All around the world, people are working hard all week with their eyes on the weekend. There’s no better place than a nightclub to blow off steam, meet new and crazy people, create some amazing memories, and then forget them. If you’re travelling, a city’s nightlife can tell you more about that place than all of their museums combined. Relationships are started, ended, and everything in between at nightclubs. You’ll see people making love, right next to people fist-fighting. From dancers to bouncers to bartenders, from the regulars to the weird people sitting in the corner- everyone is there. Friendships, rivalries, business partnerships, scam artists and drifters… you’ll find it all at your local neighborhood watering hole.
Whatever your flavor happens to be, you can find exactly what you’re looking for at one of these unique, interesting, and sometimes shocking clubs. From a club that almost guarantees you’ll end up in the hospital after spending the evening there, to a club that almost IS A hospital, to a club that tries to emulate the entire experience of camping, and some odd nightlife trivia tossed in for good measure – here are 15 shocking facts you didn’t know about nightclubs (unless you’re a world class party animal, of course). You can impress your friends with this trivia, and make sure to visit any of these places if you ever have the chance because there’s one thing they all have in common: they’ll all guarantee a memorable evening.
15. The Star Spangled Banner Was A Drinking Song
The tune of Star Spangled Banner was borrowed from an existing song before it was ever the national anthem of the United States of America. In 1931, Francis Scott Key’s adaptation of a song called “To Anacreon In Heaven” was named the national anthem of America, but before that it was a drinking song for a popular gentleman’s club with the membership consisting of amateur musicians.
One could argue that it more or less remains a drinking song to this very day, being played before every major sporting event, just moments before fans get obliterated to either celebrate their team’s victory or to numb the sting of a loss.
14. The Origin Of Toasting Is To Avoid Being Poisoned
Everyone who has ever taken a drink has toasted with their companions. A ceremonial touching of glasses is a universal sign of friendship and mutual respect, but it hasn’t always been that way. These days, we don’t really have to worry about anyone trying to poison us to death, at least not on a daily basis. Back in Medieval Europe, however, it was a whole different ballgame. It wasn’t uncommon to have dinner and drinks with someone who could very well be secretly plotting your demise.
When someone handed you a drink, it became customary to aggressively hit their cups together, resulting in liquid from both glasses spilling into each other’s drinks. Essentially, they were saying “Listen bucko, if you’re going to poison me – I’m taking you along for the ride.”
13. There’s A Bar That’s Ready For A Zombie Attack
Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den is ready for anything, if by ‘anything’ we’re talking about a zombie outbreak. They have a chainsaw that sits behind a glass, with a sign instructing you to break the glass in the event of a zombie attack. If a chainsaw isn’t your weapon of choice, maybe one of their strong drinks will do the trick.
The bartenders here dress like Shaun from the film Shaun of the Dead, so everybody with cool taste in movies gets a kick out of that. Some people say that the whole zombie theme is getting played out, but in the event of an actual zombie uprising, you’ll be glad you decided to stop here for a pint or two.
12. There’s An Underwater Bar In Israel
Red Sea Star is an underwater restaurant and bar located in Israel. Half of this place is above ground, the other half is completely submerged under water. You can watch fish swim by while you enjoy your drinks; it’s a very unique experience. They go all out for the underwater theme, so depending on how you feel about theme restaurants this could be hit or miss, but it’s an interesting experience nonetheless. At the time of its creation, Red Sea Star was the only underwater bar in the world.
11. There’s A Giant Booze-Cloud Floating Around In Space
We live in a culture that admires and worships astronauts (maybe not as much as we should, anymore, but nonetheless). They’re treated like heroes. They have ascended past humanity and experienced the next step of human progress. We treat them like visionaries, but maybe they’re just hardcore alcoholics?
Floating around in space, there’s a giant cloud of naturally-occurring alcohol. There’s enough hooch up there to make four trillion rounds of drinks, a trillion times. We’re talking trillions upon trillions here, so make sure you eat some bread. This space booze was discovered just over 20 years ago in 1995, and is 1000 times the diameter of our solar system. It’s interesting and fascinating science, but honestly it’s just a great excuse to open up a bar in space and call it the “Spacebar.”
10. The Disappearing Pubs Of Oxford Street
All the way back in the mid 1800’s, Oxford Street in London was home to a whopping 38 bars. These days, there’s only one left. The final remaining pub on Oxford Street in London is called Tottenham. There’s a huge history and legacy in this place. Adorned by classic Victorian stylings, the Tottenham is only a stone’s throw away from other famous landmarks, including the famed Oxford music hall.
They’ve done an incredible job of preserving everything, and it’s absolutely worth a visit the next time you’re in the area. Just watch out if you venture into the alleyway after a night out- you don’t want to run into the ghost of Jack the Ripper.
9. The United States Has One of The Highest Legal Drinking Ages
In about 60% of the world, teenagers can start legally drinking on their own at the age 18 or 19. In Canada, for example, it varies between 18 and 19 depending where you are – which is why a cross border trip up to the Great North is a popular destination for college kids looking to let loose without breaking the law.
With the drinking age at 21 in the USA, it’s among the highest that you’ll find in the world. The United States, along with 6% of other countries, are tied with a legal drinking age of 21. Of course, there are other places where it’s illegal at any age. The craziest part is there are countries that don’t even have a minimum drinking age, so it’s more common for a country to let children drink than it is for a country to make people wait until they’re 21!
8. There’s A Nightclub Based On The Great Outdoors
Usually people that are into the club scene might not be the same crowd that likes to spend their weekends at a campground, at the lake, or roughing it in the middle of nowhere. But some clever bar owners in Brooklyn figured that there’s got to be some crossover between the club crowd and people that love camping, so they opened a bar called Camp.
From walls covered with stunning trees and lights that look like the sun shining through the branches, to rustic furniture made out of trees, to hardwood floors that look like something you’d find in a quaint old cabin, Camp does everything they can to set the scene perfectly. Everyone loves sitting around a campfire and having drinks with friends, and now you don’t even have to leave the borough to get a taste of the country life. They even have themed drinks, like a cocktail that arrives at your table with a burning marshmallow on top. Which reminds us, there are two kinds of people on this Earth: those who patiently let their marshmallows get golden and bubbly, and those who put them directly into the flame so that they catch fire and burn to a charred crisp.
7. The Most Dangerous Drinking Spot In Britain
For every 100,000 people drinking in Blackpool in a given year, over 1,230 of them need to be hospitalized by the end of the night. That equals roughly 5 customers needing to be hospitalized after visiting this place, every single day, if you average it out – but since they’re busiest on weekends, it’s not hard to imagine a Friday or Saturday night in which 15, or even 20 people are hospitalized.
What leads to such a dangerous place to go drinking? It can be a combination of many things that create a perfect storm. First of all, once a place has a bit of a reputation, it attracts the type of people who frankly don’t care that it’s so dangerous, which perpetuates the problem. But it isn’t just about geography. Mix strong drinks with bartenders who won’t cut people off in time, a lax attitude towards security, a younger crowd who doesn’t know any better, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
6. There’s A Bar With Actual Mermaids Swimming Around
Dive Bar (get it?) in Sacramento has actual mermaids swimming around in tanks of water for your entertainment. Not only are they going for a pun with their name, it’s also ironic, since Dive Bar isn’t a dive bar in the traditional sense at all. When you say “Dive Bar,” you picture this run down place with the regulars sitting around the bar giving you dirty looks, and maybe a couple people sitting at tables or playing pool (while getting dirty looks from the regulars).
Dive Bar, on the other hand, aims to create a much more pleasant atmosphere. They’ve got several areas to keep you entertained, and even have a setup for dueling pianos for when you’ve just got to smash some keys.
5. High School Cafeterias In Europe Serve Booze
If you’re a high school student who is trying to catch a buzz before class, you’ll need to be very sneaky and you’ll risk getting expelled. This isn’t something that we recommend doing, because the USA doesn’t think students should be drinking at all until they’re 21, and even then, you can’t just get drunk in between class. In fact, there was an American high school class that went on a trip to Europe, and their principal was fired after the students finished a meal with a small sip of wine. However, they’ve got a very different attitude across the pond, where the legal drinking age is just 16 in some places, and there are even high school cafeterias that will serve students a drink with their meal.
4. Abraham Lincoln Had A Liquor License And Operated A Tavern
Abraham Lincoln is known for many things. When it comes to presidents, let’s face it – they just don’t make’em like they used to. Honest Abe is very well-liked, but perhaps even more so by some of the patrons who used to hang out in his fine drinking establishments.
We know him for the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and his proclivity for badass headwear. But back in the day, he was known as a shopkeeper and a bartender. In fact, that’s where he earned the nickname “Honest Abe.” It was long before his presidency. He earned the nickname for his fair business dealings with his customers – in other words he probably never tried to pour a drink short.
3. Toronto Used To Have 1 Bar For Every 70 People
Canadians love to drink. There isn’t much else to do during their long, cold winters beside sitting by the fire with a drink, playing hockey down at the rink after a few beers, and…well, you get the picture. In the 19th century, in the city of Toronto, there was one bar for every 70 citizens. Drinking and bar culture was so popular that regular stores started transforming themselves into bars, such as a former leather shop called D.W. Alexander that converted to a pub and is still around to this day. It’s like people owned all sorts of businesses, but their customers just wanted to get wasted, and so they figured “Okay, fine, we’ll just become a bar instead.”
2. Origins Of Cocktails
There are different theories on where the word cocktail comes from. One of them sounds completely plausible, one of them sounds like somebody is trolling us. Can you tell which is which?
The first theory is based on old school cock fights in the backrooms of bars. The guys putting on the fights would feed their roosters some alcohol to get them extra aggressive and reckless before the fight, and these drinks were dubbed “cock ales.” The next theory suggests that the name cocktail comes from prominent Irish chieftains who would put the tail of a rooster into their drinks to show off how classy they were. Which one of those sounds the most realistic? We’ll let you be the judge.
1. The Hospital Bar
There’s a bar in Singapore called “The Clinic Bar” where everything is modeled after a hospital. On the one hand, it’s great if you have a bit too much to drink and need to be hospitalized, but really, nobody likes going to the hospital. Why would you theme a bar based on a place that nobody wants to go? It’s different, it’s unique, but at the end of the day it’s also cold and clinical – a far cry from many of the bars on this list. They’ve even got dentist chairs, in case a hospital setting wasn’t off-putting enough. On the plus side, there are wheelchairs that you can wheel around in for when the room starts to spin.