wine and cheese

The best cocktail bars in Europe

As river cruise holiday reviews show, guests visit some of the most sophisticated cities in the world and in such cities guests can experience and sample an unrivalled cocktail culture where Europe’s flarers and bartenders are some of the best and most talented.

Here we have put together a guide to some of the best cocktail bars in Europe that you should add to your must-visit list while travelling on European river cruises.


If you’re partial to a Cosmo, whilst in Budapest you have to visit Boutiq’ Bar. Their gallery speaks for itself whilst its TripAdvisor reviews are enough of an endorsement alone.

Here is what they had to say about the Boutiq’ Bar experience.

‘We have been voted the best cocktail bar in Hungary several times. Some of our bartenders won domestic and international bartender competitions in the last couple of years, and we have been selected one of the best 50 bars in the world by Drinks International in 2012.

Boutiq' Bar is a favourite for those who care about their cocktails and want a seriously well mixed drink. The bar is very well stocked and use a wide range of ingredients, everything from African vanilla to Mexican chili to create elusive, perfect drinks. Clever twists on classic cocktails...’

Their motto:

‘A Daiquiri we serve with mango, a Cosmopolitan is like Sex and the city and the Caipirinha is really spicy. If all this is still not enough for your senses to be tempted, then we shake spirits with Caribbean rose peppercorn, Thai lemongrass or the one with the vanilla and cardamom. Now, you have to admit, it is high time to try one, isn't it?’

Czech Republic

More onto the Czech Republic, and Prague more specifically, there are a great number of fantastic bars that serve up some favourite cocktail recipes in addition to their own concoctions that you will be begging to learn the secret.

Cloud 9 sky bar and lounge in the Hilton Prague is one of the most renowned bars of its kind in all of the city. Its unrivalled location, on the largest European Hilton rooftop with a view over Vltava River and the rest of the city, makes it easily among the best bars in Prague but its cocktails put it over the edge.

‘Cloud 9 sky bar & lounge on the rooftop of the Hilton Prague is the first true sky bar in Prague. With a bespoke lighting system and a unique interior, the bar is perfectly designed for every guest to indulge in captivating views of the city from the height of 40 meters above the river Vltava, both from behind the all-glass walls or from the outside terraces. Guests can enjoy original signature cocktails created by Roman Uhlir, one of the best Czech bartenders and mixologists and an innovative food concept ideal for sharing gourmet delicacies with friends. Since June 2014, Cloud 9 is a non-smoking bar, one of the first ones in Prague.’

- Cloud 9 sky bar and lounge

Ready to give them a run for their money is Hangar Bar Prague, whose theme really puts them on the map. Styled in an atmosphere of 1940-60s aviation, their style is almost as good as their cocktails. The bar takes the form of the Hangar Club on the bottom floor inspired by Hollywood stunt pilots and WW2 pilots and the Hangar Pilot’s Lounge on the upper floor which is inspired by the aviation boom led by the Pan Am Airlines in 1940-60’s and the first transatlantic passenger flights and stewardesses.


Moving on to Romania where the brightly coloured cocktails of Déjà vu Club hold their own. Their warm atmosphere comes from their namesake, the experience of déjà vu where you are said to feel as though you are in a place that you have been before where the bar staff are friends you are getting reacquainted with.

The Netherlands

Finally, the Netherlands is known for its fantastic drink making capabilities. Its national drink, the Dutch Jenever, is a juniper-flavoured spirit which is known the world over as the first form of gin. Since this time bars in Amsterdam have been immensely popular with travellers where they can enjoy such well-made cocktails in the most exclusive of settings.

Door 74 is one of the best known bars in Amsterdam. As the first speakeasy style bar in the Netherlands it has an established reputation and cocktail menu to suit. Their bar is open from 8pm until 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays and they even host their on cocktail workshops where guests can learn the history of workshops and find out about the different techniques, tools and flavours involved.

Saving one of the best until last, Hiding in Plain Sight in Amsterdam is an elusive cocktail bar and self-proclaimed ‘occasional creators of memorable evenings’. HPS may be on the small side but what it lacks in space it makes up for in cocktails, of which there are countless.

These are just a handful of the fantastic cocktail experiences that can be had in Europe. While they are well-recommended for a visit, the cocktails available on a Emerald Waterways river cruise offer hot competition. So if you are a fan of a well-made Cosmo or mojito, Europe is the place to travel!

If you think we have missed any other great bars and locations for cocktails share them with us on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Image Credit: Boutiq’ Bar

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.