Two of the most enticing aspects of traveling, to most people at least, is to soak up the history and sample the beverages of the part of the world that you’re in. After all, fine French wine is very, very different from a hot bottle of Japanese sake.
Today’s topic allows you to delve into the best of both worlds, as we explore some of the world’s oldest functioning bars and pubs. While some of these have been standing for a mere few hundred years, others date all the way back to the age of ancient philosophers. However long these buildings have stood, you can rest assured that their booze is as fresh as you can get!
10 Al Brindisi (1435)
First up on the list is the Italian wine bar Al Brindisi, named by Guinness as the oldest osteria (Italian restaurant) in the world. In fact, Copernicus, the famous astronomer who discovered the placement of the sun, lived one story up from the bar and was a frequent visitor! Nowadays, the bar also functions as a restaurant serving authentic pasta and other Italian delights in addition to their drinks.
Visitors love the cozy atmosphere and the wide selection of spirits available. You can choose from vino fermo (still wine), vino frizzante (fizzy wine), or their famous bubbly Lambrusco, which is a rosé that’s recommended to pair with the Italian hams and other dishes.
9 Kyteler’s Inn (1324)
Although the original owner was accused of being a witch, you can bet that there’s nothing questionable about this well established Irish bar and restaurant! Visitors have described it as the perfect Irish experience, with amazing entertainment, hearty food, and fantastic booze.
Specifically, their beer garden is said to be one of the best in Ireland, featuring a cozy yet spacious atmosphere and clean, lovely conditions. Kyteler’s Inn continues to provide traditional Irish music and dances every night, further boosting the warm spirits. Be sure to pick up a slice of Banoffee pie along with your beer, for many guests have said it is scrumptious!
8 The Bingley Arms (953)
Awarded the oldest pub in England by the Guinness Book of World Records, The Bingley Arm is swamped with a huge amount of tradition, culture, and history. When it was built, it took on the name the Pries Inn, due to the fact that the majority of its customers were weary monks who desired bread and a pint of beer before heading home.
Nowadays, the Bingley Arms continues to serve fresh pints of beer and bread baked from its original Dutch oven. Some of the favorite drinks remain traditional Heineken beer, Yorkshire blonde ale, and a selection of their best gin. It’s truly a journey into history when you step into this ancient pub!
7 The Brazen Head (1198)
Next up, we have another Irish pub, this one located in the heart of Dublin. Noted as one of the oldest bars in Ireland, the Brazen Head has also been known throughout its history for serving delicious food. Currently, it is an extremely successful restaurant and bar combination that is also loved for its lively atmosphere and great music.
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Favored drinks include a selection of Irish whiskeys, gins, vodkas, and wines. Visitors recommend trying smoked cod, soda bread, and their baked Baileys cheesecake from their food menu. Plus, with the average price range being $5-$15, you can eat and drink your fill on a budget!
6 Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (1189)
Bars and pubs have been a part of the culture of England for many centuries, and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is quite the example! Rumor has it that King Richard the Lionheart himself has graced the bar with his presence before. Furthermore, certain areas of the bar are said to be haunted.
However, the ghost stories fail to detract from the bar’s popularity. Built into a series of caves, this joint serves up its booze in an eerie, cavern-like room that certainly looks its age! Travelers from all over the world come to Ye Olde Trip for a pint of beer and an out of this era experience.
5 Sean’s Bar (900)
For a pub that’s over 1100 years old, Sean’s Bar looks surprisingly well sustained. In fact, the analysis concluded that the interior of the walls is made of wattle and wicker, ancient Irish building materials.
The exterior of the building features faux Greek columns and a lovely red paint choice, reflecting the fiery spirit and warm energy found inside. Not only does Sean’s offer countless drink and food options, but they also have different Irish music performances every month. Visitors especially love the Irish mule cocktail coupled with a burger. Plus, with $5 draft beers and $6 beer specials, anyone can afford a pint at Sean’s.
4 Ye Olde Man & Scythe (1251)
Ye Olde Man & Scythe is yet another famous ancient bar in England. Legend has it that the 7th Earl of Derby had a famous last meal at the pub before being executed for his participation in the Bolton Massacre. The pub is famous for its authentic English tapped beer, although the cider is amongst favorites as well.
Composed of a series of small, cozy rooms, this bar is perfect for an evening with a close group of friends. The homey atmosphere is strengthened by the warm friendliness of staff members, and guests have given nothing but compliments to the quality of both the pub’s service and products.
3 Hofbräuhaus (1589)
Instead of Ireland or England, we’ll be taking a little excursion to Munich, Germany for our next winner. Established in the 16th century, the Hofbräuhaus remained a favorite not only to the citizens of Munich but to several famous figures throughout history. In fact, records state that Mozart, Lenin, and Hitler all thoroughly enjoyed their time at the bar.
According to history, when King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden invaded the area, he agreed to withdraw as long as he was compensated with thousands of barrels of beer from this specific bar! Today, you can get a taste of Hofbräuhaus beer for yourself and admire the beautiful, regal artworks featured within the bar too!
2 Zum Franziskaner (1421)
Zum Franziskaner is a Sweden bar that actually was established by German monks, who imported much of the famous spirits from their homeland. The result is a delightful mix of Swedish and German drinks and traditions at this well-aged pub, where guests from all over the world come to get a taste.
Specifically, visitors love the pub’s own special Weissbier or German wheat beer. Food-wise, the wienerschnitzel is recommended in addition to the classic sausage with sauerkraut. Additionally, the bar is praised for its good value, quick service, and amazing culture mix. Definitely add this pub to your destinations for Sweden!
1 Ye Olde Mitre Tavern (1546)
We’ll be finishing up today’s list with yet another bar from England! Interestingly enough, Ye Olde Mitre Tavern actually used to be a watering hole for servants but was repurposed in the 16th century. History also reveals that this bar is home to a famous cherry tree, under which Queen Elizabeth danced!
In presumably less graceful ways, criminals were also hung right outside this bar’s front door. Today, you can learn all about the Tavern’s history and traditions while sipping a glass of scotch. Furthermore, guests have also offered their compliments about the Tavern’s menu, especially their traditional sausages and pork pies.