10 Smallest Bars in the World
Sometimes good things come in small packages. These places may be snug, but they have more charm than establishments triple their size.
Smallest Whisky Bar on Earth
Sta. Maria, Grisons, Switzerland
Despite its pink walls, low-slung ceilings, and slight 92 square feet, the Smallest Whisky Bar on Earth is mighty. With 204 whiskeys—including Scotch, Irish, and Japanese blends, plus sweet, house-made concoctions like whiskey and cream—its menu packs a punch, and so does its owner, Gunter Sommer. In 2007, he persuaded the Guinness World Records organization to officially change the name of its "Smallest Pub" award to "the Smallest Permanently Licensed Bar in the World"—then promptly snagged the honor himself.
7536 Sta. Maria, Val Müstair, Graubünden, 011-41/76-422-0308.
This skinny, two-story joint is hidden among a cluster of bars beneath the train tracks on Nonbei Yokocho, which aptly translates to "drunkard's alley." But Piano Bar's 32-square-foot size belies its opulence: The interior is modeled after a German castle, decked out with a faux stone fireplace, crystal chandeliers, gold-framed photos of jungle animals, and red velvet walls. You can even drink your beverage—try the sweet rose water and wine cocktail ($10)—out of a glass chalice. And when you want a refill, just ring one of the tiny bells set on every table for service.
Editors' note: Though this bar was not directly impacted by the March 11, 2011, earthquake or the subsequent tsunami, we do encourage readers to check the current State Department travel alert for the country before making any travel plans.
1-25-10 Shibuya, Tokyo, 154-0002, 011-81/3-5467-0258.
12Sqm Bar and Café
Before tripling in size to a whopping 484 square feet, 12Sqm held the title of Beijing's smallest bar. Still, the pub-style nook—which can fit over two dozen people—keeps things cozy with dim lighting, cushioned window seats, and a bookshelf lined with Lonely Planet editions (the bar's Australian owner worked as a tour guide). Drinkers can pick from 140 different spirits, including several high-end Scotches and lots of imported beer starting at $3 (a favorite is Coopers, brewed in Adelaide). Hungry patrons might even get lucky: Whenever the owner's feeling generous—which is often—he stocks 12Sqm's shelves with piping-hot meat pies, an Aussie delicacy.
Corner of Nanluogu Xiang and Fuxiang Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 011-86/10-6402-1554.
Set at the back of Borough Market near the Thames River, the purple-painted, 91-square-foot Rake is known for two things: being London's smallest pub and hosting one of the most international beer selections in the city. The bar—which was opened in 2006 by the duo behind Utobeer, a popular British beer retailer—offers eight ever-changing drafts and 160 bottled beers from around the world, including obscure picks from Corsica, Indonesia, and Mozambique. Food is limited to bar snacks like nuts and olives, but if you're craving dessert, order a Cookie Beer, which is inspired by a Belgian biscuit recipe. Bonus: If the bar is too cramped, you can head outside to the patio, where you can drink with more elbow room.
14 Winchester Walk, SE1 9AG, 011-44/20-7407-0557.
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