An International Travel Phenomenon I Have Noticed, Has Anyone Else Noticed This?


International Travel Phenomenon amsterdam

An International Travel Phenomenon I Have Noticed, Has Anyone Else Noticed This?

My buddy and I have both noticed an interesting international travel phenomenon that we wondered if anyone else has noticed. We believe we have a trick to find the bar/restaurant that is most likely going to be full of locals with little or no tourists. That trick is to go to the most American sounding bar in the town!

Huh? American Bars Have No Americans?

The more American themed the restaurant or bar is the better! Europeans and others love to throw American themed parties, hello red Solo cups, and it seems they enjoy their American themed bars as well.  We have tested this theory a few times and did it again recently in Amsterdam.

International Travel Phenomenon music We went to Bourbon Street Music Club which is a live music venue that had a band singing Motown and soul music that night.  And the place was jamming and it was all locals.  When we brought up the place to a a couple of locals the next night they said they love that place and it is always a good time.

International Travel Phenomenon hat
My buddy borrowing a local’s hat for a photo op 🙂

Another Tip on Finding the Best Locals Bars

I’ll share one more good tip for you.  If you want to know what the most happening locals bar is, especially if it is dead everywhere else on a Sunday night etc. ask the service people where they hang after work.  Ask the hotel desk agents or a bartender at another pub where they go when they get off work.  A lot of service industry people end up there after their long shifts and it will always be a happening place no matter what day it is.

International Travel Phenomenon hot dogs
Who knew we were known for hot dogs? And it tasted nothing like an American hot dog, probably wasn’t heavily processed.

Final Thoughts

If you think about it this isn’t really surprising.  When Americans are on vacation they want to be at a local themed place.  And most other tourists from other countries are going to be the same way.  But someone that lives there wants to pretend that they are somewhere else.  We have similar things in America with themed restaurants for other cultures that we frequent.  So it would make sense that you would find a ton of locals in a non local themed bar and American themed bars seem to be a popular choice.

Let me know what your thoughts on it are and be sure to give it a try on your next trip!

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  1. Mark, it makes sense to me! Thanks for sharing your observation. (most of my travel has been to the Middle East so things get funky there.

    • I would imagine things work quite differently when you are talking about the middle east for sure Mickey. If you ever hit up Europe – give it a try!

  2. As a former bar manager, I 100% support the “Ask the service staff where they hang out” option. Especially for Sunday/Monday nights; those are service industry weekends, and you’ll find the best local place with great prices on food and drink.

    I’m sure the other option works too. In Seoul and Tokyo, I’ve found that going to a residential area and then looking for a busy corner works well too. Or just going to the smallest side street in the touristy area sometimes. 🙂


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