Even a pandemic couldn’t halt the vibrant cocktail scene around the world, with bartenders turning to inventive means to work around lockdowns and the restriction of social gatherings—even if that meant overhauls of their drink menus and the launch of delivery services. Last night, The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 celebrated its winners via a virtual ceremony, which saw 15 establishments in Asia making the cut.
50 Best’s editor Mark Sansom said: “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.”
Cinching top spot for the first time is The Connaught Bar in the five-star hotel of the namesake, a fixture in the top 10 of the Best Bars list for the past 11 years. Though temporarily closed at the moment due to the lockdown in England, the bar is well-loved for its gleaming cubist interior, that’s perfectly matched by warm service and tailored cocktails.
In Asia, Singapore’s Atlas took its place as the region’s top bar and the world’s fourth best bar. Climbing four spots from last year’s list, the bar impresses with its ornate interiors reminiscent of Batman’s fictional Gotham City and its collection of 1,400 gin bottles—which makes it one of the world’s largest gin libraries.
Overall, China leads the way in region with five bars on the list, followed by Singapore with four, and Japan with three.
Meanwhile, noteworthy entries from the region include Coa from Hong Kong, which made a meteoric rise from 49th to 8th place in this year’s ranking, as well as Tokyo’s High Five, which has made its appearance in every single edition of the Best 50 list since 2011.
Making their World’s 50 Best debut are Bangkok’s Bamboo Bar at 35th place, and Kuala Lumpur’s Bar Trigona at 44th. The former’s new menu, titled Compass, shines the spotlight on its country’s ingredients, such as dragon fruit, coconut flower, cashew nut, and tamarind.
Due to the majority of bars being forced to close during the pandemic, the voting period ran from January 2019 to March 2020 this year. The list is compiled from votes by The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy, which includes renowned bartenders and consultants, drinks writers, as well as cocktail specialists.
The 15 bars in Asia that made The World’s 50 Best list:
#4 Atlas, Singapore
#8 Coa, Hong Kong
#9 Jigger & Pony, Singapore
#10 The SG Club, Japan
#14 Manhattan, Singapore
#15 The Old Man, Hong Kong
#18 Native, Singapore
#35 Bamboo Bar, Thailand
#40 Bar Benfiddich, Japan
#42 Sober Company, China
#43 Indulge Experimental Bistro, Hong Kong
#44 Bar Trigona, Malaysia
#46 Room Le Kief, Taiwan
#48 High Five, Japan
#49 Charles H, South Korea
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