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.
It's official: Size doesn't matter. At least when it comes to bars, where the make-or-break details aren't the number of stools or the square footage, but how cool the vibe is. With that in mind, we scoured the globe to find the 10 bars that pack the most personality into their tiny spaces, from a London pub with more beers than square footage to a Key West bar that uses coolers instead of taps.
Key West, Florida
Tucked between two buildings on action-packed Duval Street, this 72-square-foot bar is about "the size of a jail cell," quips its Midwestern-expat manager, Josh—but the vibe is decidedly upbeat and tropical. Walls are painted with palm trees and waves, and there's a bin packed with hollowed-out coconuts and pineapples, which the bartender fills with beach-ready concoctions on demand. If strawberry daiquiris ($7) aren't your drink of choice, the Smallest Bar also stocks bottles of beer in coolers of ice ($4 and up). A colorful collection of hula hoops is stacked along the walls, and impromptu wiggle parties on the sidewalks outside are encouraged—right up until the 4 a.m. closing time.
124 Duval St., 305/294-8507.
Lynd Junction, North Queensland, Australia
Two patrons—nearly the entire population of this remote, three-person North Queensland town—can fit comfortably into this 21-square-foot watering hole. Not surprisingly, Oasis Roadhouse is the tiniest establishment in all of Australia; the bar top itself is only 21 inches wide. The scenery isn't picturesque (it's next to a service station along the Great Inland Way, a dusty two-lane that stretches from the Outback to the Coral Sea), and the decorations are nil, save for a single painted cowboy and some beer logos plastered on the walls. But what it lacks in ambience, it makes up for in convenience: The spot, which serves bottled beer and liquor, isn't named Oasis for nothing—it's the only bar within a 37-mile radius.
Kennedy Developmental Rd., Mt. Garnet QLD 4872, 011-61/740-625-291.
Close Quarters Pub
Avon Lake, Ohio
Nestled on a tree-lined, residential street just a block from the shores of Lake Erie, this local dive packs a lot into its 600-square-foot space. Close Quarters Pub is divided among 12 chairs, 11 stools, and prize-worthy collections of sports pennants, vintage postcards, yacht-club flags, and maps of Lake Erie, which wallpaper the walls and ceiling. The chicken wings are extremely popular (and miraculously made on-site, in the tiny kitchen), and the domestic brews on tap, including local favorites from Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing Co., will only set you back $4.50 a pint.
31953 Lake Rd., 440/933-5217.
Dunedin, New Zealand
At less than six feet wide, New Zealand's smallest bar doesn't even have toilets. What Mou Very lacks in facilities, it more than makes up for with a generous wine-and-beer selection, sinfully rich espresso (roasted in-house by owner—and former Dunedin mayoral candidate—Olivier Lequeux), and freshly pressed paninis ($3). Exposed brick and orange stools add to the bar's cozy feel, but that doesn't mean it's quiet: Every Wednesday and most Fridays after 6 p.m., a DJ drops in to spin funk and soul tunes.
357 George St., 011-64/3-477-2180.
Slims Elbow Room
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Located in a crowded Cabo shopping area, this four-stool bar is plastered with signed dollar bills (visitors are encouraged to slap them on the wall) and pictures of tequila-fueled tourists. The signature Mexican spirit is Slims's specialty: There is a wide selection of Jose Cuervo and Hornitos tequilas and even a try-before-you-buy policy. And if you purchase a $10 Slims T-shirt or hat, the bartender gives you a free shot. But be warned: Slims serves only beer and tequila—no mixers—so come prepared to sip your liquor straight.
Boulevard Marina, Interior Plaza Mariachis, 143-538, no phone.
This 105-square-foot pub, which sits on a street built in the Middle Ages, served its first pint in 1867. No more than 20 people can squeeze into the historical hangout, which offers bottled beer plus two ales on tap, including the Suffolk-brewed Greene King IPA ($4.50 a pint). The Nutshell's decor is not for the faint of heart: Stuffed animal heads line the walls and a skeletal mummified cat, believed to be 400 years old, hangs from the ceiling—talk about medieval!
The Traverse, Bury St. Edmunds, 011-44/128-476-4867.