Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020: In Recognition And In Solidarity

Jigger & Pony | Best Bar in Asia | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

The current pandemic of the Covid-19 has affected the food and beverage industry severely, but amidst all the chaos, the drink industry has come together, albeit social distantly, not in celebration, but in recognition of the work all these bars have put in to raising the bar when it comes to cocktail culture, camaraderie and creativity. The inaugural event was initially supposed to be held in Singapore but instead was done via a live telecast across Facebook.

Jerrold and Giovanni | Jigger & Pony | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

“We want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the bars in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list in these difficult times. It is wonderful to see a new No.1 and it is a credit to Jigger & Pony’s development that the team has created a brilliant bar that appeals to such a wide range of guests. We hope that the announcement of the 2020 list will deliver a message of solidarity and encouragement during this harrowing period as the bars in Asia look to get back on their feet. The virtual ceremony this year was not designed as a celebration, but rather as a recognition of all the bar teams’ hard work.” — Mark Sansom, Content Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Bars.

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020

  1. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
  2. The Old Man, Hong Kong, China
  3. Coa, Hong Kong, China
  4. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, Taiwan
  5. Atlas, Singapore
  6. Native, Singapore
  7. The Bamboo Bar at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand
  8. Manhattan, Singapore
  9. The SG Club, Tokyo, Japan
  10. Aha Saloon, Taipei, Taiwan
  11. Vesper, Bangkok, Thailand
  12. Sober Company, Shanghai, China
  13. Bar Mood, Taipei, Taiwan
  14. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  15. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo, Japan
  16. Quinary, Hong Kong, China
  17. Tippling Club, Singapore
  18. The Wise King, Hong Kong, China
  19. Speak Low, Shanghai, China
  20. High Five, Tokyo, Japan
  21. Bee’s Knees, Kyoto, Japan
  22. The Old Man, Singapore
  23. D. Bespoke, Singapore
  24. Tropic City, Bangkok, Thailand
  25. Gibson, Singapore
  26. Draft Land, Taipei, Taiwan
  27. Room by Le Kief, Taipei, Taiwan
  28. 8 1⁄2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong, China
  29. Charles H, Seoul, South Korea
  30. 28 HongKong Street, Singapore
  31. Rabbit Hole, Bangkok, Thailand
  32. Nutmeg & Clove, Singapore
  33. Backstage Cocktail Bar, Bangkok, Thailand
  34. Caprice Bar, Hong Kong, China
  35. The Pontiac, Hong Kong, China
  36. Hope & Sesame, Guangzhou, China
  37. JungleBird, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  38. The Odd Couple, Shanghai, China
  39. Bar Trench, Tokyo, Japan
  40. Sidecar, New Delhi, India
  41. Bar Orchard Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
  42. The Curator, Manila, Philippines
  43. Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar, Jakarta, Indonesia
  44. Lobster Bar & Grill, Hong Kong, China
  45. The Back Room, Manila, Philippines
  46. MO Bar, Singapore
  47. Alice Cheongdam, Seoul, South Korea
  48. Coley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  49. Le Chamber, Seoul, South Korea
  50. Bar Cham, Seoul, South Korea

Manhattan | Michter's Art of Hospitality Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

And The Winners Are…

Best Bar in Asia goes to Jigger and Pony, which also takes the title Best Bar in Singapore, while Best Bar in China goes to The Old Man (No.2) in Hong Kong. Indulge Experimental Bistro (No.4) wins Best Bar in Taiwan while SG Club (No.9) is the Best Bar in Japan. The Bamboo Bar at Mandarin Oriental (No. 7) takes Best Bar in Thailand while Bar Trigona (No.14) is Best Bar in Malaysia. Charles H (No.29) receives Best Bar in South Korea while The Curator (No.42) take Best Bar in Philippines and Union Brasserie Bakery & Bar takes Best Bar in Indonesia. New entry Sidecar (No.40) is the Best Bar in India.

Bar Trigona Kuala Lumpur | Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Greater China comes in with an outstanding 12 bars (11 bars in 2019) while Singapore placed with 11 bars (11 bars in 2019). Japan has 6 bars (6 bars in 2019), with Taiwan having 5 bars (4 bars in 2019) and Thailand having 5 bars (7 bars in 2019) each. South Korea has 4 bars (3 bars in 2019), Malaysia 3 bars (3 bars in 2019), Philippines 2 bars (3 bars in 2019) while Indonesia 1 bar (1 bar in 2019) and India placed with 1 bar (first time on the list) each.

Jay Khan | Altos Bartenders' Bartender | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

The 50 best also announced a series of special awards, with Bar Trigona in Kuala Lumpur winning the Sustainable Bar Award (sponsored by Ketel One) while Bee’s Knees in Kyoto secures the Highest New Entry Award (sponsored by Disaronno). Manhattan in Singapore takes home the Art of Hospitality Award (sponsored by Michter’s) while the One To Watch Award (sponsored by Campari) goes to No Sleep Club in Singapore. Jay Khan of COA in Hong Kong receives the Bartenders’ Bartender Award (sponsored by Altos), an award as voted by his bartender peers. Indulge Experimental Bistro enters the Legend of the List Award (sponsored by Heering) and Bar Mood in Taipei takes the Highest Climber Award (sponsored by Seedlip). The Industry Icon Award, the first in its name, is given to Agung Prabowo of the Old Man Hong Kong for his impact on the Asian bar community while The Old Man Singapore is named Best New Opening (sponsored by The London Essence Company).

Jigger & Pony | Madame President | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Moves Like Jigger

Jigger & Pony has been rated as one of the best bars by people in the industry, with their beautiful aesthetics and reimagined classics. Jigger & Pony won the Highest Climber Awards by 33 places on last years list, therefore, isn’t a great surprise that they made the great leap forward.

Sidecar | Best Bar in India | Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 | Food For Thought

Every Year They’re Shufflin’

This year, Sidecar, a bar from New Delhi, India enters the list for the first time since the conception of Asia’s 50 Best Bars. This also shows that there is more and more representation from the different Asian countries, with the variations growing. As the years go on, we hope to see greater diversity on the list, hopefully to at least include all Asian countries represented (as long as they’re worth their tipple) like Vietnam and Myanmar, and possibly one day, even dry Brunei. The bars in the lists have also gone through a shuffle, with new bars replacing older ones, shifting in position up and down.

The Live announcement of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 Virtual Event.

There’s Always A Seat At The Bar, One Metre Apart

One thing that has happened over the Covid-19 outbreak is seeing the community come together, and as the world is taking its time to cope with the changes, bars are finding ways to continue businesses. We kindly urge you to support your favourite local bars across Asia as many of them are doing deliveries of their signature cocktails, but bottled. As not every country have the same rules and regulations when it comes to control over their Covid-19 outbreak, we suggest ordering bottled cocktails to ease both yourself and the bars, and for those who decide to patronage their bars, if you do so, do it cautiously. From the Old Man in Hong Kong to the JungleBird in Kuala Lumpur, many of the bars on and off the list offer a selection of their finest and signatures for home delivery so order from home.

For our thoughts on Asia’s 50 Best Bars, see Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019.
For our thoughts on The World’s 50 Best Bars, see The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019.
For all 50 Best related content, see 50 Best.


Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic and drinks writer and is the editor of independent publication Food For Thought. He has been a freelance journalist for the 15 years and has previously worked as a lawyer and in digital marketing. He currently is the Principal Consultant of A Thought Full Consultancy, a food and beverage marketing consultancy.

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