Pandemic or not, the people behind the most-anticipated ranking of bars went ahead and announced the best joints around the world yesterday, including 15 in Asia.
Singapore’s Atlas, which is famous for its selection of over 1,000 gin labels, was named the best bar in Asia, taking on the No. 4 spot in the world. The top three spots went to London’s Connaught Bar, followed by New York’s Dante, and The Clumsies in Athens, Greece.
Other notable entries from Asia include Hong Kong’s Coa at No. 8, and newbies Bamboo Bar in Bangkok at No. 35, and Bar Trigona in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at No. 44.
Coa also jumped a whopping 41 places since last year and took home the Nikka Highest Climber Award.
The 12th edition of the World’s 50 Best Bars list was announced amid unusually challenging times for the industry with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down nightlife in general and restricting social gatherings worldwide. But organizers said it was an opportunity to inject some much-needed positivity into the industry.
“We at 50 Best hope that the announcement of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 will act as a show of strength for the global bar community,” said 50 Best’s editor, Mark Sansom. “It displays to the world that even in the face of the ever-shifting challenges and restrictions being thrown at them, bars are still doing everything that they can to continue to provide great hospitality experiences.”
Sansom hosted last night’s virtual ceremony announcing the winners.
It was Atlas’ first time cracking the top four. When asked whether the bar had its sights on becoming No. 1, head bartender Jesse Vida said it was not up to him.
“Well obviously, we hope so, we want to represent Singapore and Atlas at the highest level we can but of course the decision is [up] to the voters,” he told reporters. He also noted that Asia has “one of the most amazing bar cultures in the world” but 2020 has been “obviously a weird year.”
Other Singapore bars that made it to the list include Jigger & Pony at No. 9; Manhattan at 14; and Native at 18. Hong Kong’s The Old Man also reached 15th on the list.
Thailand’s Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental had been “threatening to break into the list for many years,” according to the show, and finally made its debut this year. Making it was also nice for Ashish Sharma of Kuala Lumpur’s Bar Trigona despite operating in a “tough time.
“The World’s 50 Best is something which brings a smile on the faces of all of us and I believe around the world,” he said. Kuala Lumpur is under another lockdown until Monday. Sharma said he had to close his business for the past two weeks.
The annual ranking is based on votes by 540 industry experts and is adjudicated by audit firm Deloitte. Other Asian bars that made it to the list were located in Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan.
Bamboo Bar #35
Jigger & Pony #9
The Old Man #15
Bar Trigona #44
Sober Company #42
Charles H #49
Indulge Experimental Bistro #43
Room Le Kief #46
The SG Club #10
Bar Benfiddich #40
High Five #48