The Edison Lounge
Theme: Early 20th century
Location: Los Angeles
Drink to try: Edison 77
If you’re inner steam punk is dying to get out and you’ve got a taste for sipping absinthe tonight, the Edison Lounge is your bar. It’s like a trip back in time to the early 1900s. It’s the kind of place you could imagine the Great Gatsby hanging out in. Wet your lips with the Edison 77, a prosecco and absinthe mix that's named after the phonograph invented in 1877.
The Edison Lounge is set in an old power plant in downtown LA. The massive 14,000-square-foot interior has much of the original equipment — vaulted ceilings, exposed light bulbs, and steam-release valves — and leather couches for time-traveling in style. Creator Andrew Meieran said he got the idea from parallels he saw from the current technological boom and Thomas Edison’s era of endless creation.
With a mix of art nouveau and industrial gothic architectural styles, the Edison Lounge bills itself as an "Industrial Cathedral." The Los Angeles Times said the Edison Lounge was "so cool it will rip your head off."
There is a dress code — no shorts, jerseys, hoodies, or ball caps. And if you show up with style and creativity fitting of the era, you’re likely to be more quickly accommodated, according to the web site. And, consider yourself warned: The drink prices are high. But c’mon, did you think the Industrial Revolution would be cheap?
Drink to try: Turbulence
Have a fear of flying? Start conquering it by grabbing a drink at the Skyline in South Beach, a bar built completely out of parts from a retired jumbo jet — seats, engine turbines, overhead compartments, and all!
Airline seats are paired in twos and fours. The bar itself is the wing, with propellers on the wall behind the bar. If you feel a little turbulence after a few cocktails, watch your step — the nose of the plane juts out into the dance floor. First class? Right this way to the VIP section, which is actually made up of first-class seats.
Place your order with one of the "flight attendants," for in-flight drinks such as Turbulence, Red Eye, and Mile High Club. Hey, this is South Beach!
Location: San Francisco
Drink to try: Smuggler’s Cove Rum Barrel
Yar! Who dares enter ye Smuggler’s Cove?
Travel and Leisure describes walking into Smugglers Cove as "stumbling into a Polynesian ship wreck." Each piece of the bar has some significance to the history of rum, according to owner, Martin Cate, from the tiki bars of the 1920s and '30s to Prohibition-era Havana. The décor is part tiki bar, part World War I and II memorabilia, and part nautical salvage. The result of this rum-running time warp turns out to be something akin to a pirate ship.
With a choice of more than 70 cocktails, most of which are in some way based around rum, Travel and Leisure called this place a "temple to rum." Try a flaming drink — they’re a specialty here — or the Smuggler’s Cove Rum Barrel, a secret blend of fresh juices, Caribbean spices, and several rums served in a ceramic barrel you get to keep.
So when you first enter, scratch drinking rum on a pirate ship off of your bucket list, then order a cocktail in a bowl and watch the bartender make it go up in flames.
Fire in the hole!
Trailer Park Lounge and Grill
Theme: Trailer Park/Tiki
Location: New York
Drink to try: Mangorita
Sure, you could go to a fancy Manhattan cocktail bar anytime. But how often do you get to go to a trailer park?
If all of those high-brow places are making your collar itch and you’ve got a hankering for some kitsch, the Trailer Park Lounge and Grill is just the place.
As you walk in, you’re greeted by a cigarette-smoking, beer-swilling pregnant mannequin standing near a retro '60s-style trailer. And of course, it’s loaded to the gills with Elvis memorabilia and trailer park tchotchkes. The menu reads like a trailer-park barbecue, with a "double-wide burger," "grilled fat dog," sloppy Joe, mac and cheese, and moon pies.
The Trailer Park Lounge & Grill was voted one of the "Kitschiest Restaurants in America" by the Food Network and bills itself as "The place to meet your next ‘ex!"
And you can take a souvenir home from your trip the trailer park — everything from a T-shirt that says "I Met My Next ‘Ex’ at the Trailer Park Lounge & Grill" to trucker caps, stick-on tattoos, and "nudie cutie pens."
Yeah, you heard me.
Theme: Ice bar
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Drink to try: Penguin Pizz
The ice bar of all ice bars is located right in Disney World’s backyard. The largest one of its kind boasts an interior entirely made of solid ice, and it is kept at a chilling 20 to 27 degrees to remind you of that. The Travel Channel called it one of its top 10 "Extreme Bar Hopping" bars.
Giant ice sculptures adorn the surroundings, and one TripAdvisor reviewer went as far as to call them "epic." Not only are they nice scenery but they can actually be a part of your drinking experience. The "Penguin Pizz" is vodka poured through a penguin ice sculpture from the, um, top down, and into your glass. (I’m thinking it gets less gross the more you drink.) Remember to save your glass for half-priced refills.
It’s so cold in here, they only let you stay for 45 minutes at a time. To help you stay warm, they’ll provide you with a thermal cape and gloves. Or, just head to the "Fire Lounge" next door. Though it is Florida, so you could also just go outside!