The first time I flew on an airplane, I was 18 years old. Headed to San Francisco and unsure of what to expect, I boarded my flight…nervously. I’ll never forget looking out my window and soaring over the clouds for the first time, or the knot in my stomach when we hit a particularly brutal patch of turbulence.
Six years later, that anxiety has stayed with me, and fault me for saying so, but I’ve found a solution—the best cure is indulging in a pre-flight cocktail. Sitting down before I board the plane and sipping on a drink is my favorite way to get ready for my travels. No, I’m not saying you need to be sloppy drunk before you take your next flight, but there’s no harm in enjoying your favorite alcoholic beverage before take-off.
No matter if you’re prone to airport jitters like me, or just like to kick back and enjoy a nice glass of scotch during long layovers, we’ve rounded up some of the best airport bars in the world:
Bubbles Wine Bar, O’Hare International Airport: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has a lot to be proud of. Just think about the city’s festive celebration of St. Patty’s Day, the Belushi Brothers, and more recently, the Bubbles Wine Bar at the O’Hare Airport. This in-airport delight is enough to turn a two-buck-Chuck drinker into a sommelier. With a Baby Grand in the bar, and a modern black and white color palette, Bubbles is a classy place to sip on a glass of your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon before take-off. Be sure to examine their extensive champagne list as well.
Oxygen Lounge Juko, Narita International Airport: Chiba, Japan
Looking for a buzz that’s not alcoholic? The next time you find yourself in Japan, check out the Narita International Airport’s oxygen bar. You can buy 10 minutes worth of oxygen at a time and choose from a variety of scented flavors. Also, think about it–this is going to make for some hilarious photos for your travel slideshow when you get home. People love to see their friends with strange objects shoved up their noses.
One Flew South, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport: Atlanta, Georgia
Kill some time in the ATL by hanging out at the airport’s signature bar, One Flew South. With spinoffs of Southern classics available like the Basil Julep and Reserve Whiskey Sour, you can wet your whistle and work on your Southern drawl simultaneously. You can also opt for a more complex cocktail like Santana’s Daughter, made with Tanteo® jalapeno tequila, beets, cardamom, and lime.
First Class Terminal, Frankfurt International Airport: Frankfurt, Germany
This one can be a little tricky to access, but it is well worth the hassle. Taking on the creative name of First Class Terminal, this German watering hole houses over 80 different types of whiskey. However, the bar is only accessible to first class passengers flying with Lufthansa. Doesn’t the exclusivity make you want to go even more though? Inside the lounge, you’ll also be privy to a cigar room, a candy bar, and massage chairs. Those Germans know how to party.
Stone Brewing Co., San Diego International Airport: San Diego, California
If you haven’t heard of Stone Brewing Co., you’ve probably been living under a rock. The company was founded in 1996 and has become a SoCal staple, and Stone has arguably been the brewery that put San Diego on the craft beer map. With a pub location in Terminal 2 of the San Diego airport, you can definitely find the perfect beer to top off your travel experience.