Anyone can stick up a shack on the sand, stock it with beers and call it a beach bar.
But what makes a great beach bar?
It could be the sand-in-your-toes factor or the washing and hissing of the waves nearby or the sunsets or the people you meet.
The truth is there's no formula, no magic ingredients that guarantee a place in a list of the world's best beach bars.
We've included spots that range from the chic and the elite with smooth lines and mesmerizing cocktail waiters, to the haphazard, thrown-together shacks constructed from scavenged driftwood.
The only thing these places have in common is that once you've been, you inevitably start planning to get back there someday, somehow.
50. La Plancha (Bali, Indonesia)
How did a simple beach shack beat out ultra-luxe Bali bars such as KU DÉ TA and Potatohead? By keeping it real.
La Plancha's laid-back reggae, ice-cold beers, oversized bean bags and jugs of potent sangria have made it the spot to be from 4 p.m. onward every day.
Surfers use the place as a strip-down, wax-on spot before catching the last waves of the day.
But La Plancha's biggest draw is the sunset.
An uninterrupted view of the changing pink-to-red-to-orange sky will have you seriously considering retiring here.
La Plancha Bali, Double Six Beach, Bali; +62 0361 890 0000
49. Nikki Beach (Miami)
This cool club with a rep for its strict door policy -- be irresistibly beautiful or don't turn up without a reservation --- didn't invent the beach bar, but it did reinvent the genre for a generation who may never have felt the sand between their manicured toes.
St. Tropez-style chill joint by day, with raised "opium beds" and linen-covered loungers, it turns into an al fresco nightclub after dark, when international DJs man the decks on weekends.
There are now Nikkis from Koh Samui in Thailand to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico -- not to mention the desert resorts of Las Vegas and Marrakech, where Nikki has created a modern-day mirage.
We still love the original.
Nikki Beach Miami, 1 Ocean Dr., South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida; +305 538 1111
48. Tortilla Flats (Dominical, Costa Rica)
This long-standing beach hut is a surfer hotel, seaside restaurant and happening night spot all rolled into one.
The two-story establishment is located right on the sand in the laid-back surf town of Dominical.
During the day, the crowds (mostly dripping wet surfers) flock to Tortilla Flats for the surprisingly good food.
As the day winds down, you can grab a drink from the well-stocked bar and watch the waves roll in against the sunset.
Tortilla Flats, Playa Dominical, Dominical, Costa Rica; +506 2787 0033