Best bars for conversation in the world
October 25, 2018 12:25 PM   Subscribe

So I want to do a project to send people to the best bars in the world to meet people and have conversations with them. As in "Where to have a drink and meet the most interesting men and women in the world." Most of the best bar lists are about cocktail curation and focus on high end bars. I feel at least some of this would be in more divey places to meet the characters of the world. Where would I find a list or a resource to track down these kinds of best bars out there?
posted by rileyray3000 to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I spend way too much time in bars, often alone. I've spent the past couple years working my way through the Top 50 Bars in the World list as I travel and have found little correlation between bars on the list and bars where the bartenders/patrons are actually interested in talking.

I don't really have a list but have certainly found American bars to be the most likely to have conversation seekers and especially unfancy bars in larger cities.

MeMail me if you'd like more details on what I have personally experienced around the world.
posted by Cosine at 12:38 PM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Where sailors hang out.
posted by sammyo at 12:39 PM on October 25, 2018

Sex workers are super interesting. Consider maybe going to the bar within a strip club! I’m a stripper so of course I’m biased, but in my humble and biased opinion, sex workers are definitely among “the most interesting men and women in the world” and strip clubs are a good (and relatively safe) place to find them.

FIRST BIG CAVEAT: You must spend money on the dancers.
Is there a budget for this project? Because you should never, ever, ever go to a strip club without putting cash into the hands of at least one dancer. (If anyone thinks they have found an exception to this rule, they are wrong.) Paying a cover charge to the club doesn’t count for this, nor does buying drinks for a dancer. Strippers pay to work each shift and suffer a lot of stigma in society for working in the industry. Talking to customers (even with clothes on) is definitely work. I had customers who would come into see me and pay me just for conversation, both of us fully clothed. And if you decide to keep it focused just on conversation (no private dances, etc.) keep in mind: The stripper needs to make money and often needs to budget her time accordingly. It’s helpful to say something like: “I have X dollars and I want to be respectful of your time, because I know you’re working. If I give you half up front and half at the end, would that get me Y minutes of conversation?”

SECOND BIG CAVEAT: Do not seek out truth in strip clubs.
Strip clubs are not about truth. For sex workers, truth fucks with your money and it fucks with your safety. Truth about my outside life, truth about my thoughts about you, truth about how my day is going, all sorts of truths—I’m careful about all of it, even when it comes to customers I genuinely like. Basically, I keep the broad strokes are mostly accurate, but make sure that it can't be traceable, and sometimes I leave breadcrumbs in a trail away from my real life. (E.g. I really am college-educated, but I often say that I attended a different college than I really did; etc.) My job is to entertain people and make them feel special. Truth is nowhere in my job description. And for what it’s worth, I don’t expect it from customers, either. I’m careful to structure my interactions with them so that I don’t get burned if it turns out that they aren’t telling the truth about things. (E.g. It doesn’t matter to me if they swear they don’t have an STD because I’m not going to have sex with them anyway.) So in short: I value truth immensely in the outside world, but within that building, we play by different rules.

If you’re okay with these two caveats though, definitely check out a strip club for some interesting conversation. A lot of the most interesting conversations in my life have been with strippers within strip clubs. Ask around in-person in different cities, as online research about strip clubs is incredibly difficult and (in my experience) pretty useless in terms of conveying the actual cultures of different clubs. And good luck with the project either way—sounds fun!
posted by Peppermint Snowflake at 1:27 PM on October 25, 2018 [10 favorites]

Eagles, American Legions, etc in small old towns.
posted by Grandysaur at 2:18 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

This might not be directly related but a British guy name Ian Marchant wrote an excellent travelogue (The Longest Crawl) of his journey across Britain (from the tip to top) visiting pubs. Highly enjoyable read and you might get some ideas for your project from it.
posted by jacobean at 3:37 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

As anyone who went to the U of C or lived on the south side of Chicago knows, the answer is Jimmy's.
posted by capricorn at 6:12 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

« Older Help me find a quiet replacement ergonomic...   |   How to get a yellow fever vaccination if you are... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.