Special thanks to Fathom contributors and venerable drinking buddies Katie Parla, Cyrena Lee, Arlene Gibbs, Erica Firpo, Kate Donnelly, and Stephanie March for their dedicated — and spirited! — research.
Sydney and Melbourne Tiptoe past the Kirketon Hotel lobby in Sydney (or down Malthouse Lane in Melbourne) to a world-renowned speakeasy with dark wood trimmings and a novella-sized cocktail list. Order a liquid nitrogen-chilled martini, wallow in wormwood from an absinthe fountain, or sip single malt whiskey until last call.
Rome The facial hair of the bar team is as intoxicating as the drinks they make at this old-fashioned, knock-for-entry speakeasy. A password will get you a bar experience unlike any other in Rome.
JBS (Jazz, Blues, Soul)
Tokyo In a small room a few flights up from the streets of Shibuya is a private collection of 11,000 rhythm and soul records, a turntable on a tiny bar, and an owner doubling as DJ and bartender (serving beer and whisky only) for vinyl-loving locals.
London Sip half-pints while literary types exchange banter and actors unwind on wine at this tiny Soho pub covered in cool black-and-white photos. A no-tech rule (strictly enforced) is refreshing and very welcome.
Head to the laid-back rooftop garden with a tiki cocktail in hand to catch the sun setting over old Chinatown shophouses and modern skyscrapers. Or go down one floor to the 1939 lounge for more intimate conversation.
This pub in one of Rome's nightlife epicenters was the first in central Rome to pour craft beers — most of the neighbors are still slinging Heineken, Corona, and Peroni — and since opening in 2001 has been a point of reference for serious beer drinkers, both local and visiting. The constantly rotating tap list features international and domestic brews, often rare and esoteric, and never boring.
The cocktails are great, the is service friendly, and the views are stellar at the hotel Viceroy in the British West Indies. Thursday nights call for a DJ. Between Christmas and New Years Day, the bar is open only for hotel guests.
The smallest bar in Scotland (with an impressively large selection of scotch) is located inside the terrific Ubiquitous Chip restaurant. After a few wee drams, retreat to the beautiful Victorian-era mews and courtyard for fresh air.