Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel in London was named number one in the Drinks International 50 Best Bars awards, held Wednesday night, with bartender Simone Caporale collecting the award from King Cocktail Dale DeGroff (head bartender Alex Kratena arrived later).
The list, compiled from a vote by some of the industry’s most well-known faces (150 in total from 40 countries), constitutes a definitive choice of what many would agree are the best bars in existence today, and there were few surprises. However, a social media frenzy in the aftermath revealed a backlash from some in the industry as a result of what some people saw as controversial omissions.
Posting on his Facebook wall, Australian bartender Naren Young, now working at Saxon + Parole in New York, wrote: “Congrats to all on this list. But if Milk & Honey [New York] is not one of the top 50 bars in the world, then I’ll quit bartending tomorrow. No awards are ever without their controversies, but this is a massive fail. Special congrats to Alex and your team brother. You do indeed have a world class bar, with a foundation that we should never forget: great service.”
New Zealand bartender Jacob Briars commented: “If La Capilla is the best bar in Latin America, then they obviously need to find some judges who live in Latin America. It’s a legendary spot and a place of pilgrimage but to call it the best bar in the region must be a bit dispiriting to young bartenders working incredibly hard in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Mexico City.”
1. Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel, London World’s Best Bar and Best Bar in the UK Drinks as fabulous as the team, led by Alex Kratena, described on the night as ‘one of the nicest men in the industry.’ The bar tweeted to one fan: “@Mei_1 we are so very proud of our bar team, thank you for rooting for us.”
2. PDT, New York Best Bar in North America Falling from first place last year, but still great.
3. Nightjar, London Causing audible controversy in the audience at third place, Nightjar was praised for its great drinks, music and vintage décor. It wrote on its Facebook wall: “Heavens Alive. 3rd Best Bar in the world.”
4. Connaught Bar, London Down from second place, Ago Perrone, the face of the Connaught Bar, was commended for his Martini trolley.
5. The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London This iconic bar has now been open again for two years and boasts a stellar team including Erik Lorincz.
6. Death & Co, New York Notoriously hard to get in, Death & Co thankfully takes its drinks as seriously as its door policy.
7. The Baxter Inn, Sydney Best Bar in Asia Pacific and Highest New Entry
Sydney is definitely the place to watch when it comes to cocktails, quickly catching up to its rival Melbourne.
8. 69 Colebrooke Row, London The bar with no name is constantly to be found on best bar lists, no surprise considering it is owned by cocktail legend Tony Conigliaro.
9. Callooh Callay, London Hidden away in Shoreditch and serving great cocktails, the team at Callooh Callay were obviously delighted at #9, putting on social media: “9TH BEST BAR IN THE WORLD HELL YEHHHHH”
10. Bramble, Edinburgh This Edinburgh bar has firmly put Scotland on the map when it comes to great cocktails. They tweeted “A big thanks to one and all! We never expected top 10 but we sure are grateful : ) many celebrations last night and even more to come!”
11. Employees Only, New York A bar built for bartenders led by Dushan Zaric.
12. Happiness Forgets A new entry at #12. It later tweeted “2day is all about numbers, 2000+ followers, 1001 tweets, 12th best bar in the world and the 7 best staff we have ever worked with.”
13. Drink, Boston Created by chef Barbara Lynch, this venue was praised for its neighbourhood atmosphere.
14. The Varnish, LA Sasha Petraske’s LA outpost, The Varnish was the first LA bar to make the list.
15. Zetter Townhouse
Another of Tony Conigliaro’s creations and a new bar to make this list, they retweeted “15th best bar in the world for @zthbar @worldbestbars Congrats to Artesian for #1 London cleaned up!”
16. Mutis, Barcelona Best Bar in Europe and Highest Climber Mutis was described as having an incredible range of classic and original cocktails.
17. Black Pearl, Melbourne The only Melbourne bar to make the list, Black Pearl was credited with being an easy-going venue with great drinks.
18. Clover Club, New York The Brooklyn bar is recognised as not only a great drinking venue but also as having influenced the area and inspired other bars to invest in Brooklyn.
19. Dry Martini, Barcelona Credited as the best Martini bar in the world.
20. La Capilla, Mexico Best Bar in Latin America & Caribbean A fully-fledged spit and sawdust tequila bar run by Don Javier Delgado Corona.
21. Palmer & Co, Sydney A 1920s theme pervades through this Sydney speakeasy.
22. Bar High Five, Tokyo Established by the legend that is Ueno-San, Bar High Five is home to his famous ice diamonds.
23. Le Lion, Hamburg Owned by the famous bartender Jorg Meyer this German bar was praised for its precision and skill.
24. Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco A tiki bar with a passion for rum this is Smuggler’s Cove’s second year on the list.
25. Eau De Vie, Sydney Another Sydney speakeasy, this time run by bartending guru Max Greco.
26. Experimental Cocktail Club, New York Only open since April 2012, this is the third Experimental Cocktail Club after Paris and London.
27. Portobello Star, London Jake Burger’s gin palace sits on a site that has been serving drinks since 1740. It runs gin classes and even has its own museum.
28. Schumann’s, Munich Re-entering the list after an absence last year, this bar is eight places lower than its 2010 spot, run by Charles Schumann.
29. Tippling Club, Singapore This bar is all about combining food and drink, run by renowned chef Ryan Cliff and bartender Matthew Bax.
30. Lebensstern, Berlin Famous for its dazzling array of spirits, this bar sits atop Café Einstein in Berlin.
31. Goldene Bar, Munich Another German bar and a new entry, commended for its cocktail list.
32. Pegu Club, New York Owner Audrey Saunders was described as the cocktail queen.
33. Worship Street Whistling Shop, London A tribute to the Victorian Gin palace.
34. Angel’s Share, New York Head bartender Shingo Gokan runs this place immaculately. It’s a newcomer to the list but tipped to rise.
35. Dutch Kills, New York Another outpost of Sasha Petraske.
36. Frank’s Bar, Buenos Aires
Speakeasy modelled on PDT in New York with entrance through a phone booth this place is a new entry to the list.
37. Beaufort Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London Built on the hotel’s former cabaret stags, exudes glamour.
38. Hemingway Bar, Prague Paying homage to literature’s favourite drinker, this bar in Prague is another new entry.
39. Meat, Kentucky Focusing on pre-Prohibition-style drinks, aptly named for its locale in Butchers Town.
40. Milk and Honey, London Plummeting from 5th to 40th place, Drinks International said: ‘Although it’s not as high up in the list as it was, it is still in the list. That’s no mean feat considering how many new places have opened their doors of late.’
41. Nottingham Forest, Milan Focusing on molecular mixology.
42. 28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore Run by ex-pat American Michael Callahan.
43. Boutiq, Budapest Opened by Zoltán Nagy, previously from LAB, London.
44. Chainaya, Moscow
Full name Chainaya, Tea & Cocktails, this bar only opened last year and is notoriously difficult to find.
45. Candelaria, Paris
Known for its cocktail brunches.
46. Salvatore’s at Playboy Club, London Vintage cocktails served by Playboy bunnies.
47. Ruby, Copenhagen Down one place from last year and home to bartender Kaspar Henriksen, Ruby is the only appearance from Copenhagen.
48. Stagger Lee, Berlin A 19th century saloon bar with a piano this venue was named after a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds song and features an abundance of American whiskey and tequila.
49. Le Bar Du Plaza Athénée, Paris Part of the Dorchester collection, this bar is home to Thierry Hernandez who, for a fee of €26, will make you whatever he feels like.
50. Asoka, Cape Town
Best Bar in Africa and Middle East A mixture of Asian and Victorian townhouse style, this bar has a live tree growing inside.
The Bartending News Flash Team
source: diffordsguide CLASS Magazine