One can find a local bar to rest quietly and have a snack in almost every corner of the world (like in Paris or Vienna), but these two artistic and spectacular establishments are more than places to enjoy a glass of wine. The Joben Bistro in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and the Museum HR Giger Bar in Gruyères, Switzerland are two bars you will find difficult to forget.
The beautiful medieval town of Cluj-Napoca, capital of Transylvania, is located in Northwest Romania, in a region that inevitably brings back macabre images since it is the birthplace of Count Dracula, a historical figure known locally by the nickname Vlad the Impaler, one of the cruelest creatures who ever lived. Visitors to the historic city center will not find the famous vampire, but will quickly locate the Joben Bistro, a pub-bar that seems out of the imagination of British writer HG Wells or the reinterpretation of a Jules Verne novel. Divided into three rooms, it consists of a series of theatrical installations and unique design elements, some from the 19th century. Joben Bistro is a curiously cozy industrial space, with a lot of copper pipes, exposed mechanical gears, unusual wooden furniture and dim and spooky lighting. Its pseudo-Victorian style creates a world of fantasy and science fiction, which could work as a set for a Tim Burton film.
Museum HR Giger Bar
Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland
Gruyères is a historic municipality in the Swiss canton of Fribourg. There, travelers can find Château St. Germain, a castle built between the 11th and 13th centuries, which houses one of the most unusual bars imaginable: the Museum HR Giger Bar. The cavernous bar was designed by the Swiss surrealist artist Hans Rudolf Giger, internationally known for creating the monster for the movie Alien: The Eighth Passenger (1979) directed by Ridley Scott, which won Giger an Oscar in the category of Special Effects. The bar´s interior recreates an otherworldly atmosphere. The focal point is a structure that simulates a skeleton covered by double arches of vertebrae that traverse the vaulted ceiling of the old castle. It is said that the feeling in this bar recalls the biblical story of Jonah and the Whale and the sensation of being inside the belly of a fossilized prehistoric creature. Towards the back, the chairs resemble by pelvis and bones, and the floor tiles are embossed with strange hieroglyphics. The labyrinthine structure of the museum –bar has two thick walls that display many of the works created by Giger along an artistic career that lasted over 40 years. By the way, if you order something, it better be a comforting drink, as the place, although amazing, is not precisely conducive to peace and serenity. ■