What makes a great bar? Is it the ambience, the signature cocktails, the music, the history?
From classic to modern, trendy to friendly, the list of the best 50 bars around the world has a little bit of everything for anyone looking for a great drink, no matter where in the world you are.
From third place The Clumsies in Athens, Greece, to 18th place Native in Singapore to 21st place Carnaval in Lima, Peru, and even 27th place Mexican-themed El Copitas in St. Petersburg, Russia, the list is an international guide to the best drinking destinations in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America
First published in 2009 and sponsored by Perrier, the annual ranking is based on the opinion of more than 500 drinks experts from around the globe and highlights the world-wide talent in the drinking industry.
Leading the pack this year is The Connaught Bar in London, also named Best Bar in Europe 2020.
Elegant and sophisticated, the Mayfair hotel’s bar is an intimate place with textured walls and candlelit tables. The set up, evoking the English and Irish Cubist art of the 1920, could be James Bond perfect hangout, especially because even as mixologists continually conjure up bold new concoctions, one of their signature drinks is the time-honored classic martini. Here you can ask for it shaken, not stirred from the Martini Trolley that comes to you for a mix ceremony.
Another recommendation is the Magnetum, a scotch and sherry mix separated into two distinct parts, and blended by a pull on a custom-designed stirrer.
The Connaught Bar is not the only UK hangout in the list. In fact seven other British bars are part of the list, including 5th place Tayēr + Elementary, followed in sixth place by Kwānt, and 20th place American Bar, the iconic watering hole inside The Savoy hotel, which is actually the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain, welcoming guests since 1893.
For the ‘City that never sleeps’
Just across the pond, the “Big Apple” is not just a world financial and entertainment center, it is also home to great bars.
None more impressive (according to this year’s poll) than Dante, which ranks in second place in the list of 50 great bars.
Also named The Best Bar in North America 2020, Dante’s fame and décor –in clean white tiles –dates back over a century and is a testament to the city’s large Italian immigrant community. Located in Greenwich Village, the bar first opened its doors in 1915 and is a registered New York city landmark. Famous writers and drinkers like Ernest Hemingway, actors like Al Pacino and Alex Baldwin, and musicians like Bob Dylan have passed through its doors in search of great food and drinks. A must-have is the Campari-based Negroni, which Dante offers in a dozen varieties. Another must-order libation is the Garibaldi, made with Campari and fluffy orange juice.
Other bars in the “Greatest City in the World” to make into this year’s list are Attaboy, in 12th place; Nomad Bar following close behind in 13th place, Katana Kitten a few steps away in 16th place, as well as Employees Only in the 38th ranking.
Many of the bars above have been part of the list for several years.
But there are also new entries making a splash in the industry.
One of those is 47th ranked Alquimico in Cartagena, Colombia.
While it only opened in 2016, the bar occupies a three-story colonial-era mansion, with each floor having a different concept.
Proof of this is their “Wild Magic” third floor where each of the cocktails are dedicated to the country’s flora and fauna, such as 1200, a blend of strawberry and soursop cordial, vodka, Vermouth Extra Dry, lemon, and Reagan’s orange bitters. Another highlight is Orinoco (in honor of one of the longest rivers in the country and in South America) that includes Cordial de Long Island Ice Tea, Lemon, and Angostura Bitters.
The bar also won the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award, in part for its reforestation project that includes planning trees and its commitment to organic farming.
Other Latin American entries this year include 7th place Floreria Atlantico in Buenos Aires, Argentina, also named Best Bar in South America 2020 and where Renato Giovannoni won the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award. In the same Argentinian city is 50th ranked President, while Licoreria Limantour in Mexico City, Mexico, placed in number 17.
To the East
The roaring tigers of Asia are also well represented in the list, with some old favorites and some new entries, including 33rd placed The Bamboo Bar in Bangkok, Thailand.
Even if it’s the first time it enters the annual list, The Bamboo Bar is an iconic bar in the historic Mandarin Oriental hotel, serving drinks since 1953.
Guests will enjoy great jazz and cocktails that encompass Thailand’s tropical ingredients, such as dragon fruit, coconut flower, cashew nut or tamarind. Some drink highlights include Hang Lay, that includes Phraya Rum, Tumeric, Ginger, Tamarind and Lime, and Aggy Aggy with Iron Balls Gin, Watermelon, Salak and Yira Leaf.
Asia is by far the world’s region with the most entries this year, spanning bars in cosmopolitan cities and lesser-known locales.
This includes 4th place Atlas in Singapore, which is also this year’s Best Bar in Asia 2020, 8th ranked Coa in Hong Kong, also named Nikka Highest Climber 2020, 9th place Jigger & Pony in Singapore, The SG Club in Tokyo, Japan, 14th place Manhattan in Singapore, 15th ranked The Old Man in Hong Kong, 18th place Native in Singapore, 40th ranked Bar Benfiddich in Tokyo, Japan, 42nd place Sober Company in Shanghai, China, followed in 43rd place by Indulge Experimental Bistro in Taipei, Taiwan, 44th place Bar Trigona in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 46th rank Room by Le Kief also in Taipei, Taiwan, 48th place High Five in Tokyo, Japan and last, but not least, Charles H in Seoul, South Korea in 49th place.
Europe andthe rest of the Globe
The Old World is still a stronghold in the drinks industry, and several of this year’s 50 Best Bars entries are located there, including Spain, represented by 19th place Paradiso and 26th place Two Schmucks in Barcelona, as well as 22nd place Salmón Gurú in the country’s capital, Madrid; 24th ranked Little Red Door in the “City of Lights” Paris, France; and Buck & Breck in Berlin, Germany, placing in number 37.
But there are also other far flung destinations in the list.
Such as the “Down Under” bars Maybe Sammy, number 11, also rated the Best Bar in Australasia 2020 and winner of Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2020; 28th place Cantina Ok! and Bulletin Place, number 39, all in Sydney, Australia.
And finally there’s 24th place Zuma in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, also named the Best Bar in the Middle East and Africa 2020.
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December 31 • New year
Thank You & Happy New Year!
If next year proves lucky number 21, it will be because we are able to meet its fortunes or misfortunes with our best intentions intact, with the clarity to make the best choice whenever we have a choice.
November 28 • certification
Certification vs. Real-world Experience
A sommelier’s ultimate mission is for people to share your love and passion for wine. One sommelier’s nose and mouth are completely different from the next, so individual smell and taste will differ greatly from one expert to the next.
December 23 • christmas
Some last minute gift ideas for wine and spirit lovers
Some last minute gift ideas for wine and alcohol lovers
Any type of spirit is usually a good present for someone who enjoys a glass or two, and after the year we’ve had, we all deserve a drink.
If you’re still looking for a gift that will not only quench their palate, but also teach them something and even lead them to start a collection, we have some suggestions. They include games, unique whiskies and subscriptions services.