What makes some bars so heftily overpriced? In cities, it's usually their metropolitan markup, 'luxury' entertainment and snooty waiters, whereas in more tropical areas it's generally down to prime location and stunning beach vistas. But if you consider anything around the $15 mark pretty extortionate for a drink, then you may find yourself weeping over what's to come.
There are bars out there that will make a hefty dent in your wallet, whereas others will irrevocably bankrupt you and leave your future generations destitute. From swanky taverns serving custom cocktails made with diamonds, to dives built 20 feet under the ocean and one watering hole made entirely out of ice, here is a rundown of ten of the most expensive bars in the world (and which you should probably avoid at all costs - if you value your bank balance).
10 The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel, Mayfair
The Savoy’s swanky American Bar is the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain, having first welcomed its guests to sip on vintage American-style drinks way back in 1893. Not exactly old, for Britain’s standards. Or old enough to justify the whopping $150 per White Lady, a classic cocktail made from Cointreau, Gordon’s Gin and lemon juice.
Of course, the prices (ranging anywhere between $18 and $200) could have something to do with the pianist, who rolls out Jazz tunes every night, come rain or shine, bringing ritzy vibes to the mix. His tunes are a nod to the Savoy Songbook - the custom cocktail menu where each beverage is based on a famous song.
Still unconvinced? Don’t worry, we were too, until we found out they had their very own jingle.
9 The Icebar at The Ice Hotel, Jukkasjärvi
Unsurprisingly, Sweden is where the ice bar craze first lay its chilly foundations, and there’s none like The Icebar at The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi. Every year the bar changes thanks to artists around the world who come together to re-sculpt its interior. No need to order your drink on the rocks - it’s served inside one. The ice comes from the Torne River itself and drinks cost about 115 SEK ($11) so it’s not on the most expensive end of the spectrum.
The snow dance floor is a hit with the visitors, and with temperatures ranging between 0 and -5, you’ll want to get your blood pumping.
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8 Subsix Underwater Bar, the Maldives
You’d expect a bar built 20 feet under the Indian Ocean to be expensive, it kind of goes with the territory, or lack thereof. But the Subsix Underwater Bar, located off the island of Maldives, takes alfresco dining to a whole new level. You can only reach this watering hole by boat and slowly make your descent into the depths of the ocean via a dramatic stairway.
The nautical view is well worth this underwater odyssey. As you sip on $22 cocktails (the most expensive item on the menu is a Hennessy cognac for £312) ordered from the clam-shaped bar, shoals of parrot fish, damselfish, eels and Hawksbill turtles swim lazily by, while your anemone chair gently massages your back.
7 XS Nightclub, Las Vegas
XS Nightclub in Las Vegas has its very own drink, the Ono - which will set you back at least $10,000. Put into perspective, that's essentially a thousand dollars per sip. So what gives? Well, you could say that it’s a royal affair, what with Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1981 and Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl cognac.
And, if that wasn’t swanky enough, it comes with a pair of men’s silver cufflinks and a woman’s 18k white-gold chain - not too shabby a present, we admit. But can it justify $10,000? Well, we don't know for sure, but we wouldn't recommend you taking your date there in an attempt to show off. Just a tip.
6 The Peak Bar, Tokyo
The Peak Bar is one of Tokyo’s most prolific bars, with soaring views of the Nishi-Shinjuku skyscrapers extending across the horizon. You’re mostly paying for the view, as one drink can cost ¥4,000 plus tax and service ($40), but there are also live DJ tunes during the week - making for some cool entertainment.
Still, from 5-8 pm there's the Twilight Time, the bar's happy hour, where you can feast on unlimited canapés and all-you-can-drink booze. 3 hours is plenty of time to knock back that pricey brew, just don't overdo it, it's a long way back down to the street.
5 Playboy Club, Mayfair
Playboy Club offers its guests a certain special something - and no, it’s not necessarily the bunny waitresses, or the club’s unique selling point: luxury as an everyday experience. Instead, it’s Salvatore’s Legacy, one of the world’s most expensive cocktails and maestro bartender Salvatore Calabrese’s brainchild.
It's made from a 1788 cognac, a kümmel from 1770 and an orange curaçao from 1860, among others. If you want to sip on a drink that’s won a Guinness World Record and costs $7,000 - this bar’s the spot for you.
4 The Coccaro Beach Club, Puglia
One for all the beach lovers out there: the Coccaro Beach Club is the perfect spot to relax in the evening and sip on a crisp cocktail while soaking up the last Italian rays of sunshine on a golden Italian beach.
While it’s a winner with its lavish gazebos and beach-themed drinks, this novelty comes at a high price: the cheapest alcoholic drinks starts at $8 per glass of wine, and while that might not seem like loads, the salads are $17 per plate. Our advice? Take a packed lunch.
3 Bad Luck Bar, Detroit
Detroit is known for many things; motors and sports stadiums included, and expensive bars are not usually among them. But that’s just because you haven’t heard of the Bad Luck Bar, the city’s hidden cocktail dive. You can’t make reservations, so either turn up to test your luck or call ahead on the night.
The Admiral is the bar’s most expensive cocktail, sold for $80 per glass, and made from a blend of rums that tastes like pure fire (this brew literally smokes when poured).
2 Duvet, New York City
The bed-themed bar was perfect for dreaming of puttin’ on the ritz. Although this dig is now permanently closed, it still deserves a mention on this list for one of its signature drinks, which for a while at least, was all the rage in New York.
Called the Platinum Passion, it cost $6,000 per bottle. First introduced on Valentine’s Day in 2005 – presumably to put new relationships to the test – this drink includes Ruinart Champagne, passion fruit, honey, brown sugar, and L’esprit de Courvoisier. At those prices, it's unsurprising that the place closed down, though we're guessing that the fees to wash duvet sheets every day probably didn't help.
1 The Bar Hemingway, Hôtel Ritz Paris
One famous drinker, Ernest Hemingway, enjoyed the Hotel Ritz-Paris for its lively opulence and free-flowing booze. Today, a bar that bears his name sells a drink called the Sidecar, which was popular in his Parisian heydey, the 1920s.
But the Sidecar made here includes a champagne Cognac from between 1830-1870 – which is rumored to have been stowed away from pesky Nazi soldiers during WWII. One glass will run you $1,670.