Let’s be honest, 2017 is shaping up to be a pretty weird year. So why not vacation in another one? These bars and restaurants are portals to another time and place. Travel to colonial times and drink Thomas Jefferson’s home brew, or play arcade games in the ’80s. Whether you remember the time or want to know what it was like, it’s easy to time warp to these destinations.
1200s: Have a Medieval Time at an Irish Castle
Historical fiction fans will recognize Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland, from an episode of the CW period drama Reign. History purists will notice that while not much has changed since this castle was erected in 1288, the castle-turned-hotel does feature a few modern amenities in its rooms. If spring mattresses, indoor plumbing, and other creature comforts are too anachronistic for your liking, you can always head outside. The hotel’s activities are true to the period and include horseback riding and even falconry.
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1770s: Dine Like the Founding Fathers
Inside the walls of Philadelphia’s City Tavern, it’s always 1770-something. Everything here is exactly the way it was when the founding fathers were regulars—even the menu. Not only can you eat what the founding fathers ate (on dinnerware of the period), but you can eat what they made. The City Tavern menu includes Benjamin Franklin’s recipe for tofu, and Thomas Jefferson’s own home brew.
1850s: Visit Victorian London
Walk through an old pair of tavern doors near London’s Leicester Square and into the Victorian world of Phileas Fogg, the protagonist of “Around the World in 80 Days.” While Mr. Fogg is fictional, the décor at Mr. Fogg’s is authentic. Like a Victorian TGI Fridays, this whimsical tavern’s walls are covered with antique “souvenirs” from Mr. Fogg’s travels, like rifles and hot air balloons. The only thing more surreal than the atmosphere is the drink list. Libations like the Old-Fashioned Fanny, Enthuzimuzzy, and Nanty Narker go a long way to help transport patrons to another time.
1860s: Drink Moonshine in the Prohibition Era
In a back alley, in the heart of Rome, there’s a doorway that leads to a moonshine shack from the Prohibition era — to be exact, Pennsylvania 1862. The Jerry Thomas Project takes its inspiration from one of the first mixology books in the world, and every drink here is based on the recipes in its pages. The atmosphere is also true to the period, from the slide guitar playing in the background to the password required to get in.
1880s: Enjoy La Belle Epoque at a French Bistro
Renoir, Monet and Cezanne all dined at Paris’ La Closerie de Lilas, likely before heading to the Folies Bergere to see the girls dancing their way through université. If you’ve ever been curious about what it was like to wine and dine in the party era of the belle époque, you’ll be glad to hear that little has changed since those days. Not only are the décor and menu items largely the same, Paris’ intellectuals and artists still stop here before hitting the town.
For the rest of the bars and restaurants that’ll take you back in time, like the perpetual ’70s house party in Los Angeles, visit Fodor’s.