The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019: Diversity & Representation

The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

The inaugural World’s 50 Best Bars 2019 was recently held at the Roundhouse in London, and as with any event of that size and magnitude, it brought into light some interesting topics for discussion. One very interesting highlight with the awards this year was how bars across Asia are being more represented, in addition to a big debate of female participation in the bar industry, with steps taken to ensure progress.

Roundhouse London | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

“Huge congratulations to all bars that have been included on this year’s list. We’re ecstatic that so many key figures from the cocktail world have travelled across the globe to attend the awards and join the celebrations. This list is a reflection of the open and diverse nature of the international bar scene today. The aim of The World’s 50 Best Bars is to provide the authoritative guide on the best bar destinations from around the world and the huge range of countries featured is testament to the strength of competition for a place at the top.” — William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Bars.

“This year’s list represents a really strong showing from bars in Asia and Latin America, which is great to see. Floreria Atlantico’s rise to No.3 – the highest-ever position for a South American bar – shows that great bars all over the world are being increasingly recognised. It’s also really interesting to see the increasing trend for more casual bars, evidenced in Dante’s win. All in all, the list acts a great resource for savvy drinkers to find the world’s best bars, whatever their taste in tipple, décor or style of service.” — Mark Sansom, Content Editor of The World’s 50 Best Bars.

The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019

  1. Dante, New York, USA
  2. Connaught Bar, London, UK
  3. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  4. The NoMad, New York, USA
  5. American Bar, London, UK
  6. The Clumsies, Athens, Greece
  7. Attaboy, New York, USA
  8. Atlas, Singapore, Singapore
  9. The Old Man, Hong Kong, China
  10. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City, Mexico
  11. Manhattan, Singapore, Singapore
  12. Native, Singapore, Singapore
  13. Carnaval, Lima, Peru
  14. Katana Kitten, New York, USA
  15. Guilhotina, São Paulo, Brazil
  16. Three Sheets, London, UK
  17. Himkok, Oslo, Norway
  18. High Five, Tokyo, Japan
  19. Salmón Gurú, Madrid, Spain
  20. Paradiso, Barcelona, Spain
  21. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, Taiwan
  22. The Dead Rabbit, New York, USA
  23. Coupette, London, UK
  24. The SG Club, Tokyo, Japan
  25. Dr. Stravinsky, Barcelona, Spain
  26. Employees Only, New York, USA
  27. El Copitas, St Petersburg, Russia
  28. Scout, London, UK
  29. Jigger & Pony, Singapore, Singapore
  30. Operation Dagger, Singapore, Singapore
  31. Baba Au Rum, Athens, Greece
  32. La Factoría, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
  33. Presidente, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  34. Schumann’s, Munich, Germany
  35. Speak Low, Shanghai, China
  36. Little Red Door, Paris, France
  37. Linje Tio, Stockholm, Sweden
  38. The Old Man, Singapore, Singapore
  39. Lyaness, London, UK
  40. Happiness Forgets, London, UK
  41. Swift, London, UK
  42. Trick Dog, San Francisco, USA
  43. Maybe Sammy, Sydney, Australia
  44. 1930, Milan, Italy
  45. Sober Company, Shanghai, China
  46. Electric Bing Sutt, Beirut, Lebanon
  47. Kwānt, London, UK
  48. Artesian, London, UK
  49. Coa, Hong Kong, China
  50. Jerry Thomas Speakeasy, Rome, Italy

Best Bar in the World | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

And The Winners Are…

Appertivo bar in New York Dante wins Best Bar in the World and Best Bar in North America while Connaught Bar (No.2) in London wins Best Bar in Europe. Florería Atlántico (No.3) from Argentina takes Best Bar in South America while Atlas (No. 8) from Singapore takes the glory of being Best Bar in Asia. Maybe Sammy (No. 43) wins Best Bar in Australasia while Electric Bing Sutt (No. 46) takes home the Best Bar in the Middle East & Africa.

Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

American Bar (No.5) at the Savoy in London takes home the title of Legends of the List while Monica Berg, co-owner of Tayēr + Elementary (No.52), receives the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award. Peru’s Carnaval (No.13) enters top 50 with the Highest New Entry while Salmón Gurú from Madrid takes the Highest Climber Award. Katana Kitten out of New York wins the Best New Opening Award while Rome’s Drink Kong (No.82) is named the Campari One To Watch. Singapore’s very own Native (No.12) takes home the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award.

Dante Bar | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

Dante’s Inferno

Long gone are the days where only hotel bars are able to top the list, and this is evidenced by Dante, a New York appertivo bar taking the top spot by blowing up the scene. It goes to show that drinkers around the world are looking to be impressed by more than the tip top service that you’d expect from hotel bars, but even the smaller one are able to deliver an amazing experience. This shows that the expectations of the industry are not set in stone but are constantly evolving.

Altos Bartender's Bartender Award | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

Schumann on Women

The awards this year was not without controversy, with the Industry Icon being awarded to Charles Schumann initially but was retracted due to his comments about women that were coloured with misogyny, that they shouldn’t be behind the bar after 3 pm, amongst others, which stirred controversy amongst the bar industry. There is no place for misogyny in 2019 and its great that the team at the 50 Best had acknowledged the needs of the industry. Some would argue that candidates should’ve been vetted better but perhaps it’s all a lesson for all in these evolving times, and this is evidenced by the fact that a woman received the Altos Bartender’s Bartender Award, showing that sexism isn’t really as prevalent in modern times as some might think. It’s a system, but it’s not a perfect system. The only way to work towards a better future is to work together by being more inclusive and less exclusive.

The Best Bar in Asia | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

The Asian Invasion

On a more positive note, this year sees for the first time so many bars across Asia represented with a whopping 13 bars including 2 making the top 10 which are Atlas (No.8) and The Old Man Hong Kong (No. 9). Altogether there are 6 bars from Singapore, 4 bars from China, 2 from Japan and 1 from Taiwan represented, making it the largest number of bars from Asia in the history of The World’s 50 Best Bars.

“The Asian bar scene continues to develop and grow in stature, year after year. Cities such as Singapore and Tokyo are now up there with the likes of London and New York with the quality of bars they produce, with discerning drinkers flocking from all over the globe just to try the bars on The World’s 50 Best list.” — Mark Sansom, Content Editor of The World’s 50 Best Bars. 

“I am so proud of the Asia bar community, we keep going from strength to strength. The cocktail bar scene is so new in Asia and yet here we are, not even 10 years on and we hold 13 of the 50 top bar spots in the world! What an amazing result! It’s a testament to the talent and drive that exists in our part of the world.” — Vivian Pei, Academy Chair, Asia of World’s 50 Best Bars.

Atlas | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

“We are humbled and honoured to represent for Singapore and all of Asia on the world’s stage for 50 Best Bars.  Excited for the recognition but more than anything inspired to be better and do everything we can to keep on improving.  Thank you to everyone for the support, we can’t wait to get back home to Singapore and celebrate!” – Jesse Vida, Head Bartender of Atlas Singapore.

Manhattan | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

“It’s an absolute privilege and an honour to be part of World’s 50 Best Bars again. It’s true recognition for the hard work and dedication from all team members of Manhattan Bar and Regent Singapore.” — David Nguyen-Luu, Bar Manager of Manhattan Singapore.

Old Man | The World's Best Bars 2019 | Food For Thought

“We are just so lucky! Thank you again for the all support from everyone! Not only 1 but 2. Double trouble!” — Agung Prabowo, Founder of Old Man Hong Kong.

“We at The Old Man Singapore feel honoured to be on the W50BB and coming in at 38 having the support and love from all the industry professionals recognising us for what we do. We shall continue to strive for excellence in service and innovation for all our guests.” — Andrew Yap, Co-Founder of Old Man Singapore.

Having A Seat At The Bar

If anything, the list this year has shown is that there is more and more diversity in the World’s 50 Best List, and is evidenced by not only the appearance of more Asian bars in the list, but that the 3rd spot is also taken by Florería Atlántico, a bar in Buenos Aires. The list this year has also implied that the academy of over 500 voters have travelled more extensively than ever before, so perhaps the request of more a more globalised palate is seeing results. With the Schumann issue addressed and acted upon, we can see how the needs of the industry and marginalised peoples are attended to, which boils down to the same issue, that representation matters. With a little dilution of old-world views and a stir of intercultural education, everyone wins, from bartenders to brands and from connoisseurs to consumers.

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 Restaurants, see The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.
For all 50 Best related content, see 50 Best.

| PHOTOGRAPHY: WORLD’S 50 BEST | WEBSITE: WORLD’S 50 BEST BARS |

Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Principal Counsultant of A Thoughtfull Consultancy.

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