Ten great airport bars in which to wait for your flight

Sometimes a stiff drink is called for when faced with the rigours of modern air travel. Fortunately, after years of overpriced mediocrity, airports are lifting their game.

Here are some of the world's best wine bars, cocktail lounges and ale houses that just happen to be located in airports.

Bubbles Seafood and Wine Bar

Where? Amsterdam Airport Schipol, Netherlands

Airport bars.

Airports are so frequently the beginning of a big occasion, yet few offer dedicated champagne bars such as Schipol's Bubbles, which must be a contender for the world's finest airport wine list. It includes the complete range from respected champagne house Taittinger, while well-heeled travellers can order wines such as Penfolds Grange by the glass. The menu includes seafood platters, salmon or shrimp sandwiches, oysters and caviar. It's another reason why Schipol regularly figures in lists of the world's top airports, as voted by travellers.

One Flew South

Where? Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, US

Airport bars.

The world's busiest airport has not long been a place you'd want to loiter. But that all changed with the inception of One Flew South, ATL's first upmarket restaurant and bar, in 2008. A clever cocktail list dubbed 'Salute to Aeromarine' pays homage to the prohibition era, when Aeromarine Airways flew wealthy passengers aboard seaplanes from Miami to Cuba or the Bahamas, where they could drink legally. Sip on an Old Fashioned or Pisco Sour while you await acclaimed chef Duane Nutter's innovative 'southernational' cuisine.

Casa Bacardi

Where? Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden

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Airport bars.

Where else to locate Sweden's first Bacardi bar than at the airport? Classic rum cocktails are served in a setting reminiscent of 1950s Cuba. Bacardi is an essential element of a number of world-famous drinks including the Mojito, Cuba Libre and the Daiquiri, so you can expect a strong rendition of all of them at Casa Bacardi. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail and some tapas prior to setting off on your journey.

Rogue Ales

Where? Portland International Airport, US

Airport bars.

A forced layover here will feel like an extension of your holiday in America's capital of craft beer. The Oregon cult brewery serves up its full range of offbeat beers and solid American pub grub in a venue that is distinctly Portlandian, belying its airport surrounds. Such is Rogue's affinity for Portland Airport (PDX) that early in 2015 the brewer produced a specialty bottling in honour of its iconic carpet, the Rogue PDX Carpet IPA (pictured).

Airbräu Brauhaus

Where? Munich Airport, Germany

Airport bars.

The only airport brewery in the world, Airbräu also boasts a giant outdoor beer garden and traditional music in the evenings. With monikers such as the Jetstream Pilsener and Aviator Double Bock, the Airbrau beers are up there with Germany's finest, brewed in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, and accompanied by hearty German fare such as pork knuckles, schnitzels and sausages. There are even brewery tours available to while away time between flights.

5280 Lounge

Where? Denver International Airport, US

Airport bars.

The airport is already the most socially acceptable place to drink alcohol in the morning, and 5280 Lounge makes it even more so. Its extensive list of breakfast cocktails includes six different types of Bloody Marys, for the jetlagged and those pretending to be. The cocktail list also includes a section devoted to locally made spirits, and even more paradoxically for an airport bar, a barrel-aged cocktail of the week. There's premium wine selections from around the world, as well as a beer list highlighting Colorado's craft brewers. Further proof that air travel and decent drinks need not be mutually exclusive.

The Center Bar

Where? Zurich Airport, Switzerland

Airport bars.

A masterclass in minimalist European design, Center Bar has won many plaudits, including best airport bar in the world at the inaugural Airport Food and Beverage Awards in 2011. A concise but thoughtful drinks list accompanies an elegant menu of seafood, with decadent options including a shot of Beluga Nobble Russian Vodka paired with 20 grams of the finest caviar. It's also the only place you'll find Zurich Airport Beer, which comes in a Pale Ale and Brown Ale brewed specially for the venue.

Buena Vista Café

Where? San Francisco Domestic Airport, US

Airport bars.

You are here for one purpose only, the Irish Coffee, which has a long lineage involving airports. Invented to warm weary passengers at Ireland's Shannon International Airport in the 1940s, the Irish Coffee was introduced to the US in 1952 by the original Buena Vista in Fisherman's Wharf. The cafe has served, by its count, more than 30 million of them since. Now you can experience the legendary drink at Buena Vista's sister venue in the confines of San Fran domestic. And let's face it, a coffee cocktail may be just about the perfect layover beverage, combining as it does your caffeine and booze fixes into one efficient package.

Coopers Alehouse

Where? Sydney Domestic Airport, Australia

Airport bars.

Sydney Airport is no longer a barren wasteland when it comes to finding a flavoursome beer on tap, with the arrival in Terminal Two of the sister venue to the long-running Coopers Alehouse at Adelaide Airport. The first Australian venue to be named Best Airport Bar in 2014, the Sydney Alehouse offers the full range of Coopers beers, taking its cues from the leading airport brewery bars in the US. With acclaimed tapas bar MoVida having also opened an outlet in the terminal, Sydney is setting a new standard in drinks and dining for Australian airports.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

Where? San Diego Airport, US

Airport bars.

For the uninitiated, San Diegan brewer Stone was voted by the readers of Beer Advocate as the number one 'All Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth', and its assertive, hop-forward India Pale Ales are seen as exemplars of the style. If you missed your chance to try an Arrogant Bastard Ale or a Ruination IPA straight from the source, check in early and head straight to the new transit outpost. The Terminal 2 facility is outfitted with 12 taps pouring 10 Stone beers plus two rotating beers from other craft brewing companies.

Do you have a favourite airport-based watering hole? Tell us where in the comments.

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