Making the Most of Busted Travel Plans: Drinking at the Airport

The 10-Minute Happy Hour

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There are few worse feelings when traveling than the sucker punch of a delayed flight — or even worse a straight up cancelled trip — especially when there’s a connection on the other side. The upside here: a chance to check out the airport bars, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a chance to drink in some local flavor.

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Work often has me living from suitcase to suitcase. With all the miles under my belt, I’ve learned that smooth sailing is a rarity and the norm for travel is a bumpy road. You must be ready to roll with the punches, including layovers, lost luggage, misguided drivers and subpar accommodations. 

The bright side? Almost every place on the planet has a bar somewhere nearby to help soothe your wounds, including airports.

Airport bars can be sleezy, generic, and cheesy, but they can also be your saving grace. Not sure what to order in a less than charming airport bar? Try some of these suggestions from well-traveled food and wine writers. As for airport bars that hold their own, here are a few I’ve found along my way that proved delightful and more importantly thirst quenching.

Wine in mind? My latest love affair is with an airport chain wine bar, the simple and elegant Vino Volo. I’ve hit up this wine bar in Baltimore’s BWI, Detroit and Philadelphia International. Each time, it’s a welcome respite for the weary traveler  — not to mention having a fabulous wine and appetizer selection. They polka-dot the US now with twenty airport locations and counting. For a nice cold beer hit up Fenway Park’s Boston Beerworks outpost in terminal C at Logan airport, and in San Fran’s SFO, you can't go wrong with Anchor Brewing Company.

Being stuck in an airport doesn’t mean you can’t get a feel for the locals.  Airport bars, like the honky tonk outpost of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville, can have a great local vibe. ATL’s Hartsfield airport also pours up local appeal at One Flew South with their Georgia Peach Bellini.

One last airport bar is a destination in itself. If you happen to have your swimsuit in your carry-on hit up the Pool Bar at Singapore's SIN airport. Order the tourist must-have: a Singapore Sling. You’ll completely forget you’re even at the airport. 

For this week's 10-Minute Happy Hour, pour up a glass to inspire your next vacay and enjoy it while planning your itinerary. For me I’ll be sipping Cognac and conjuring images of France.

What's the best airport bar you’ve found along the way? Do tell!

(Images: Maureen Petrosky)

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