Roam for Foam

Our Guide to the World's Wildest Bars

Megan Michelson

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It's Thriller Time

Click here to read Eric Hansen's account of his quest to find Colombia's most remote bar

Knoydart Peninsula, Scotland
The Knoydart Peninsula pokes out from Scotland's west coast, flanked by Loch Nevis (Gaelic for “Heaven Lake”) and Loch Hourn (“Hell Lake”) . . . which would appear to place the Old Forge in purgatory. In fact, it's a sublime spot, a revamped blacksmith's forge and inn that's perched on the coast seven miles by boat from the tiny fishing village of Mallaig, where crucial pub supplies arrive three times a week. You can get there by boat, but the classic way is an 18-mile east-west trek over 3,500-foot mountains. 011-44-16-87-46-22-67,

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
To reach the summit of 1,296-foot Pão de Açúcar (“Sugarloaf”), you can go the easy way (riding a 75-passenger cable car) or the hard way (multipitch rock climbing). Either way, you'll be rewarded at the top with a tall caipirinha—a blend of ice, sugar, lime, and cachaça, a Brazilian alcohol made from distilled sugarcane. Impress the tourists by climbing Italianos, a bolted 5.9 route that rises 810 feet along the monolith's west face. 011-55-21-2235-3716,

Lake Malawi, Malawi
On the northern shore of Africa's vast and forest-rimmed Lake Malawi, there's an unusual lodge: four thatched huts next to a bar and restaurant built into a rock cave near a waterfall. Getting to the so-called Where Are We? Lodge requires a five-hour trek from Usisya, the closest road-accessible village, or a five-hour ferry ride north from Nkhata Bay. There's no electricity, so the bar's vodka-filled watermelons are kept chilled in a kerosene icebox.

Mount Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia
At 13,455 feet, Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak on the Malaysian island of Borneo. To reach the top, you'll hike for two days among orchids and 290 species of birds. Halfway up, stop for an overnight respite at Laban Rata, a 60-bunk hostel with electricity, showers, heated rooms, and a restaurant that serves hot noodles and cold beer. 011-60-88-243629,

Tristan da Cunha Island, South Atlantic Ocean
There's no airport on the British-controlled island of Tristan da Cunha, 1,750 miles west of Cape Town, South Africa, so pretty much the only way to get there is via a seven-day ride aboard a crawfish trawler. A 2001 hurricane ripped the roof off the Albatross—the island's lone bar—but the village's 280 locals banded together to repair it. By September 2004, the no-frills establishment had reopened for business, complete with a snooker table, locally made crisps, and pints of beer.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Descend 5,000 feet and 9.5 miles on the South Rim's Bright Angel Trail and you'll arrive at a wooden oasis that isn't a mirage—it's the famous Phantom Ranch, since 1922 the only lodge operating below the canyon rim. In the rustic dining room, you'll be treated to cold Tecate (hauled in by trusty mules) and spicy beef stew. Afterwards, retreat to a private cabin or camp nearby; same-day hiking down and up with a bellyful of beer is not advised. 888-297-2757, www.grandcanyonlodges.com704.html

Tapana Island, Kingdom of Tonga
Rent a sailboat in the South Pacific town of Neiafu—in Tonga's Vavau island group—and follow the winds three hours to Tapana, a remote, four-square-mile island. Besides one native Tongan, the only residents are Eduardo and Maria Mejias, two Spanish expatriates who run a restaurant they built from driftwood. Call ahead to let them know you're coming, and they'll serve paella cooked over a fire, Spanish tapas, and all the sangria you can drink. 011-676-12310,

Muktinath, Nepal
Buddhists and Hindus make the pilgrimage to Muktinath, in the Nepalese Himalayas, to bathe in the 108 fountains that are believed to bring salvation after death. Everyone else goes for the beer and music. Welcome to the Bob Marley Rasta Restaurant & Reggae Bar, elevation 12,470 feet. From Kathmandu, you'll trek six days to the town of Jomsom and then spend a day acclimatizing before climbing 3,500 feet up to Muktinath. A Jamaican flag hangs next to Tibetan prayer flags, and the owner's son plays “Get Up, Stand Up” on his guitar. If you're tired, it's OK to stay seated.