Consider yourself a drinks lover? Then you won’t want to close this tab just yet. The second edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, organised by the iconic 50 Best brand, returned today to Capitol Theatre in Singapore along with several hundreds of the bar industry’s biggest VIPs. To put it simply, everyone got pretty darn drunk.
But you’re here to find out the results — drawn up from votes cast by more than 200 industry experts across Asia.There’s been lots of talk going around on who would win, and while some of the results are surprising, the rest were somewhat expected. And here goes: the number one bar of the year is The Old Man, Hong Kong, climbing four spots up from last year to become the Asia’s best bar.
Many eyes at the countdown were on Singapore’s Manhattan, which won the top spot for two years running, but they’ve since become No. 2, which is a very laudable ranking in itself. They’re still one of our favourite hotel bars in Singapore, and retains its title as the Lion City’s top bar as well as ‘Legend of the List’, sponsored by Michter’s.
This time, a total of nine cities made 2019’s ranked list. China claims 12 bars on this prestigious list of 50, dominating the list, while Singapore bagged a total 11 spots. Still, it’s not bad for a little red dot on the map, we say. Thailand is right behind Singapore with seven making the rankings. Singapore’s Jigger & Pony (No. 9) wowed the crowd by climbing up 33 spots from 2018, picking up the Highest Climber Award. From China, top representatives include Shanghai’s Speak Low (No. 7), Hong Kong’s Quinary (No. 10), and Sober Company (No. 16).
There are also 12 new entrants this year. Apart from Oto (No. 47) and The Back Room (No. 50) from the Philippines, newcomers include The Wise King (No. 18) and Coa (No. 12) in Hong Kong, taking home the honour of Highest New Entry.
Some bars and individuals that didn’t make it on the list have reason to celebrate as well. The Campari One To Watch initiative recognised South Korea’s Pussyfoot Saloon as a rising star in the region. Their eclectic selection of cocktails runs the gamut from expertly executed classics to inventive and sophisticated tipples. There was also the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender, which went to Japanese cocktail master Shingo Gokan – as voted for by the bartenders from the establishments in the 2019 list.
Is 2019 the year for to finally highlight sustainability in the bar industry? The Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award, which spotlights the bar on the list with the highest sustainability rating, goes to Bar Trigona (No. 40) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, determined by audit partner The Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Now, here is the full list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019:
- The Old Man, Hong Kong, China (The Best Bar in Asia, The Best Bar in China)
- Manhattan, Singapore (The Best Bar in Singapore, Legend of the List Award)
- Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei (Taiwan Best Bar in Taiwan)
- Native, Singapore
- Atlas, Singapore
- High Five, Tokyo (The Best Bar in Japan)
- Speak Low, Shanghai, China
- The Bamboo Bar At Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok (The Best Bar in Thailand)
- Jigger & Pony, Singapore (Highest Climber Award)
- Quinary, Hong Kong
- Tippling Club, Singapore
- Coa, Hong Kong (Highest New Entry)
- The SG Club, Tokyo
- Charles H, Seoul (Best Bar in Korea)
- Gibson, Singapore
- Sober Company, Shanghai
- Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
- The Wise King, Hong Kong
- Le Chamber, Seoul
- Backstage Cocktail Bar, Bangkok
- 28 HongKong Street, Singapore
- Operation Dagger, Singapore
- Bar Trench, Tokyo
- Aha Saloon, Taipei
- D.Bespoke, Singapore
- Vesper, Bangkok
- Coley, Kuala Lumpur (Best Bar in Malaysia)
- Bar Orchard Ginza, Tokyo
- Alice Cheongdam, Seoul
- Union Trading Company, Shanghai
- Tropic City, Bangkok
- The Pontiac, Hong Kong
- Lobster Bar & Grill, Hong Kong
- Rabbit Hole, Bangkok
- Hope & Sesame, Guangzhou
- Stockton, Hong Kong
- The Curator, Manila (The Best Bar in the Philippines)
- 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
- Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar, Jakarta (The Best Bar in Indonesia)
- Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur (Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award)
- Employees Only, Singapore
- Smalls, Bangkok
- Bar Mood, Taipei
- Junglebird, Kuala Lumpur
- Draft Land, Taipei
- The Other Room, Singapore
- Oto, Manila, Philippines
- Teens Of Thailand, Bangkok
- Mixology Salon, Tokyo
- The Back Room, Manila
Unsure about how the ranking process works? The Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy consists of over 200 industry leaders across Asia, and members list seven bars in order of preference based on their bar experiences over the last 18 months. Plus, a minimum of three votes must go to bars located outside their country of residence.
For more information, visit the Asia’s 50 Best Bars website.