Rathausstraße 3, 20095 Hamburg

With a gold lion as its centrepiece, Le Lion Bar de Paris is a gleaming beacon of the Hamburg bar scene. Not coincidently, Le Lion has been a constant fixture in The World’s 50 Best Bars since the awards began. More often than not its larger-than-life founder/owner Jörg Meyer is in attendance, orchestrating the lounging sophistication. The walls are velvety, the couches low-set and difficult to extricate yourself from, even if you wanted to. The floor has the kind of carpet that makes you wonder if you should take your shoes off at the door. Essentially, Le Lion is a hotel bar, missing the bedrooms. The bartenders wear suits – not least Meyer, who is hard to picture without braces, tie and suit. He is a consummate man of hospitality.

This is the financial powerhouse of Germany so customers are the smart, moneyed type who drink champagne like it’s the soda. But cocktails are what this place does best, especially the neo-classic Gin Basil Smash. If you weren’t sure Le Lion was the cradle of this green refresher, you know when you arrive – it’s proudly displayed on the bar front. Upstairs the recently opened Pine Room doubles capacity for the busier periods, offering a more charged, mostly standing environment. You might think pine would bring a lighter, fresher feel, but Meyer stained it a dark hue. “I didn’t want people walking into a Ikea showroom,” he says.