World’s 50 Best Bars 2021: The Connaught Bar Takes The Crown Again

50 Best Bars Winners | The World's 50 Best Bars 2021 | Food For Thought

As the world takes its time to come to a recovery the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 has returned to Roundhouse, London, bringing together a limited congregation of the best of the bar industry for a night of celebration. The awards saw the crowning of the Connaught Bar for the second year in a row, but due to limited travels, the list had some unexpected shakeups.

Awards Ceremony | The World's 50 Best Bars 2021 | Food For Thought

“Connaught Bar, we salute you – to be named The World’s Best Bar for two consecutive years is a feat that previously only two bars have achieved in the awards’ 13-year history. It’s a testament to Ago Perrone and his team’s continued pursuit of excellence, which is encapsulated in the way they have developed and modernised the Martini cocktail. We also want to send all the venues on the 2021 list of The World’s 50 Best Bars huge congratulations. It’s been another incredibly tough year for hospitality and the industry’s resilience and togetherness through these challenges is humbling. We hope that the positive stories around the bars’ success in the awards will help to drive vital business in the weeks and months to come.” — Mark Sansom, Content Editor of The World’s 50 Best Bars.

The World’s 50 Best Bars 2021

  1. Connaught Bar, London, UK (No.1 in 2020) (Best Bar in the World, Best Bar in Europe)
  2. Tayēr + Elementary, London, UK (No.5 in 2020)
  3. Paradiso, Barcelona, Spain (No.19 in 2020)
  4. The Clumsies, Athens, Greece (No.6 in 2020)
  5. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires, Argentina (No.7 in 2020) (Best Bar in South America)
  6. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City, Mexico (No.17 in 2020) (Best Bar in North America)
  7. COA, Hong Kong, China (No.8 in 2020) (Best Bar in Asia)
  8. El Copitas, St. Petersburg, Russia (No.27 in 2020)
  9. Jigger & Pony, Singapore (No.9 in 2020)
  10. Katana Kitten, New York, USA (No.16 in 2020)
  11. Two Schmucks, Barcelona, Spain (No.26 in 2020)
  12. Hanky Panky, Mexico City (New Entry) (Disaronno Highest New Entry Award)
  13. Insider Bar, Moscow, Russia (New Entry) (London Essence Best New Opening)
  14. Baba Au Rum, Athens, Greece (No.31 in 2020)
  15. Manhattan, Singapore (No.14 in 2020)
  16. Atlas, Singapore (No.4 in 2020)
  17. Zuma, Dubai (No.23 in 2020) (Best Bar in Middle East And Africa)
  18. The SG Club, Tokyo, Japan (No.10 in 2020)
  19. Drink Kong, Rome, Italy (No.45 in 2020)
  20. 1930, Milan, Italy (No.25 in 2020)
  21. Presidente, Buenos Aires, Argentina (No.50 in 2020) (Nikka Highest Climber Award)
  22. Maybe Sammy, Sydney, Australia (No.11 in 2020) (Best Bar in Australasia)
  23. Cantina OK!, Sydney, Australia (No.28 in 2020)
  24. Salmon Guru, Madrid, Spain (No.22 in 2020) (Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award)
  25. Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City, Mexico (New Entry)
  26. No Sleep Club, Singapore (New Entry)
  27. Camparino in Galleria, Milan, Italy (New Entry)
  28. Café La Trova, Miami, USA (New Entry)
  29. Little Red Door, Paris, France (No.24 in 2020)
  30. Dante, New York, USA (No.2 in 2020)
  31. Kwānt, London, UK (No.6 in 2020)
  32. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo, Japan (No.40 in 2020)
  33. Tres Monos, Buenos Aires, Argentina (New Entry)
  34. Attaboy, New York, USA (No.12 in 2020) (Rémy Martin Legend of The List)
  35. Lucy’s Flower Shop, Stockholm, Sweden (New Entry)
  36. MO Bar, Singapore (New Entry)
  37. Sips, Barcelona, Spain (New Entry)
  38. Baltra Bar, Mexico City, Mexico (New Entry)
  39. Sober Company, Shanghai, China (No.42 in 2020)
  40. Tjoget, Stockholm, Sweden (No.36 in 2020)
  41. Epic, Shanghai, China (New Entry)
  42. Charles H, Seoul, South Korea (No.49 in 2020)
  43. Tippling Club, Singapore (Re-Entry)
  44. Above Board, Melbourne, Australia
  45. Galaxy Bar, Dubai, UAE (New Entry) (Campari One To Watch in 2020)
  46. Re, Sydney, Australia (New Entry) (Ketel One’s Sustainable Bar Award)
  47. Sidecar, New Delhi, India (New Entry)
  48. Union Trading Company, Shanghai, China (New Entry)
  49. DarkSide, Hong Kong, China (New Entry)
  50. Quinary, Hong Kong, China (Re-Entry)

Remy Savage & Lynette Marrero | The World's 50 Best Bars 2021 | Food For Thought

The World’s 50 Best Bars 2021: Special Awards

The awards this year also sees individual special awards as well as the inaugural Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu award.

  • Remy Savage of A Bar With Shapes For A Name, London, UK wins Roku Industry Icon Award
  • Lynnette Marrero of Llama Inn, New York, USA wins Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award
  • Lab 22, Cardiff, Wales, UK wins Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu
  • Thunderbolt, Los Angeles, USA wins Campari One To Watch

The Connaught Bar | The World's 50 Best Bars 2021 | Food For Thought

Best Bar in the World: Connaught Bar

The Connaught Bar headed by Agostino Perrone takes the first spot for the second consecutive year. The beautiful bar which is world renowned for its Connaught Martini and its trolly service is an experience you will have to experience for yourself. The hotel bar not only spots one of the best classic cocktail programmes, but each and every cocktail has been meticulously crafted to deliver that world class experience, down to their ice. When asked on what he thinks contributed to the bar taking the first spot again, he simply quipped: –

“It’s day to day commitment, day to day awareness of where you are, and try to improve it in a very genuine way.” — Agostino Perrone, Connaught Bar, London, UK.

Jay Khan | The World's 50 Best Bars 2021 | Food For Thought

Best Bar in Asia: COA

COA from Hong Kong that took Best Bar in Asia at No.7 for the first time after coming in at 8th place in 2020, which we can only expect to climb more and more as the growing influence and appreciation for mezcal increases. We expect to see them again next year on the list, and we could possibly see the COA Shanghai appearing in the near future.

“Among so many great bars, being recognised at such a high level is an incredible feeling. About 4 years when we first opened many were sceptical about the niche approach. We did go through a rough patch in the beginning, however once we were able to get the guest come to COA, we had to make sure we could deliver the right message. A lot of hard work and commitment goes into the execution, and we were blessed to have such a big support from all around.” — Jay Khan, COA, Hong Kong, China.

51-100 List: Malaysia’s Bar Trigona Comes In At No. 52

With a total of 16 Asian bars placing in the top 50, and another 13 in the top 100, with a total of 39 asian bars represented, we could not be happier that Bar Trigona has made it to the 51-100 List coming in at number 52. Bar Trigona at the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur boasts an incredible Herb In A Glass menu which was also shortlisted for the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu.

“We are so happy to be part of this list and will continue to push ourselves to be better. We wish to thank everyone for the love and support for the years before and the years to come. We will make Malaysia proud. It is an honour that all our hard work has paid off. By being on this list, we strive to work locally source local ingredient that can help us make an impact and by this it gives us the motivation to create more wonderful products for all to drink.” — Julian Benjamin Brigget, Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kwant | The World's 50 Best Bars 2021 | Food For Thought

In Regards To Kwānt

As with any awards there will always be controversy, and this year, there were some criticisms over why Kwānt was still in the list despite being closed for most of 2021. To put simply, the bar was still open during the voting period, therefore, maintained eligibility to be on the list for 2021. To this the 50 Best have released a statement: –

“The World’s 50 Best Bars is committed to supporting the bar and wider hospitality community as so many venues work hard to recover from the impact of the pandemic. The 2021 list is based on members of The World’s 50 Best Bars voting Academy’s bar experiences across a voting period between March 2020 to September 2021 inclusive. Kwānt was open during 2020 and received its votes for experiences during this time. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond its control, Kwānt has not been able to reopen since the most recent UK lockdown ended in March 2021. 50 Best has been in constant communication with its owner Erik Lorincz, who assures us that the bar will reopen as soon as it is able to. It is 50 Best’s responsibility to honour the bar’s votes and support it when it is finally able to serve guests again. The list remains valid until the next awards in 2022.”

Final Thoughts

The list this year is unique because of the many new entries, but people should realise that it is the result of limited international travel, amongst other reasons, expanding the focus of its voters to more localised destination. This however could be a one off, or we will at least see this pattern change over the next year as international travel starts to pick up, but overall, one thing is certain… the industry needs to come together, work together and build together, and there is no time that is more important than now as the globe is trying to come out such strenuous economic difficulties as no industry is hit as hard as the bar industry. So to all, cheers, salud, santé, saluti, kampai and yam seng!

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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