Swigging Craft Beers in Prague
The Prague Beer Museum isn’t really a museum; it’s a beer bar. And it’s not one of those overstuffed, ersatz Hofbräuhauses either: It’s the best new place to sip local and artisanal brews in a city that’s already crazy for the stuff. Chic Czechs and burly barflies jam into two cozy, lantern-lit rooms covered in vintage beer posters. Between swigs from the 30 gleaming taps (pints from $1.50; praguebeermuseum.com), nosh on above-average pub fare like pickled hermelín and burgers ($3.50 to $10), then sleep it off in a Cubist-inspired bedroom at the year-old Augustine hotel (from $270; theaugustine.com), on the grounds of a thirteenth-century monastery.
Gorging on Fish and Chips in England
Gastro-arrivistes continue to bribe and plead their way into London’s three-star restaurants. But the comfort-food-forward are heading down to Devon and Cornwall, where locavorism has made surprising inroads into England’s famously fad-averse chip shops. At Hanbury’s in Torquay (hanburys.net), the best of the old-school chippies, gruff, ancient waiters brogue on merrily about the day’s catches (from $14); at Sophia’s in Penzance (sophiaspenzance.co.uk), it’s a toss-up whether the sole or the spuds ($25) were harvested closer to home. Naturally, such an eminently exploitable trend is celebrity-chef catnip. But Rick Stein (the Anglo Emeril) gets it right, resurrecting beef-tallow frying, which imparts a carnivorous complexity—and nonpareil texture—to the batter crust. Get your fix at Stein’s casual counter in Falmouth or the posher Seafood Restaurant in Padstow—where you can also shack up in one of sixteen modern rooms (from $213; rickstein.com).
Shelling Out for Bottle Service in Shanghai
“Yes, we can!” fever may be waning in the U.S., but at the quixotically named Obama Club in Shanghai, they’re still partying like it’s 2008 (obamaclub-sh.com). In a town known for its over-the-top nightclubs, Obama stands apart, if only for its resplendent tackiness: The 43,000-square-foot super-club is decked out with faux-crystal chandeliers, gilded mannequin torsos, stripper poles, and party rooms named after U.S. cities. The door policy is fairly lax, and there’s generally no cover charge. But if you want Vegas-style exclusivity, be prepared to pay for it: VIP rooms run $600 a night, and a bottle of Mumm Champagne will set you back $150. For a touch more sophistication, stay at the newly renovated Fairmont Peace Hotel, once the party spot for prewar Shanghai society (from $340; fairmont.com/peacehotel).
Celebrating Vegetables in San Francisco
Come wintertime, it’s inevitable that Greenmarket inventory will thin here in New York. But in San Francisco, farm-to-fork eating is a year-round affair. The hyper-est of the hyperlocal can be found at Noe Valley’s Incanto, which offers dishes like chanterelle-and-garden-weed risotto ($16, incanto.biz), or at the new Saison in the Mission, where juicy wood pigeon is a standout ($98 for an eight-course tasting menu; saisonsf.com). For those who want to actually taste the soil on their shaggy-mane mushrooms, ForageSF organizes weekend wild-food walks, with forager-chef Iso Rabins harvesting everything from fungi to nasturtium flowers ($30; foragesf.com). The Sir Francis Drake Hotel offers a private tour of the Ferry Building farmers’ market led by Top Chef alum Jen Biesty, followed by a dinner incorporating your finds at Scala’s Bistro (two-night package for two from $1,500; sirfrancisdrake.com).
Sunning and Slurping in Sydney
It’s summer in Sydney, so you can’t really go wrong, hedonistically speaking. But for top-notch carousing, join the models, foodies, and surfer-scenesters migrating from overly touristy Bondi Beach to casually hip Manly. Inside Manly Pavilion, originally a thirties bathing house, hotshot chef Jonathan Barthelmess dishes up sweet native snapper ($39) and superfresh Sydney rock oysters ($39 per dozen; manlypavilion.com.au). Launch your post-beach bar crawl in Surry Hills, Sydney’s answer to the Lower East Side, where Café Lounge serves stiff martinis (from $15) in a courtyard furnished with comfy velvet armchairs (cafelounge.com.au). Ching-a-Lings has the area’s best rooftop views (133 Oxford St.), and Pocket Bar is a hole-in-the-wall serving surprisingly great wines by the carafe ($19 to $44, pocketsydney.com.au). The harbor-hugging Park Hyatt is within walking distance (from $645; sydney.park.hyatt.com).
Sampling New Dishes in New Orleans
New Orleans comeback stories are rapidly becoming cliché, and here’s one more: At 4 a.m. on Le Foret’s (leforetneworleans.com) first anniversary a few weeks ago, a taxicab crashed through its French windows. Twelve hours later, every piece of the ivory-toned room was back in place, and chef Jimmy Corwell was again prepping glorious lagniappes like cauliflower panna cotta with crab and caviar. The city’s rebuilt restaurant scene also includes newcomer Mesón 923, just blocks away (meson923.com), which provides something of an anomaly in this city of po’ boys: light fare, including a fine selection of crudi. There’s also a terrific new muffuletta in town at Donald Link’s Cochon Butcher (cochonrestaurant.com). The charming boutique hotel International House is a short stroll from all three (from $199; ihhotel.com).