Sand between your toes and a cocktail in hand; could there be a better way to enjoy a spectacular sunset? From shanty shacks in the sun-soaked Caribbean, to upscale palace rooftop bars in Tibet, we explore some of the world’s most renowned ‘sunset bars’ – and a few of its best kept secrets!
Floyd’s Pelican Bar, Negril, Jamaica
From Jake’s Treasure Beach, the infamous Pelican Bar appears little more than the ramshackle remains of an old thatched pier; erected from timbers and driftwood on top of an submerged sandbar 1km out to sea. To get there you’ll have to charter a boat from the mainland, or wait until the barman spots you waving from the beach. The Pelican Bar has no in-house entertainment so to speak, but, as the pink-tinged rays of the sun hit the water, the sea appears to transform into a shimmering carpet of silver and purple. This, coupled with the school of dancing dolphins who regularly put on a nightly show for patrons is enough to make anyone want to come back for an ice cold beer – or ten!
Suite 700, Shangri La Hotel, Santa Monica, California, USA
California is renowned for its beatific sunsets, and where better to appreciate them than hanging out with Santa Monica’s cool crowd? Decked out in plush leathers and expensive woods, the Art Deco Suite 700 bar atop the Shangri La Hotel isn’t your average beachfront chill-out zone, however, the rooftop terrace boasts some of the most impressive coastal views anywhere in the city. With a “carefully curated” drinks menu, and DJ’s spinning classic chill-out tunes until the small hours, it’s an ideal venue in which to soak up the evening sun, and kick off a night of partying!
Lagoon Bar, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
As famed for its views as its fiery Bloody Mary’s, the swanky Lagoon Bar at Bora Bora’s upscale St. Regis Hotel is a must for that edge of the world sunset experience. Owned by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the restaurant-cum-watering hole is a magnet for VIP and media moguls from around the globe, all eager to witness the spectacle of a Polynesian sunset over Mount Otemanu. If that’s not enough to get you Googling flight prices, the prospect of French-Asian fusion food cooked at your table by the man himself just might!
Shambhala Palace Bar, Lhasa, Tibet
Ringed by chalky white mountains and crumbling ancient walls, the ancient Tibetan city of Lhasa isn’t a place you’d usually associate with photogenic sunsets. Yet high above this densely populated urban sprawl, within the confines of a recently refurbished lama palace, is a place where the romance of Tibetan sunsets is being rediscovered. With views across to the Potala Palace and undulating mountains to the North, the Shambhala Palace Rooftop Bar boasts an excellent situ for gastronomes who like to dine with a view. Laid back and unassuming, it’s an ideal place to grab an ice cold tea and see the better half of Lhasa!
Palia Kameni Cocktail Bar, Fira, Santorini Island
It’s hard not to have a few expectations about Santorini. Voted ‘most beautiful island in the world’ by Travel and Leisure magazine readers, Santorini boasts an enviably mild year-round climate, azure waters, and some of the smoothest stretches of crystalline beaches in Greece. It’s capital, Fira, is also noted for its sunsets. Perched high above the ocean atop a rugged 260 metre cliff, the laid-back Palia Kameni Cocktail Bar is arguably the best place to kick back with a cocktail when the sun goes down. Grab a “Treasure Island” cocktail and a front row seat on the vast balcony overlooking the caldera. This is one fire show not to be missed!
Photo 5: Peter Anddoroata