7 Best Cities to Drink with Locals
You already know that Ireland is one of the most iconic places in the world to tip a pint with a local. There’s nothing quite like sipping a Guinness in a traditional Irish pub in Killarney, Kenmare or Dingle, surrounded by friendly residents and listening to a local band. But what about those places in the world you don’t expect to sit and sip the traditional spirits with natives? You never know what stories you’ll hear over a shared drink with local friends. So, pull up a seat, fill your glass, and enjoy… we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite cities in the world to drink with a local.
Asakusa, Japan is much the same as it was during the Edo Period that ended in the mid-19th century. This city has some of the best Izakayas anywhere. What’s an Izakaya? It’s a Japanese bar in which a variety of small, typically inexpensive, dishes and snacks are served to accompany alcoholic drinks. They’ve long been the place where Japanese people go to unwind after a long day. For a heavy dose of traditional Japan – order yourself some shochu. While sake is a familiar accompaniment to sushi in the U.S., shochu is usually the drink of choice among locals. If it’s beer you like, then nama beeru (which just means draft beer) might be more your style.
Want to drink like a true Peruvian while in the Sacred Valley? Join us on a Peru & Machu Picchu tour and enjoy a picnic lunch of local specialties, including some homemade chicha – a fermented corn beer dating back to the Inca Empire. But pace yourself. This sour beer has a consistency more like soup and the alcohol affects your body three times more due to the high altitude!
The Italian lakes are dotted with restaurants and outdoor patios with breathtaking water views. These are perfect little spots to share a conversation with a local while enjoying an Aperol Spritz – the most iconic Italian aperitivo. Enjoyed year-round, this delightful blend of bubbles and bitters is best during long summer evenings. This drink is consumed all over Italy, but there’s just something about an Aperol Spritz in the lakeside town of Bellagio that is simply magical. (Side note: it’s also our co-founder, Susie Piegza’s favorite drink. She’ll order it in the Lakes and anywhere else she can find it!)
When in Havana, retrace Hemingway’s footsteps on an evening walk that leads to El Floridita, a small bar Hemingway loved and frequented often, where you can catch some live music and sip a daiquiri, Papa’s favorite drink. And when those musicians start playing, remember this: Cubans love to dance…and nothing makes them happier than when you join in. They don’t care if you have the moves; they just want you to let the beat take over.
One of our favorite places for lunch and conversation with Chileans is at the Santa Rita Estate in Maipo – a property that’s a national monument with more than 200 years of history. Of course, there will be pairings and tastings, sure to include Cabernet Sauvignon and some other signature varietals. Plus, your hosts will take you on a leisurely walk in the French-style vineyards to show off their whole operation from the vines to bottling.
Queenstown, New Zealand
In New Zealand tour, we boat across Lake Wakatipu to Mt. Nicholas, where we follow an incredibly cinematic walking trail that leads to Walter Peak High Country Farm. The mountain and lake views here are unmatched and, in the end, you arrive at the farm where you can relax in the lush gardens that roll down to the lake and sip a pint of one of the great local beers as a post-walk reward. (Below is our founder, Edward Piegza, waiting with a try of local brew for guests!)
Vietnam’s capital is an old-fashioned city with sidewalk cafes and pavement barbers. There are wide boulevards lined with trees and filled with bicycles. Great mansions give way to crowded alleyways like Silk Street and Fried Fish Street. Here, there are plenty of streetside bars to sit, relax and watch the natives and tourists collide while sipping on a locally brewed Hanoi Beer or (for the thrillists) a rice wine called “ruou”.