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10 Pubs Located in Unusual Places

by Lorna Wallace
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

There are millions of pubs scattered across the globe, and with so many, it’s really no surprise that a few drinking establishments have been built in rather odd places. These days, bars made entirely of ice are expected in cold regions, as are mountain top pubs for thirsty hikers and skiers—there’s even an Irish pub in Namche Bazaar at the foot of Mount Everest!

So when the local pub around the corner just won’t do, here are 10 bars around the world built in strange and unusual places.

Related: 10 Unique Restaurants: From Simply Fabulous To Downright Bizarre

10 Wasbar: A Bar in a Laundromat

Wasbar is a franchise in Belgium that combines a laundromat with a bar and restaurant. Designed for those who hate wasting time while waiting for the washing machine to be done with its cycle, Wasbar provides a place for people to eat and drink in the meantime. The washing machines that line the room cost €6 (around $6.50) per use, while the dryers cost €3 ($3.25).

Wasbar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the menu including pancakes, bagels, and salads. For those interested in drinks, there’s coffee, fruit juice, beer, and cocktails on offer. The location in Ghent is also home to a hair salon, so people can do a load of laundry, sip a cocktail, and have their hair cut all at the same time.[1]

9 Floating Bar and Restaurant Lamu: A Bar in the Indian Ocean

Touring a Floating Bar In The Indian Ocean : EXTRAORDINARY PLACE

There are many boozy boats sailing the waters of the world, but a little less common are floating buildings that offer up alcoholic refreshments. One such unusual structure is the Floating Bar and Restaurant Lamu, which drifts between Lamu Island and Manda Island in Kenya. The small buildings of the bar have proper walls and roofs, and everything is suspended on a platform that bobs on 200 pressurized barrels.

Alcohol isn’t popular in Lamu due to its largely Muslim community, but tourists wanting a tipple can head onto the floating bar. “I enjoy meeting many people from different backgrounds each day,” says owner Frida Njogu. Given that the whole bar is floating, there’s no electricity, so the drinks are stored in coolers filled with ice. There’s also plenty of fresh seafood on offer. [2]

8 Cahoots: A Bar in an Underground Air Raid Shelter

BBC Travel Show Cahoots

When London was being bombed during WWI and WWII, people took shelter in the city’s underground tube system. In 2015, one such disused shelter—Kingly Court Underground Station—was turned into a 1940s-themed speakeasy called Cahoots. There are three spaces in the bar, but the star of the show is called the Underground, which is a subterranean space in the old tube station, complete with a life-size tube carriage (that’s a train car to those in the States).

Patrons of the train car bar can sip on drinks with fun era-appropriate names such as “Dig for Victory,” “Uncle Sam’s Snack Box,” and “Keep Marm and Carry On.” For those wanting a truly immersive experience, every Saturday, there’s an event called the Black Market Knees-Up. As well as drinks, revelers are treated to tasty rations, live entertainment, games, and a quiz.[3]

7 Alux Restaurant & Lounge: A Bar in a Cave

Spectacular restaurant in a cave- Alux, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

For another underground bar, head to Alux Restaurant & Lounge in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Alux is built into a naturally formed cave adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. The atmosphere is dark and moody, as would be expected of a cave, but stark lighting in shades of pink, green, and blue highlights the impressive rock formations.

Alux isn’t just one wide open cave; as well as the main dining area, there are also private caves (called VIP Vaults) for drinkers and diners who want a more intimate setting. However, patrons should beware of the bats that live in the cave and occasionally dive bomb people’s dinner and drinks.[4]

6 The Fenn Bell Inn: A Zoo Pub

The Fenn Bell Inn – The Pub with a Zoo

The Fenn Bell Inn in Kent, England, is both a pub and a zoo. Husband and wife team Andy and Kelly Cowell bought the pub in 2014, and their collection of rescue animals took up residence on the adjoining land. “We took in pets people didn’t want, and we got visitors coming around to see them all,” Andy told The Mirror in 2017.

A pair of pigs called Ginger and Spice were the first animals to join the pack, but with the pub up and running, the Cowell’s had plans to introduce some more exotic creatures into their menagerie, so they applied for an official zoo license. In 2017, the Fenn Bell Inn became the first pub to be granted this license, allowing the Cowells to legally own any animal as long as they could adequately provide for its care. The land the pub is on isn’t large enough for animals such as elephants and giraffes (although the Cowells may buy neighboring land to expand their space). Still, there are parrots, monkeys, lemurs, meerkats, and more.

The profits from the pub are essentially used to pay for the cost of the animals, but patrons shouldn’t expect to hold a pint of beer in one hand and pet a lemur with the other because there are strict safety rules in place.[5]

5 The William Creek Hotel: A Pub in the Australian Outback

The William Creek Hotel

Australia’s Outback is known for being arid and, as a result, unpopulated. Still, every so often, this massive swathe of land is interrupted by a pub. These few-and-far-between buildings don’t just sell alcohol; they also provide a sometimes crucial pit stop for travelers to restock on water, food, and fuel for their vehicles.

One such Outback pub is the William Creek Hotel Bar on the Oodnadatta Track near Lake Eyre. “For up to 400 k’s [roughly 250 miles] around this place, this is considered the local,” explains owner Trevor Wright. Other pubs in the middle of the Outback include The Birdsville Hotel, which is on the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival Trail, and Mt. Dare Hotel, which sits on the Western edge of the Simpson Desert.

If you ever find yourself in the baking heat of the Australian Outback, rest assured that you will eventually be able to track down a cold pint. It just might take a few hundred miles.[6]

4 The Yeoman Warders Club: The Exclusive Pub in the Tower of London

Inside the pub where Beefeaters hang out | City Secrets | Time Out London

Many exclusive bars in the world are reserved for the rich and famous, but one private bar in London is for those with a somewhat different pedigree. Within the walls of the Tower of London is the Yeoman Warders Club (aka The Keys). This pub only serves the Tower’s ceremonial guards, called Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters, and their guests. The bar is also staffed by Beefeaters, who take it in turns to work two-week shifts pulling pints.

Not just anyone is allowed to be a Yeoman Warder, though, with candidates needing to have served in the armed forces—army, navy, marines, and air force all qualify—for a minimum of 22 years, as well as needing to have gained a medal for good conduct during their service. Anyone lacking those qualifications will need to buddy up to a Beefeater if they want to drink at this pub. Along with its unusual location, there are also Yeomen Warder dress uniforms on display and a couple of exclusive beers on tap. Otherwise, it’s essentially a typical English pub.[7]

3 El Avión Restaurant and Bar: A Bar in a Grounded Airplane

AIRPLANE RESTAURANT in Costa Rica / Must try restaurant in 2023

The Fairchild C-123 Provider that takes center stage at El Avión Restaurant and Bar in Costa Rica isn’t just any old plane. It was bought by the CIA during the scandalous Iran-Contra Affair of the 1980s, which involved American officials illegally selling arms to Iran. After its sister plane was shot down (which led to the revelation of the whole affair), the C-123 was abandoned at San José Mineta International Airport. It sat there until 2000 when the owners of El Avión bought it and moved it to its current resting place in Puntarenas Province.

A canopy was built over the cargo plane, with diners eating around it and enjoying views out to the ocean. The interior of the plane was converted into a bar, where patrons can drink margaritas, beers, cocktails, and wine. People can even sit in the cockpit of the grounded plane.[8]

2 Faraday Bar: A Bar in the Antarctic

Antarctica 2020 | Vernadsky Research Base Vodka at World’s Southermost Bar & Historic Wordie House

There aren’t many buildings in the Antarctic, but at the Vernadsky Research Base on Galindez Island, there is a pub. Called Faraday Bar, it was originally built by carpenter Keith “Cat” Larratt for the British researchers working on the freezing island. In a letter written in 2009, Larratt said the bar was intended “to bring laughter and a feeling of warmth to what was the most miserable and unloved base in the Antarctic.”

In 1996, the British left, and the Ukrainians moved in, with the bar being sold to the newcomers for just £1 (about $1.25). There isn’t a dedicated barman, so the researchers and other workers at the base (cooks, mechanics, etc.) take turns pulling shifts behind the bar. Supply shipments to the island only come in once a year, so they also distill their own vodka, making it not only one of the most remote pubs in the world but also one of the most remote distilleries.[9]

1 Neptune Bar: A Bar on an Unpopulated Island

Regatta Racing – day 4 Neptune Regatta

Pulau Sikeling is one of Indonesia’s unpopulated islands, and as such, there isn’t much need there for a bar or anything else really. That is until the hundreds of competitors taking part in the Neptune Regatta sail into the area every Chinese New Year. As the island is uninhabited, the sailors have to bring everything they need with them—including beer, rum, ice, cups, and food.

For just a few days a year, a rundown shack becomes the Neptune Bar, a lively drinking joint. The only other structures on the island are basic kitchen facilities and a few huts that can be slept in. Anyone wanting to enjoy a tipple at this remote bar either has to take part in the Regatta or has to charter their own boat.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen