8 Incredible Floating Bars Around the World
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Bars can be great places of relaxation, especially when they float. Whether they’re on lakes and rivers or at the edges of the sea, these establishments combine the pleasures of the drink and being on the water. We’ve already outlined some of the best bars we know of, whether they’re underwater or underground, have incredible views or sport the coolest rooftop scene in America or around the world. Now, we’ve chosen eight floating bars — from New York to Fiji — each unique in its atmosphere and setting, each providing a different experience and every one worth a dip.
1. Cloud 9
Location: Ro Ro Reef off Port Denarau, Fiji.
Atmosphere: A two-deck floating platform with mostly open sides.
Dress Code: Swimsuit casual.
Why Go? It’s the ultimate day trip, ideal with vacationing friends and full of swimming, snorkeling, drinking, eating and relaxing. Take a 45-minute boat ride in the morning from Port Denarau and return mid-afternoon. Cloud 9 is outfitted with fully stocked bar, pizza oven, sunning deck, hanging chairs, daybeds and toilets. The bar also works with the Mamanuca Environmental Society to catalog and save the reefs off which it is anchored.
2. Brooklyn Barge
Location: 3 Milton Street, just off Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
Atmosphere: A smooth-decked, open barge outfitted with cable-spool tables and folding chairs.
Dress Code: Casual.
Why Go? This easily accessible barge in the East River is great for watching the setting sun over the fabulous NYC skyline. Plus, it’s got 10 beers on tap, tacos and burgers as well as other diet-friendly options. Brooklyn Barge is also involved in promoting the surrounding community, including working with an oyster restoration program and running several educational activities.
Location: At Eichenstrasse 4 on the Spree River, adjacent to Arena Berlin in Germany.
Atmosphere: A three-part floating beach and swimming pool, with full bar facilities at the entrance.
Dress Code: Smart swimming attire.
Why Go? This is as close as you’ll get to a sophisticated, urban beach crowd — the admission price is unbelievably reasonable and it’s within walking distance of most downtown hotels. Plus, Badeschiff (“bathing ship” in German) was created in 2004 as an art project to help bring urban life to Spree-side. Its swimming pool, which is 26 x 105 feet, was created out of a ship’s hull.
4. The Houseboat Grill
Location: Alice Eldemire Drive on the Freeport Peninsula in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Atmosphere: Located just a few feet offshore, The Houseboat Grill has fine international fusion dining on two levels, with a closed dining room below and an open deck and separate bar above.
Dress Code: Casually elegant, although heels not recommended.
Why Go? For the food, the sunsets and especially the bar’s happy hour, which opens earlier than the dining room. Additionally, its location is close for travelers staying in town. The Houseboat started as a 1970’s nightclub and served as Steve McQueen’s unofficial HQ during the filming of Papillon. It also attracted a host of musical stars when it was used as the staging room for the Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, Sting and Aretha Franklin during a local music festival.
5. Willy T
Location: Anchored in the Bight at Norman Island, British Virgin Islands.
Atmosphere: Accessible by water taxi, Willy T is a small, steel-hulled vessel converted into a self-described “bistro on the briny” with a main and upper deck — both of which are open. There’s a full bar and a menu that leans toward burgers and BBQ, complete with seating at picnic tables.
Dress Code: Casual beach wear.
Why Go? If you like a rowdy, fun-loving party bar, your ship has come in — and as the day wears on, diving into the bay from the top deck has been known to happen. The Willy T — officially the William Thornton — was originally a wooden bar turned-restaurant, but one night it sprang a leak and sank into the sea. In 1996, the owners found a 100-foot replacement in Florida — this one with a steel hull — and the Willy T was recommissioned.
Location: Between the Hinode Pier and Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, Japan.
Atmosphere: A very futuristic, sleek, enclosed vessel with lots of spaceship windows, Jicoo begins the evening at Hinode Pier and shuttles back and forth between the two docks for the rest of the evening for one admission fee, so stay on as long as you like and get off at either place. Expect a club-like atmosphere with a dance floor, beer, wine and cocktails.
Dress Code: Smart.
Why Go? Jicoo is like a nightclub on the water, so it’s a great place to go for a slice of urban Tokyo life on those nights when you don’t just want to sit on a bar stool. Another fascinating tidbit: the bar takes its name from the Japanese word jiku, which means “space time.”
7. Lagoon Bar at Blue Lagoon
Atmosphere: Blue Lagoon is a spa, eating and lodging complex constructed around a geothermal seawater pond. The large basin is chest deep and those who take to its curative waters are serviced by a float-up-to-it bar that serves wine, beer and other drinks. Think of it as a hot tub on steroids.
Dress Code: Spa casual.
Why Go? Because it feels like a healthy place to be even when you’re drinking wine or cocktails. In fact, some pool denizens cover their faces with the site’s therapeutic silica mud as they wade or float with companions — where else can you float and drink with mud on your face? The Blue Lagoon was created in 1976 when a geothermal energy plant was built on the site, and the owners of the recreational and health complex took advantage of what nature — and industry — had given them.
8. Floyd’s Pelican Bar
Location: Parottee Point, Jamaica
Atmosphere: The Pelican is a humble, thatch-roof hut resting on stilts in a sandbar less than a mile off the southern coast of Jamaica — the closest boat ride is from Parottee Point. In spite of its rustic appearance, it serves fish and lobster meals and the bar is heavy on cold beer.
Dress Code: Come as you are.
Why Go? Simply to chill out; channel your inner Rasta and drink lots of Red Stripe beer. The owner, Floyd Forbes, is said to have had a dream of a bar on stilts somewhere out in the ocean. Build it, Forbes thought, and they will come — he did, and they did. But the first bar was wiped out by a hurricane in 2001, so the current one is Floyd’s 2.0.
What are some of your favorite floating bars around the world? Tell us about them, below.
Featured image courtesy of Cloud 9.
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