Top secret bars of Europe

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Travelling to a new country means you get to explore so many things – the culture, the shopping, the nightlife…

Speaking of nightlife: what happens when you want to stumble across a lesser known bar? Somewhere that’s so secret, not even the locals necessarily know about it?

Steer clear of the tourist traps and take a look at these bars – they’re so under the radar, they’re the best hidden secret of Europe. 

Backdoor 43

Image credit: Dissapore

Backdoor 43, Milan

Where? Ripa di Porta Ticinese 43, 20143 Milano

Undoubtedly you’ve had lots of takeaways, but have you ever had a drinkaway?

Find the venue at 43 Ripa di Porta Ticinese in the Navigli district, and you’ll come across a doorway with a sign that states: “STOP! The smallest bar in the world”.

A bartender wearing a V for Vendetta mask will appear by your side, and one of two things will happen. You’ll either be given a key (for this, you’ll need to book ahead); or he’ll take your order and give you a cocktail in a takeaway cup.

If you opt for the second choice, be aware that you can only order one drink at a time – but the nearby canals make it a lovely place to go for a walk around.

Alternatively if you book ahead, then you’ll realise just how true the sign is – only fitting four people inside, it’s very small! You’ll get the bar to yourselves, where you can even pick the music. It’s very intimate, but if you’re looking for a different kind of experience, then this is one bar that’s well worth checking out!

Find out more about what to do in Milan here.

The Butcher

Image credit: My Hidden Gems

The Butcher, Amsterdam

Where? Albert Cuypstraat 129, 1053 BE Amsterdam

What may look like a seemingly normal burger joint (although they do serve very good burgers); actually offers more than what meets the eye.

Head straight to the back of the room and press the buzzer. To be allowed in, you need to give the secret passcode (this will only be given to you if you book in advance).

The bar itself has a speakeasy vibe – the décor is dark and sophisticated; and the cocktails fantastic. That’s probably why to those in the know; The Butcher is considered as one of the best cocktails bars in all of Amsterdam. Just don’t forget to book ahead if you want to experience the bar!

Harlem Jazz Club

Image credit: Time Out

Harlem Jazz Club, Barcelona

Where? Carrer de la Comtessa de Sobradiel 8, 08002 Barcelona

Tucked away in the small street of Barrio Gotico (a fifteen minute walk from Liceu metro station), this bar is a firm favourite amongst local and international jazz lovers – provided they can actually find the place, of course!

The atmosphere is always lively, whatever day of the week. Early in the evenings are when live gigs are held by some of the best jazz, blues and swing bars in town. The DJs play straight after, well into the early hours of the morning.

With its doors first opening in 1987, Harlem Jazz Club is home to a lot of history – Nelson Mandela even visited to chat with the locals.

If you’re into your music, then it’s a great place to go – although it’s best to arrive early as the place tends to fill up very quickly!

Tausend

Image credit: Top 10 Berlin

Tausend, Berlin

Where? Schiffbauerdamm 11, 10117 Berlin

This bar is about as exclusive as it gets in Berlin. Located under the train overpass, the entrance is unmarked. You’ll need to ring the bell on the iron door to be let in.

When you get inside, it’s like you’ve stepped back into the 1920s: the décor is very opulent. The bartenders put on a show, and the cocktail menu is vast, with a huge selection. Don’t be alarmed by the constant shaking of the floors – it’s just the S-Bahn that goes past every five minutes!

The bar gets more interesting as the night goes on, when it starts filling up (go early evening and it’s practically empty). However, the busier it gets, the more selective entry is, so make sure you dress up nice!

At the back of the bar is the restaurant Cantina. If you make a reservation there, then you can spend the rest of the evening in the bar. It’s definitely somewhere that’s worth trying out if you’re in the German capital.

Lidkoeb

Image credit: Travel and Leisure

Lidkoeb, Copenhagen

Where? Vesterbrogade 72B, 1620 København V

Located on the busy street of Vesterbrogade, about a ten minute walk from the central train station, you wouldn’t think Lidkoeb would be so difficult to find.

Well, you’d be wrong. You need to locate the correct alleyway, where you’ll find a courtyard. In the summer, tables are set up as a kind of open-air bar. However in the winter, you’ll need to head to the far right hand side, and open the door that takes you into this cosy drinking den.

The décor is quintessentially Scandi – pared back walls, wooden flooring; roaring fires and several sheepskin rugs to keep you warm in the cold weather.

The ground floor bar has an amazing choice of cocktails – all with a Nordic twist (mainly in the form of Aquavit); whereas the top floor is a dedicated whisky bar.

The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, and it’s a great place to sample some cocktails and settle in for the night.

Remember, you should always drink responsibly, and check the legal drinking age of the country you’re visiting!

Before you go on holiday, don’t forget to get your travel money sorted. For more money saving tips and advice, check out our blog.

Do not spend more than your disposable income allows. All information was correct at the time of writing.

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