Bars & Pubs

Hamburg’s Man-dergarten

If it turns out that all you really need to know you didn’t learn in kindergarten then you can always try learning it at Maennergarten.

At least you could if you are an adult male in Northern Germany

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4 Cool Ideas For
Short Term Work Abroad

'Working' on a sailboat plying tropical waters—that's a tough gig to beat.

Long term travel does not have to come at the expense of long term debt. In a nod to Buy Nothing Day (which is the day after the American Thanksgiving which occurs on the 4th Thursday in November), Spot Cool Stuff takes a look at five jobs that can be weaved into travels abroad. Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list of work abroad possibilities. Instead, it’s a glimpse at four ideas for defraying the cost of a long trip while also getting an immersive cultural experience.

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The Orlando ICEBAR

You may before have ordered a vodka on the rocks. Well, how about a vodka in the rocks? That’s on offer at what’s literally the coolest drinking establishment in Orlando: the ICEBAR.

Long time readers of the Spot Cool Stuff travel blog already know of the Orlando ICEBAR—we reviewed this bar with the overly-capitalized name in our article about ice bars located in warm places. Inside the ICEBAR 50 tons of ice are carved into counters, lounge chairs and, yes, even the glasses patrons drink out of.

Before and since our visit there we’ve heard mixed reports about it from readers. And so here’s some advice to those considering knocking back a cold one at the ICEBAR when in Orlando.

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The NYC Bar Where Prices Fluctuate Like Stocks

As politicians and international monetary officials work on reforms of financial institutions there’s a key commodities market they are failing to address—beer.

Case in point: The Exchange Bar & Grill, in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of New York City. At the Exchange Bar the price of beer constantly fluctuates depending on market forces within the bar.

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Waiter, There’s a Cold War Airplane in my Soup

Spot Cool Stuff loves when retired aircraft are put to creative (and environmentally friendly) uses. There’s the Boeing 747 that’s now a hotel in Stockholm. The helicopter B&B in Connecticut. And the former Russian aircraft that takes a Swiss bar and restaurant complex to new heights.

Said Swiss bar and restaurant complex is Runway 34, located adjacent to Zurich International Airport.

Said Russian aircraft is a lyushin-14T, used by the Soviet Union’s Air Force for transporting scientists and cosmonauts-in-training between Moscow and a secret military training facility during the Cold War. (It is rumored that the aircraft was personally used by Stalin, which would have been quite the feat for the former Soviet strongmen seeing how he died in 1953 and the lyushin-14T wasn’t built until 1957.)

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Monkey See, Monkey Wait Tables

Each monkey is limited to working a maximum of two hours a day; the Monkey-Waiter Union is powerful like that.

Tweleve-year-old Yat-chan learned how to wait tables by spending time watching the staff at a sushi restaurant.

That would not be an especially noteworthy feat except for this: Yat-chan is a monkey, one of three who tend to customers at the Kayabukiya Tavern in Utsunomiya, Japan.

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Wine Avec Design

At most of the world’s wine bars there’s a direct correlation between the quality of the decor, the quality of the wine and the snootiness of the clientele. At Chicago’s Avec Restaurant & Wine Bar high design and highly delicious wine have been refreshingly paired with a friendly, informal, atmosphere.

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Ice Bars In Warm Places

At almost any bar in the world you can get a drink with ice. At a few you can get a drink in ice. While sitting on seats made of ice. At a table made of ice. Surrounded by walls made of ice.

The concept of the ice bar originated, logically enough, in Sweden where both water and freezing temperatures are abundant. These icy drinking establishments soon became popular around Scandinavia, partly because they combined two elements Scandinavians tend to embrace (cold and alcohol) and partly because these bars’ LED lighting, artworks of frozen water and and intimate settings made them great places to chill out. (Pun. Sorry.)

Today, there are more than two dozen ice bars around the globe including ones in Amsterdam, London, Poland, Canada and Alaska. Not all of these frozen saloons are in places with cold climes. Hence this Spot Cool Stuff overview of ice bars in warm places.

For the purposes of this review, a “warm place” is anywhere it doesn’t snow in the winter and regularly gets hot in the summer. So, the ice bar in Beijing doesn’t count. The one in Shanghai would have had it not recently closed.

All of the selections on this list, like most of the ice bars anywhere, charge an entrance fee to get in. Usually this fee includes one free drink and use of cold-weather clothing that is designed as much to protect patrons from the bar’s sub-freezing temperatures as it is to protect the bar itself from the patrons’ body heat. To help keep their establishments below freezing, ice bars also have strict limits on the number of people allowed in.

And with that, let’s kick back with a cold one and tour the world’s ice bars in warm places . . .

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