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Monday, September 26, 2011

World's 50 best beach bars

Drink in hand, toes in sand: These classic beach bars do it better than anyone 
 
Anyone can stick up a shack on the sand, stock it with beers and call it a beach bar.
But what makes a great beach bar?

It could be the sand-in-your-toes factor, or the washing and hissing of the waves nearby, or the sunsets or the people you meet.

But the truth is there’s no formula, no magic ingredients that will guarantee a place in a list of the world’s best beach bars. 

We’ve included spots that range from the chic and the elite with smooth lines and mesmerizing cocktail waiters, to the haphazard, thrown-together shacks constructed from scavenged driftwood.

The only thing these places have in common is that once you’ve been, you inevitably start planning to get back there someday, somehow.

We know this list won't hit all the great beach bars around the world, so let us know -- which beach bars did we miss? Leave a comment.

50. La Plancha, Bali, Indonesia

La plancha beach bar
Kind of like a teen's dorm room, with less booze.

How did a simple beach shack beat out ultra luxe bars such as KU DÉ TA and Potatohead? By keeping it real. La Plancha’s laid-back reggae beats, ice-cold beers, oversized bean bags and jugs of potent sangria have made it the spot to be from 4 p.m. every day.
Surfers use the spot as a strip-down, wax-on spot before catching the last waves of the day. But La Plancha’s biggest draw is the sunset.
An uninterrupted view of the changing pink-to-red-to-orange sky will have you seriously considering retiring here, even though you’re only 28 and broke.
Double Six Beach, Bali; +62 0361 890 0000; www.laplanchabali.com

49. Nikki Beach, Miami, United States

Nikki beach bar
Reservations and good-lookers only.

This cool club with a rep for its strict door policy -- be irresistibly beautiful or don't turn up without a reservation -– didn’t invent the beach bar, but it did reinvent the genre for a generation who may never have felt the sand between their manicured toes. St. Trop-style chill joint by day, with raised “opium beds” and linen-covered loungers, it turns into an alfresco nightclub after dark, when international DJs man the decks at weekends.
There are now Nikkis from Koh Samui to Cabo San Lucas -- not to mention the desert resorts of Las Vegas and Marrakech, where Nikki has created a modern-day mirage.
1 Ocean Drive, South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, United States; www.nikkibeachmiami.com

48. Tortilla Flats, Dominical, Costa Rica

tortilla flats
Rustic, cluttered, perfect.

This long-standing beach hut is a surfer hotel, seaside restaurant and happening night spot all rolled into one. The two-story establishment is located right on the sand in the laid-back surf town of Dominical. During the day, the crowds (mostly comprising dripping wet surfers) flock to Tortilla Flats for the surprisingly good food.
As the day winds down, you can grab a drink from the well-stocked bar and watch the waves roll in against the sunset.
Tortilla Flats, Playa Dominical, Dominical, Costa Rica; +506 2787 0033; www.tortillaflatsdominical.com
Also on CNNGo: 30 of the world's best hotel bars

47. Pelican Bar, Jakes Treasure Beach, Jamaica

pelican bar jakes
One drinking session you can never claim to have forgotten.

When a place claims to have “the best cocktails in the sea” it’s easier to be cynical. But Pelican Bar really could have the best, because it really is in the sea.Part of the Jakes Treasure Beach resort, the Pelican is built out on a shoal requiring a short boat ride for a visit.
No Internet, no TVs, no pool tables -- just thatched roof, seats and booze. No wonder it’s considered by fans to be the single best beach bar in the Caribbean.
Calabash Bay, Jakes Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, W.I.; www.jakeshotel.com

46. Purobeach, Mallorca, Spain

PuroBeach bar
A beach bar for the aesthetically minded.

If, upon setting foot in Mallorca's Purobeach, you feel as if you've stepped into a design magazine, you're exactly right. The gorgeous beachfront property, run by Swedish entrepreneur Mats Wahlström, has been featured in countless fashionable glossies.This no doubt accounts for its popularity among the international jet set.
At Purobeach beautiful bodies lie perennially on white loungers, sipping passion fruit mojitos under the shade of white beach umbrellas and potted palms.
During the day, Purobeach offers spa and yoga sessions to its designer swimwear-clad patrons. Come nightfall, clubbers gather around the large pool to dance to tunes from Wahlström's music label.
Montenegro, 12 Palma, Mallorca, Spain; +34 971 425 450; www.purobeach.com

45. Tamboo Tavern, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Tamboo Tavern puerto rico
Sometimes beaches are better at night.

Imagine a bar where you spend lunch time bathing on the sands and drinking pina coladas, the afternoons watching old black and white movies in a cozy corner and the evenings listening to live Latino music while humpback whales break the ocean surface in front of the glowing sun. It's not a dream -- this place exists on the idyllic coastline of Puerto Rico. It's chilled out, but lively, it's popular but roomy. If you're planning a visit to the Caribbean, make sure you visit.
Open from noon. Sandy Beach Road, 413 Interior, Puntas, Rincon, Puerto Rico; +787 823 8550; www.besidethepointe.com
Also on CNNGo: World's 50 most delicious foods

44. Cary Arms, Babbacombe, England

Cary Arms, Devon
It's England; the beach umbrellas are in case it rains.

Now into its third summer as a posh people's gastropub, the once-derelict Cary Arms is like a little glimpse of English heaven -- as long as the sun’s shining. One part traditional British watering-hole with beamed ceiling and stone fireplace, non-diners can settle into a pint of Otters Ale or Bays Gold among the specialty beers.
For the hungry there's lobster and chips, the best crab sandwiches in Devon, all manner of gourmet fish dishes and the county's famous Devon cream teas. Chill to a view of the coastline in one of the Adirondack chairs on the terrace, or move fast to grab a lunch table in the high-perched pergola known as the Captain's Table.
Beach Road, Babbacombe, Devon, England; www.caryarms.co.uk

43. Catch Beach Club, Phuket, Thailand

catch beach club
The world's most purple bar?

The Thai resort's most fashionable beach bar is particularly popular on Friday night, when lamb and tuna hit the spit along with oysters and other seafood. There's more barbecue action on Tuesdays, and drinks are a draw every night of the week, with signature cocktails including a Sly Thai and My Thai.
While reports of the cuisine are mixed, the beachfront ambiance and live music are universally acclaimed; get there early to bag one of the day beds close to the water's edge.
Twin Palms Hotel, Surin Beach Road, Cherng Talay, Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand; catchbeachclub.com/index.html

42. Nammos beach club, Bali, Indonesia

nammos beach bar bali
A private inclinator -- to get rid of those who can't walk home afterward.

Kudos for effort -- this lively watering hole aims to recreate the ambiance of a Greek island, despite being based on a bamboo platform with a roof of indigenous grass. The only access to its home on a tranquil turquoise lagoon fringed with white sand is via a private inclinator, which transports guests up and down 100 meters of sheer limestone cliff.
While the beach is the star by day (not to mention the waiters who dive into the lagoon to collect a lunch of locally farmed seafood to order), by night the bar turns on the romance with Champagne and cold beer to lubricate the prawns and lobster.
Karma Kandara Resort, Jalan Wijaya Kusuma, Bali, Indonesia; www.karmakandara.com
Also on CNNGo: Shanghai's 6 best new cocktail bars


41. Tanjong Beach Club, Singapore

Tanjong beach club
A gritty piece of fun. Who called this island sterile?

This hideout on the sands does its best to recreate a relaxed beach attitude on the outskirts of the uptight city-state. It came into existence thanks to a pair of not-so-uptight Aussie brothers who saw the sands of Sentosa as the perfect environment for seafood platters, tropical cocktails and good healthy fun like beach volleyball.
120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore; www.tanjongbeachclub.com

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