Over at Wired.com there’s a little article detailing a lone bar in Baghdad that was once housed in the green zone. It’s an OK story but this response is aces. And makes all other bar tales pale in comparison:
World’s Most Dangerous Bar ?—hardly. Such a bombastic statement can only be made by those who have been there and drunk that. ( Disclaimer: I can only add a couple myself from firsthand experience )
I have no clue what Spencer Ackerman’s qualifications to write such a tale might be, but perhaps his employers should finance a factfinding tour and pick up his tabs. I would suggest starting at some of the tamer pubs in Belfast . Connect the dots to the docks for the Triple Crown in Talinn , St. Petersburg ( be very wary of anyone who still calls it Leningrad) and Archangel. If the latter if off limits, trundle up to Murmansk. The interior of Russia-Siberia has many bars or gory lore, but proof is somewhat lacking so we depend on the wild tales of the alleged survivors or eyewitnesses. Perhaps the worst saloons on the planet for ” ambiance” would be found in Vladivostok, that sunny souther Old Russian resort and port where yopu can mix it up with the North Koeans, Shanghaiers, dark Japs and the ever cheery Soviets for whom the Wall never fell. It’s only becasue Petropavlovsk up there in Kamchatka is so isolated that Vlad the Imbiber gets the honors in the Russian Far East dives.
One place I can attest to for world class bar gore is Bangkok ( several , actually ) and some real sh_it always going down in AIDs-infested blackmarketeering He-She Chiang Mai. There are jungle pits in the oil city of Cebu in the southern Phillpines and the pirate haven of Ambon in the Moluccas , if you dare. Perhaps the ugliest bar scene on Earth , currently , could be found in the capital of the civil-war torn Solomon Islands, the lovely portside cesspool of Honiara where the battle of Guadalcanal is the nightly floor show. My uncle hated it there when he was there…in 1943…and it’s no better today, I hear.
But for real olympic indulgence of carnage nothing beats east Africa and south Africa if your are Anglo . No particular place or joint…a just a swath of them. Interior Africa ?—well, that’s the Heart of Darkness. I would imagine it’s no fun going out for a night on the town in Lagos , Kuanda, and Accra , either.
That leaves Latin America. The night my bus from Mexico City broke down in Mezcala , Guerrero on the road to bipolar Acapulco was blood curdling. No amount of the native blood thinning mezcal could help. But there are many bellicose bars in Latin America , narcos or not. Many. Throw some darts at a map.
But Baghdad ? the green zone ?? … well, the bar described herein is after all a country club . Especially when compared to the real dangerous dive zones of the world. For honest straight up reporting on this topic, forget the hype and faux journalists. Ask a merchant marine whose got 20,000 leagues in his wake.