The Most Dangerous Bars in the World

Bars serve a number of different purposes. Sure, you can get a drink there, but you can also meet people, exchange ideas and sometimes even get your ass kicked. In this feature, we’ll scour the globe for bars that really match with that last quality. Here are the most dangerous drinking establishments in the history of the world.

The Flying Shuttle

the flying shuttle

The English love their drink, and pub culture is ingrained into society. But The Flying Shuttle in Bolton probably should have been closed down long ago. Bartenders at the notoriously rowdy establishment were sometimes forced to serve patrons long after closing time because they were afraid the drunks would trash the place if they didn’t. When cops finally put it out of business after dozens of raids, the regulars went on an insane arson spree in the neighborhood, stealing garden furniture and garbage cans and using them to start blazes in the bar’s parking lot. (Photo credit: Tysons Beer Blog)

The Elbow Room

the elbow room

Alaska natives can tell you that during the long cold winters, there’s not much else to do but drink. One of the most notorious spots was The Elbow Room in the tiny town of Unalaska. In its prime, the Room was a constant flurry of drinks, money and fists. Crabbers would come in with their paychecks in cash and blow it all by ringing the bell over the bar and buying rounds for the house. The remote location (Unalaska is in the middle of the Aleutian chain of islands) and lack of women made The Elbow Room a nightmare, and even the town’s hiring of former Texas Rangers to enforce order barely worked. (Photo credit: Photosynth)

Terminal Bar

terminal bar

New Yorkers know that their city has been pretty seriously sanitized over the last few decades, especially around Times Square. But back in the ’70s and ’80s, that area was one of the most dismal in the city. The pimps, pushers, prostitutes and other dregs of Midtown all clustered at the Terminal Bar on 41st and 8th to drink their days and nights away. Transforming from a working-class Irish establishment to a pansexual, mostly black people bar wasn’t without its growing pains, and police were called to the Terminal on just about a daily basis. (Photo credit: Blogspot)

Abdille Nuradin’s Bar

abdille nuradin's bar

If you’re hanging out in Somalia’s capital city Mogadishu, chances are you need a drink. The hot spot in town is Abdille Nuradin’s Bar, located in front of the STN Tele Comp building. What’s inside this bar isn’t terrifically scary – in fact, it’s rather posh. But the neighborhood elevates it to truly dangerous territory. Frequent automatic weapons’ fire punctuates drinking sessions of 60-cent Heineken; car bombs have detonated outside and blackened the walls; and occasionally Muslim extremists pop off a couple shots inside in protest of Nuradin’s serving of alcohol. (Photo credit: ISN via FlickrCC)

Ups ‘N Downs

ups n downs

The Boston area is notorious for some seriously heavy drinking, but one bar that stood out from the pack for sheer violence was Dorchester’s Ups ‘N Downs. The place has been host to multiple room-clearing brawls, including a Christmas melee that involved a woman smashing a glass into the bartender’s face, only to be cold-cocked in response. One of the causes of tension was the bar’s two-floor structure, which packed the upstairs with African-Americans listening to hip-hop and the downstairs with Irish folk. In 2012, the city closed the place down after a knife melee left a bouncer hospitalized. (Photo credit: Boston Herald)


quinn's pub

Even an island paradise like Tahiti can get nasty on occasion, but luckily there’s one place that it seems to be localized in: Quinn’s Bar in Papeete. Located on the waterfront, this ramshackle hut was notorious for the no-rules chaos that spilled out of its doors each and every night. The horseshoe-shaped bar was the eye of a hurricane of violence and depravity, with multiple fistfights breaking out on a daily basis. The bar’s main room was ringed with curtained booths in which all manner of depravity took place, and beer bottles flew through the air like mosquitoes. (Photo credit: Tahiti Heritage)

The Ploughman

the ploughman

Liverpool pub The Ploughman has been in and out of the papers repeatedly for its intense level of violence. The bar has long served as a gathering place for local drug dealers. It was shut down in February after a gangland assassination saw a man shot through the front window of the place, with bullets narrowly missing other customers. The owners deny any responsibility for the anarchic nature of the pub that sees frequent brutal fistfights, but police allege that they stockpile guns and drugs for gangsters in the bar’s upstairs room. (Photo credit: Liverpool Echo)

PJ’s Cocktail Lounge

pj's cocktail lounge

Let’s head back to the Big Apple to show that, no matter how gentrified the city gets, there are still pockets of absolute chaos. Up in Harlem sits PJ’s Cocktail Lounge, a wretched hive of scum and villainy that since 2010 has been the site of multiple shootings, fistfights, beatings and other violence. PJ’s has been shut down in the past for serving to minors, but they obviously haven’t learned their lesson. With the body count that this place has racked up, you’re putting your life at risk just by walking down the sidewalk in front of it. (Photo credit: Columbia Spectator)

St. Helier Tavern

st. helier tavern, morden tavern

Let’s head back to Britain for another rough pub. The St. Helier Tavern in the London suburb of Carshalton is a grim brick structure that plays host to all manner of mayhem, week in and week out. Originally opened in 1936, the place became a gathering spot for organized crime in the ’90s and things started to go off the rails very quickly. Not one but several shotgun murders have happened at the St. Helier, with one notable incident in 1994 featuring two yobs in stocking masks blasting a guy on the pub’s patio and then trying to slit his throat in front of multiple witnesses. (Photo credit: Local Guardian)

Baghdad Country Club

baghdad country club

If you’re going to list dangerous bars, this short-lived watering hole located inside the Green Zone in Iraq’s war-torn capital city has to make the list. The ironically named Baghdad Country Club was the creation of a British paratrooper who wanted to create an enclave for Westerners to get away from the chaos in 2006, and surprisingly it ran fairly smoothly. Baghdad itself was embroiled in chaos, with multiple armies squabbling in the streets and mortar fire a constant, so if you were there at the time you probably needed a drink pretty bad. (Photo credit: Toru Okada via Flickr CC)