Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Long way for a drink

The Old Forge (PA)
The Old Forge, Scotland

The Old Forge pub is officially mainland Britain's most remote pub. You can't reach it by road: access is via a seven mile sea crossing from the fishing port of Mallaig or an 18 mile hike across the mountains. Once arrived, however, you're in for a treat: the pub is famous for its seafood and the views from the garden are second to none.
If too many pints of Hebridean Gold leave you unable to contemplate the 18 mile hike or seven mile sail home, there's a bunkhouse and campsite.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


The Nutshell Pub, Bury-St-Edmonds (Nutshell pub and Geoff Page)
The Nutshell, Bury-St-Edmonds

This Bury St Edmonds pub might be tiny - it measures just 15ft by 7ft - but that hasn't stopped the proprietors packing it to the rafters with curios of a kind not normally found in your local - from a mummified cat to a false leg and an aeroplane propeller. Certified by Guinness World Records as the smallest pub in Britain, the building came into existence as a fruiterer in 1844, before opening as a pub and Museum of Art and Curiosities in 188

Monday, 23 May 2011

In the drink

The Pilchard Inn, Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-sea, Devon (Burgh Island)
The Pilchard Inn, Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-sea, Devon

We all know that sinking feeling when we're out for the night and we discover the last train home left half an hour ago. At the Pilchard Inn, on Burgh Island, in Devon, however, drinkers who lose track of time could well find their way home has been swallowed up by the sea - the pub is separated from the mainland at high tide.
Luckily a sea tractor ferries customers back and forth during high tide, and outside these times thirsty customers can walk the short distance to the island.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Spook spirits

The Safe House, Milwaukee, US (The Safe House)
The Safe House, Milwaukee, US

Information about this spy-themed Milwaukee bar is hard to come by, which is exactly the way the owners want it. There's no sign outside - just a wall plaque for International Exports Ltd, the bar's cover name - and visitors are asked for a password before entering through a secret door. Customers who don't know the code are made to do a dance on the spot, with the results filmed by hidden cameras and shown on huge wall-mounted screens inside the bar.
Within the nondescript building, there are secret passages, two-way mirrors, spy holes built into the walls and telephone booths with background noise for "agents not wishing to reveal their exact location".

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Falling out of your tree

The Big Baobab pub, Limpopo, South Africa (Www.fullhouse.co.za)
The Big Baobab pub, Limpopo, South Africa

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a bird, this South African pub in a tree perhaps approximates the experience. Despite its location, this watering hole in the province of Limpopo can accommodate around 50 people. The reason? Baobab trees, among the widest and oldest tree species in the world, start to hollow out naturally after 1,000 years - carbon dating has shown that this particular specimen is around 6,000 years old.
The naturally cool interior of the tree makes it the perfect place to sink a pint or two, and there's even a dartboard.

Friday, 20 May 2011

(Alien) drinking culture

HR Giger Museum Bar, Gruyères, Switzerland (Www.la-gruyere.ch)
HR Giger Museum Bar, Gruyères, Switzerland

This incredible-looking bar was designed by the artist and set designer HR Giger, best known for creating the Alien in the film of the same name. The association isn't hard to spot here, with the huge arched ceiling criss-crossed by rows of fibreglass vertebrae, chairs that look like spinal cords and tables studded with skulls.
Visitors have likened drinking at the bar to being inside the stomach of a giant whale - you might call drinking there an acquired taste. Giger's bar, which took three years to build, is located in the same building as a museum devoted to the artist's paintings, sculptures and film designs.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Fancy a squeeze?

The Signal Box Inn, Cleethorpes (Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway)
The Signal Box Inn, Cleethorpes

If you're a budding train spotter who likes nothing more than to sink a thirst-quenching pint as you admire the 2:41 from Kings Cross, the cosy Signal Box Inn is definitely for you. Measuring, in tune with its name, just 2.4 metres x 2.4 metres, this downsized watering hole is unofficially (the owners haven't got round to registering the record with Guinness) the world's smallest pub.
Housed in what was originally the signalman's hut at Lakeside Station on Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, the inn was opened in 2006 and, despite its size, serves up an impressive collection of local ales along with the obligatory bar snacks.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bar by boat

The Pelican Bar, Jamaica (Jamaicatravelandculture.com)
The Pelican Bar, Jamaica

Visitors to this Jamaican watering hole could end up feeling slightly the worse for wear before they arrive, rather than the morning after, thanks to its location off the coast. The unusual bar is the creation of a local fisherman, Floyd Forbes, who dreamt one night of a bar built on stilts, above the water.
The original bar was destroyed in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan, but rebuilt. Patrons who make the 20 minute boat journey can enjoy a cold beer and some of Floyd's legendary fried fish before taking a dip.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Clinical alcohol

The Croft Institute, Melbourne, Australia (Paul Louis Villani)
The Croft Institute, Melbourne, Australia

Hidden away down a slightly sinister network of alleyways, the Croft Institute
is renowned for its range of imported and microbrewery beers, but it's also one of the strangest drinking establishments you'll ever come across. The first floor houses a mock laboratory - the bar once made its own vodka here - while the top floor is kitted out like a 1930s gymnasium, complete with turf-covered bar.
The toilets are also one of a kind, with hospital beds for seating and medical-grade eye washing facilities - perhaps useful for washing out those beer goggles as the evening staggers on.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Acting like cave men

La Kiva, Terlingua, Texas (La KIva)
La Kiva, Terlingua, Texas

This Texas cave bar was the brainchild of a former school teacher, Gilbert Felts, who built La Kiva in the late 80s, although it's now run by his nephew, Glenn. To kick off the cave (man) theme, the men's urinal consists of a metal pot, which was once a flower planter before Gilbert stole it from his mother. If that's not enough, the bar's mascot is a fossilised Penisaurus Erectus, set into the wall.
Unfamiliar with said animal? That's because it never actually existed - the creature is a figment of Felts's imagination, the fossilised "remains" being in fact made of miscellaneous animal bones.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The leaning pub of Staffordshire

The Crooked House, Himley, Staffordshire (Ian Beach)
The Crooked House, Himley, Staffordshire

The crooked appearance of this 18th-century Black Country pub is a result of subsidence caused by local mining. Despite being condemned in the 1940s, the building was later purchased by Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries who reinforced it with a series of buttresses and girders and ensured the pub's survival to the present day.
Despite these precautionary measures, one end of the building remains 4ft lower than the other; inside, things are just as confusing, with wonky grandfather clocks, tilting floors and crooked doorways. Glass seals placed over cracks are carefully monitored: if the glass breaks, it means the pub is on the move once more.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Clinic, Singapore

Drinkers at Clinic face a constant reminder of where they might end up if they over-indulge - this Singapore bar is designed to resemble a hospital, complete with wheelchairs for seating, tables shaped like pills and booths divided by hospital screens. As for the drinks, forget Sex on the Beach - here it's Sex on a Drip (served in a blood bag, naturally) and vodka-infused cocktails served in first aid kits.