Top luxury cocktail bars in the travel sectorBy Annie Hayes
From an Agatha Christie-inspired concoction on the Orient Express to an exclusive hangout at 40,000 feet, travel can now offer great new drinking experiences.
Global passenger traffic is thriving, and, more than ever, consumers want to maximise every single moment of their journey time.
The very act of travelling, no longer just a simple A-to-B procedure, is seen as an experience in itself – opening up a world of possibilities within the industry.
Having transformed beyond recognition, the travel channel is ever evolving in a bid to cater to every possible passenger whim, and as a result there’s no shortage of destination drinkeries offering carefully-considered cocktail menus alongside gourmet cuisine.
So strong is the channel’s commitment to cocktails that Singapore Changi Airport – which features across the page – even held the first-ever in-airport cocktail festival, with masterclasses aplenty and guest spots from some of the world’s best bartenders.
From well-travelled business moguls to holiday-of-a-lifetime trippers, there is a plethora of consumers ready and willing to splash the cash and make their journey a memorable one.
Looking across the travel spectrum of rail, air, and sea, we present four unmissable luxury bar experiences from across the globe. Trust us, there is no better way to while away that transfer time.
Click through the following pages to view our top picks of the top luxury cocktail bars in the travel sector.
￼Dream Lounge Celestial Bar, Korean Air A380 Airplane
Available to first-class and ‘prestige’ passengers only, this luxurious on-board bar, located on the upper deck above the duty free shop, has paired with Absolut vodka to offer six signature cocktails.
The Korean Air-exclusive list includes the Absolut Raspberry Delight, featuring Citron vodka, raspberries, citrus and soda; and the Absolut Pear Deluxe, which combines pear, apple, citrus and Champagne.
In a nod to the in-flight lounges of yesteryear, the Celestial Bar is spacious, with seating for around half a dozen passengers and plenty of room to stand – the perfect spot to pass the hours during a long-haul jaunt.
￼The Bar Car, 3674, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Hop aboard this private luxury train service, made up of twee carriages dating back to the 1920s and 1930s, and head to 3674 – new for 2016 and located in the heart of the train. The vision of French designer Gerard Gallet; The Bar Car is clad in patterns of blue and gold to reflect the train’s marquetry and create an air of by-gone elegance, as its resident pianist tinkles the ivories of a baby grand piano.
The bar’s cocktail menu is the brainchild of head barman Walter Nisi, and is served alongside a bespoke caviar offering crafted in collaboration with the renowned producer Petrossian.
Nisi said: “Bar 3674 is the social hub of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the world’s most famous train, and is one of a kind. My team and I create signature drinks and cocktails during each journey, including the Guilty 12, inspired by Agatha Christie’s most famous novel. Many guests are celebrating milestone events in their lives and Bar 3674 has a fantastic atmosphere. I feel very proud to be head barman aboard the VSOE.”
￼The Commodore Club, Cunard Line
Sail the seven seas while sipping on carefully-crafted cocktails at Cunard’s Commodore Club, where exclusive long drinks, winning Bacardi Legacy cocktails and ‘molecular’ inventions grace the menu.
Not only does the bar boast the cruise line’s most extensive Martini selection, there are all manner of spirits tastings and cocktail classes available to transform budding bartenders into master mixologists.
You would be challenged to find a more picturesque setting in travel; the bar is situated in prime position overlooking the bow of the ship with panoramic views of the horizon. It is particularly spectacular as the evening dress code calls for guests to impress.
￼The Long Bar by Raffles at T3 Duplex, Singapore Changi Airport
Positioned on the upper level of luxury travel retailer DFS Group’s duplex wines and spirits store and developed in collaboration with Singapore’s historical Raffles Hotel, The Long Bar offers respite from the hustle and bustle of its airport home.
Staying true to its namesake bar’s iconic interiors, inspired by the Malayan plantation lifestyle of the 1920s, it offers a menu of 10 classic cocktails, from a Dry Martini to Blood and Sand. The main attraction is, of course, the Singapore Sling, created in 1915 at the original Raffles Long Bar.
Wilcy Wong, managing director of DFS Singapore & Indonesia, says: “The DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex store at Changi Airport is the perfect location for the Long Bar by Raffles as it allows travellers, especially those in transit, a chance to discover a taste of Singapore’s elegant colonial past without having to leave the airport.
“Travellers will be able to relive the intimate atmosphere of the Raffles Hotel’s famed watering hole, along with a sense of place that wraps them in a cocoon of class, camaraderie and good cheer. The warm and cosy ambience will give them an experience they cannot find in any other airport in the world.”