Eating, drinking and going out are some of the most popular past times in the world. Research shows that Americans spend about half of their food budgets, which amounts to around $2 700 or R27 000 per year, on eating out. But which cities are best for eating, drinking and going out?
Best for eating
1. New York, USA
Also known as the City That Never Sleeps, there is hardly any city better than New York for eating, drinking and going out. It has over 10 000 restaurants serving every kind of cuisine imaginable, including Italian, Chinese, Indian, Polish, Caribbean, Mexican and much more. Add to that its many bars, pubs and clubs, and you will never need to visit another city again.
2. Tokyo, Japan
This city has the most Michelin stars in the world with 400 stars between the restaurants (even more than the city of Paris). It is most famous, however, for its quality sushi bars. Ramen Street is also a must-visit destination for steaming bowls of noodles.
3. Paris, France
Paris is of course home to many fine, French dining restaurants. It is home to some of the world’s greatest chefs, including Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon and Alain Passard, and the mother-ship of cookery schools, Le Cordon Bleu. The French also excel at patisserie and a visit to one of the many excellent pastry shops in the city is highly recommended.
4. London, UK
Thanks to food television, London has become the home of the celebrity chef. Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey have paved the way for a thriving restaurant culture. Thanks to a highly diverse society, many different ethnic restaurants now sit alongside the more traditional pubs and chip shops.
5. Barcelona, Spain
The Catalan city of Barcelona offers a wealth of fine dining restaurants; from exciting and innovative modern cuisine, to more traditional classic establishments. It also has one of the world’s best food markets, the Boqueria.
Best for drinking
1. New Orleans, USA
Home of the annual Mardi Gras, New Orleans has 8.6 bars for every 10 000 households. Its most famous “drinking” street, Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, is well-known for live music and the many bars lining the street.
2. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Thanks to a myriad of canals, Amsterdam is also known as the Venice of the North and is home to hundreds of stylish bars and clubs. The most trendy can be found in Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein.
3. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is a cultural hotspot and packed with restaurants and bars. It also has one of the best clubbing scenes in Europe. The city’s most stylish and intriguing bars can be found in the Prenzlauer Berg.
4. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a party-goers heaven with bars, restaurants and clubs of all shapes and sizes. Join the fashionable elite in one of many flashy cocktail bars, admire the Hong Kong skyline from one of the rooftop bars, or discover the city’s historic side in one of the British-themed pubs.
5. Madrid, Spain
Certainly the most vibrant city in Spain, Madrid is known for its late night nightlife. Thanks to most bars, cafes and restaurants staying open until very late, night owls can party until the early morning hours.
Best for going out
1. Bangkok, Thailand
The cosmopolitan city of Bangkok certainly has a seedy side, but it also has a classy vibe with many gorgeous roof top hotel bars, rock bars, dance clubs and trendy pubs. Try the clubs on Sukhimvit Soi 10 or upscale Ku De Ta.
2. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Also known as the Paris of the South, Buenos Aires is the place to come if you want to dance till dawn. Another plus, is that it is less expensive than most of the big cities of the world. Those in the know recommend starting at the calmer bars of Recoleta and working up to the taverns of Palermo.
3. Las Vegas, USA
Sin City is the place to go if you fancy a night out like no other. The city bills itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World, which should already be an indication of what to expect during a night on the town. Casinos, bars, restaurants and shows are all a dime a dozen.
4. Montreal, Canada
Montreal is the party city in Canada, with most bars only shutting down in the early morning hours. You’ll find the in-crowd at the bars and pubs of Crescent Street, Sainte Catherine Street East and The Village.
5. Ibiza, Spain
Yet another Spanish city on our list, Ibiza, has become famous for its nightlife and electronic music that originated on the island. Its summer club scene is well-known and attracts thousands of tourists to the island.
The list above is only a small snapshot of the global entertainment scene and leaves plenty more exploring to do. Eating, drinking and going out is some of life’s pleasures. Don’t neglect them the next time you travel.