BTR's Favorite Bars

By the Editorial Staff

It’s Adventure Week here on BTR and the Editorial Staff has decided to share some of our favorite bars around the world. We’ve got our bases covered from right here in New York to Puerto Rico to Malaysia.

Dane Feldman’s Pick: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort – Amelia Island, FL

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Perhaps it seems a bit strange to include a resort bar, but I’ve been to this resort a handful of times and the cocktails are consistently heavenly. Whether I’m looking to order one from the pool bar, the hotel lobby bar, or the restaurants on site, the options are always plentiful, southern-inspired, and made with top-shelf liquor.

Unfortunately, the secret is out on this southernmost Sea Island resort, but the quality hasn’t changed and the service hasn’t either.

Tanya Silverman’s Pick: Market Lane Tuak Shop – Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Photo by Tanya Silverman.

Behind a gritty, rugged facade of weathered, white rock, past some splintery wooden benches and tables, and into the middle of a wired cage filled with local Indian-Malaysian pensioners sits a grand urn of toddy. Delivered fresh daily, toddy (or tuak) is wine derived from the palm of a coconut flower. Light tasting, slightly sweet, and low in alcohol content, toddy serves as a fitting beverage to casually cool down when you’re constantly sweating from the sultry Southeast Asian climate.

Though rustic and dusty, Penang’s Market Lane Tuak Shop is a fine spot to relax in the shade and listen to members of the elder generation reminisce about bygone times, be it British colonial education, the price of rice snacks when they were young, or climbing up the tall coconut tree to pick fruit for grandma.

Jess Goulart’s Pick: Madam Geneva – New York, NY

Photo by Jess Goulart.

New York City has no shortage of speakeasies, but most of them are so popular they’re hardly a secret anymore. Madam Geneva is a rare exception in that it’s managed to escape the public circuit enough that you can still cozy up on its dark leather couches and enjoy some of THE best gin-based cocktails in the world. Located right next to Saxon + Parole in NoHo, the unmarked brick building opens into black and white tiled floors, sultry lighting, and intricate steel lace decor circa the liquor-drowned London of old. Back then, gin (known as geneva) was all the proletariat could procure to take the edge off after a hard day’s work. Luckily, far from being distilled in a bathtub, this bar imports nothing but the finest spirits from around the world and has amassed a collection unlike any other.

Molly Freeman’s Pick: The Chanticleer – Ithaca, NY

Photo by Molly Freeman.

Located just outside The Commons in downtown Ithaca, NY, The Chanticleer–or Chanti for short–is known by many as “the rooster bar” due to its neon-lit sign and sits near the heart of the nightlife in this college town. However, although it’s only a few steps off the beaten path, this dive bar was still relatively free of college students. Both the patrons and the bartenders were comprised of locals who had little to do with (and plenty of distaste for) either Ithaca College or Cornell University.

Chanti became a favorite of mine toward the end of my senior year of college for two reasons: it was a haven away from the typical college bar atmosphere and the bar’s well whiskey (which I’ve never been able to find elsewhere) was absolutely delicious. Additionally, the bartenders were always knowledgeable about the drinks and the area. All in all Chanti was a great place to hang out that never got too crowded with college students.

Lisa Autz’ Pick: El Batey – San Juan, PR

Photo courtesy of Jorge Gonzalez.

This place has been a quintessential bar of El Viejo San Juan since my sixty-year-old mother was bopping around the town in her college years. It’s one of the oldest bars in San Juan and is a graffiti covered den of rock n’ roll in the urban tropics. It’s a laid-back spot with lampshades consisting of hundreds of pinned up business cards, a jukebox, a pool table, and an array of prophetic messages in different languages on the walls. The bar is operated by an elderly man from the States who was captured by the Puerto Rican leisurely way of life and decided to bring his classic rock enthusiasm into the mix of the island rhythms. Don’t forget to grab a cold Medalla beer and find a spot to pin up your business card on the lampshades–it’s tradition!