Welcome to the newest feature of CCC – Top 5 Monday’s – where we bring you our latest countdown of whatever strikes our fancy.
To kick things off, curing your case of the Mondays today, we’re bringing back that weekend feel. Nothing says “I’m on vacation” like kicking back with a frosty brew, a fruity island cocktail, or mysterious local concoction. It is in celebration of these experiences that we bring you today’s post. So why don’t you beer me another beer, Tuna, and check out our Top 5 Bar Experiences while travelling:
1. Sydney, Australia (Scott)
One of my best bar moments was the Coogee Bay Hotel when I was living in Sydney, Australia. The Coogee Bay Hotel is a pub and beer garden located across the street from Sydney’s Coogee Beach. One day a week, they had grill-your-own steak night. For only a couple of bucks, you could buy a raw piece of steak. You would then take your position beside a long grill, grab a Toohey’s New beer, and cook your steak. They had all kinds of seasonings and sauces, too. It was a great way to both hang out with friends, and get to know the locals.
2. Dublin, Ireland (Lexie)
I think one of my favorite drinking moments was in Dublin. Kelly and I had just finished our Jameson Whiskey tour and made a few local friends and went out to the bars. Wanting to fit in, we asked what is a good local beer to drink besides Guiness. They said in their incredibly thick accents, Schmivicks (actually spelled Smithwicks). It was very delicious! It makes me sad that every time I order it in the States it does not nearly taste as good as it did there. I guess another reason to go back! Another thing I love about Europe and basically any country other than the US, is the large squares with a plethora of cafes set out so you can just sit, relax and drink!
3. Brussels, Belgium (Kelly)
Traveling is always so much fun, and it’s never complete without a local watering hole experience. We decided we would all pick our top moment at a bar while traveling, and immediately the Zebra Bar in Brussels popped into my mind. Larissa and I stopped there for a drink or two but ended up missing the last train back to Amsterdam because we were having so much fun. It all started with the cool weather that day. We had been freezing in our travels, even though it was May, so we decided to head to Brussels well prepared….wearing two pairs of pants. After walking around for a bit, we strolled over to Zebra Bar where we sipped on beer and cocktails (I blame those darn vodka redbulls…as they tasted like sweetarts), and took in the odd crowds. There was a man sitting at the bar that got up all of a sudden and declared he had a great bar trick…..he took a long chain and snorted it up his nose, and it came out of his mouth. He then moved it back and forth like he was flossing. It was so gross and yet so cool, that we couldn’t turn away. Then we got so hot that we shouted out “we’re so hot, we need to take off our pants”. We weren’t even thinking but man, people’s eyes bugged out. What a disappointment it was when we were still wearing another pair of pants when we took them off. We hung out there through the night, enjoying the great vibe of the place where locals and tourists alike flocked to crowd watch from the terrace and party through the night.
4. Egham, England (Leslie)
My first impression of the Monkey’s Forehead was while riding the bus from the airport when I first arrived at grad school. The pub is located directly across from the main entrance to the university, and as we passed I remember having two immediate reactions, 1. “My, that’s a lot of purple for a pub”, and 2. “I wonder if I’ll get to try it out.” Oh, try it out, we did. Serving as the unofficial meeting spot (and emergency evacuation location) for our group of friends, the Monkey’s provided countless entertainment during my year in Egham. While it is definitely a pub for the uni kids, Monkey’s also serves one of the best veggie burgers I have tasted, boasts picnic tables for outdoor drinking on the odd nice weather day, and is as good a place as any to watch the football match. Among the many reasons I will be forever grateful to Monkey’s is that I am pretty sure this is where I was first introduced to the Most Delicious Beverage Ever…Pimm’s. For those unfortunate among you who have not experienced Pimm’s, it is a classic English cocktail made with the original Pimm’s No. 1 liquer and perfect for summertime toasting. The next time you find yourself in the UK or on a layover at Heathrow, do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle at duty-free! If you are lucky enough to find some on this side of the pond, here is a recipe for a traditional Pimm’s Cup:
1 part Pimm’s No. 1
2 parts lemonade (that’s lemon soda for Yanks)
Serve over ice with a slice of cucumber and mint (you can also add oranges, apples, or any other fruit you desire a la sangria)
5. New Smyrna Beach, Florida (CCCers)
The final spot on our Top 5 list is dedicated to an experience involving all four of your CCCers. Last 4th of July, during the first annual Florida Fourth extravaganza, we all visited Kelly and Scott in Orlando, Florida. On one particularly glorious Saturday, we accompanied Scott’s parents on their boat in New Smyrna for a ride up the Intracoastal Waterway. It was glorious to be out on the water watching the fancy homes of the rich and famous whiz by, but when the clouds started looking ominous we pulled over to make sure we didn’t get caught in the rain and ended up having a grand old time at Inlet Harbor, a marina/restaurant right on the water. With a bucket of Presidentes, some delicious conch fritters and blackened grouper sandwiches, we passed the afternoon out of the storm and with great friends. Since this is not the only great afternoon/evening I’ve spent trying to escape the rain, I think there’s a trend here – rain + good friends + handy bar = a great time!