completely glass enclosed, featuring views of fish and coral reefs on every side.
5. The Library
Location: Underneath the Gilt Bar, Chicago
Atmosphere: The swankiest library you’ve ever been in
The Lowdown: Located downstairs at this River North venue, The Library presents a cozy atmosphere featuring craft cocktails and a substantial bar menu full of gluten-free and vegetarian fare.
Locations: Museum Hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey
Atmosphere: Upscale and touristy
The Lowdown: This Relais & Chateaux property is situated in a series of restored ruins, caves and ancient houses. In addition to the hotel’s cavernous Lil’a restaurant and bar, you can set up your own private overnight speakeasy in the Sultan’s Cave Suite, an outrageously cool space accessed only by a cave tunnel, outfitted with a ceiling window for stargazing and a wine cellar stocked with regional wines.
Location: East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield Market, London
Atmosphere: British world explorer — music lovers and history buffs, rejoice!
The Lowdown: Nestled underneath London’s historic Smithfield Market, Oriole features world music from jazz to calypso in a setting full of curios collected from around the globe — the cocktails here are imaginatively created with references from across the map as well.
8. The Ship
Location: 158 Lafayette Street, New York City
Atmosphere: Seated elegance
The Lowdown: This downstairs bar in Lower Manhattan keeps it cozy with booths big enough for parties of up to six and serves small plates to match its well-chosen menu of cocktails, wines and beers.
Location: 1800 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Atmosphere: After-work hang out
The Lowdown: This friendly and adult party-ish walk-down bar with its own outside entrance is situated underneath the Doi Moi restaurant and offers daily, hand-illustrated menus of its currently featured cocktails.
Have you visited any of these bars? Which ones are now on your travel bucket list? Sound off, below.
Featured image courtesy of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s Facebook page.
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