The annual list of The World’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, was unveiled as part of a live awards ceremony in Singapore on Tuesday, 17 October 2023. Held in Asia for the first time in its history, the ceremony once again celebrated the excellence of the international drinks sector, paying tribute to the visionary bartenders, enterprising bar owners and trailblazing brands that lead the charge in shaping cocktail culture around the world.
The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 features establishments from 28 cities, with Barcelona’s Sips crowned The Best Bar in Europe and The World’s Best Bar, sponsored by Perrier. This is the second time a bar from Barcelona has taken the top spot in as many years, following Paradiso’s triumph in 2022.
Located in the heart of Barcelona’s L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample district, Sips combines elegant design with cutting-edge technique to create an unfussy and playful ‘drinkery house’ from two titans of the industry, Simone Caporale and Marc Álvarez. Drawing on the lessons of their already illustrious careers – Caporale was one half of the creative duo that led London’s Artesian to The World’s Best Bar title a record four times, whilst Álvarez spent almost a decade at Ferran and Albert Adrià’s revolutionary elBarri restaurant group – the duo’s disruptive approach to creative mixology shines through in innovative haute couture serves at pret-a-porter prices.
The bar’s atmospheric interior encompasses muted pastel and gold-accented seating orbiting a futuristic workstation in place of the traditional bar. This design removes any barrier between guest and bartender, with the aim of centring the human aspect of service to create a multi-sensory, immersive drinking experience.
William Drew, Director of Content, 50 Best, says: “As the brainchild of cocktail-world icons Marc Álvarez and Simone Caporale, Sips was destined for greatness even before it rocketed into the list at No.37 just a few short months after opening in 2021. The bar seamlessly translates contemporary innovation and technical precision into a playful cocktail programme, accompanied by the warmest hospitality, making it a worthy winner of The World’s Best Bar 2023 title.”
Drew continues: “At 50 Best, we take great pride in highlighting the unparalleled diversity of the global bar industry and we extend our sincere congratulations to each bar that has earned a place on this illustrious ranking. We have once again seen the number of cocktail cities represented here increase, and hope this list continues to ignite the spark of wanderlust for cocktail lovers around the world.”
Elisa Gregori, Perrier Global Business Unit Director, says: “On behalf of Perrier, we are honoured to be the ongoing leading sponsor for The World’s 50 Best Bars. We are extremely proud to spotlight the bartenders and other professionals who push boundaries to create unforgettable experiences for anyone who walks through their doors. From its ancient source in Vergèze, in the Gard region of France, Perrier exploded forth from the French café culture and, for more than 160 years, has proudly been the ultimate companion to the global bar community, who create, innovate and delight in their never-ending quest to create the perfect drink.”
London leads Europe and the world, but Barcelona remains on top
London retains its place as one of the world’s cocktail capitals with five bars on the list, more than any other city, including two in the top 10: Connaught Bar, rising three places to No.5, and Tayēr + Elementary at No.8. They are joined by East London neighbours Satan’s Whiskers at No.28 and A Bar with Shapes for a Name at No.35, with Scarfes Bar coming in at No.41. Edinburgh’s Panda & Sons also returns to the list at No.39.
Barcelona has two entries in the top five, with No.1 Sips alongside Paradiso at No.4, with Madrid’s Salmon Guru at No.16. In Italy, Rome’s Drink Kong at No.21 is joined by new entry Freni e Frizioni (No.33), alongside 1930 (No.42) in Milan, L’Antiquario (No.44) in Naples and Locale Firenze (No.46) in Florence.
Athens continues its ascendency with Line, winner of London Essence Best New Opening Award, at No.12, alongside Baba Au Rum (No.25) and The Clumsies (No.47), which was also named Rémy Martin Legend of The List. Elsewhere in Europe, Paris features Little Red Door at No.6 and newcomer The Cambridge Public House at No.38, while Oslo’s Himkok (No.10) bags the Nikka Highest Climber Award. Berlin sees a strong return to the list with new entry Wax On at No.29. Last year’s Campari One To Watch, Röda Huset from Stockholm, ranks No.31 and is also the recipient of the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award.
New York and Mexico City continue to battle it out
New York’s Double Chicken Please (No.2) is crowned The Best Bar in North America, with fellow Manhattan bars Overstory coming in at No.17 and Katana Kitten at No.27. Miami’s Café La Trova is at No.24 along with new entry Jewel of the South (No.49) bringing New Orleans back into the list for the first time since 2014.
In Mexico City, Handshake Speakeasy has risen 8 places to No.3, with Licorería Limantour at No.7, Hanky Panky at No.22 and Baltra Bar at No.45.
The Best Bar in South America is once again Cartagena’s Alquímico, which has risen to No.9, alongside Buenos Aires’ three entries: Tres Monos (No.11), also winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award), CoChinChina (No.26) and Florería Atlántico (No.30). Carnaval in Lima is at No.43.
New entries shine in Asia
In the host city of Singapore, Jigger & Pony is at No.14 alongside Sago House (No.32) and re-entry Atlas at No.48. They are joined by Seoul newcomer Zest, winner of this year’s Disaronno Highest New Entry Award, at No.18.
Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo each feature two bars in the list, with Bangkok’s BKK Social Club taking the top spot as The Best Bar in Asia at No.13 and welcoming neighbour Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, entering at No.19. Tokyo stalwart Bar Benfiddich (No.37) is joined by The SG Club, which re-enters the list at No.36. Hong Kong is represented by Coa at No.20 and Argo at No.34.
Middle East & Australia
Sydney’s Maybe Sammy (No.15) is crowned The Best Bar in Australasia for an incredible fifth time, having won the title every year since its launch in 2019, whilst Melbourne’s Caretaker’s Cottage joins the list for the first time at No.23.
In Dubai, newcomer Mimi Kakushi storms into the list at No.40 as The Best Bar in The Middle East and Africa, joined by Galaxy Bar at No.50.
The ceremony kicked off the celebrations by naming Lady Bee in Lima as Campari One To Watch, an honour bestowed on a bar outside of the 1-50 ranking that the 50 Best team believes has what it takes to make future editions of the list.
The winner of the inaugural Bareksten Best Bar Design Award is Night Hawk in Singapore. Founded by renowned Singapore bartender Peter Chua in May 2022, the speakeasy’s enigmatic interiors have been meticulously designed to offer an intimate, immersive experience that combines retro and futuristic elements. Judged by an esteemed panel of hospitality design experts, bars from anywhere in the world were invited to submit their venues for consideration.
The American Bar at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland is awarded the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award for its Book of Berries menu. Inspired by the 20th-century ‘observer books’, this menu features 18 cocktails, each dedicated to a single botanical berry sourced from the local hills of Perthshire. Running for the third year in a row, the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award is open to any bar in the world and is judged by the 28 Academy Chairs.
Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni has been voted Roku Industry Icon. A bartender, entrepreneur and visionary, Giovannoni’s multi-award winning Florería Atlántico in Buenos Aires has been a firm fixture of The World’s 50 Best Bars list since opening in 2013, being named The Best Bar in South America an incredible eight times. His passionate celebration of Argentinian produce, heritage and culture and unwavering commitment to hospitality is celebrated around the world.
Joining the list for the first time at No.18, Seoul’s Zest is awarded Disaronno Highest New Entry. Founders Demie Kim, Sean Woo, Jisu Park and Noah Kwon are paving the way to a more sustainable future behind the bar with a zero-waste approach that celebrates the finest local flavours alongside house-made innovations.
Line in Athens is named London Essence Best New Opening as the bar which enters the list in the highest position of any that have opened during the voting period. The latest venture from the team behind Athens stalwart The Clumsies, alongside Greek entrepreneur Dimitris Dafopoulos, Line draws its inspiration from the dynamic and natural journey of fermentation, the seasonality of produce, the concept of sustainability and the synergy with small Greek producers in an industrial space gently accented with natural materials.
Oslo’s Himkok wins the Nikka Highest Climber Award, rising 33 places within the 1-50 list to No.10. Opened in 2015 by Erk Potur and renowned for placing Scandinavian cocktail culture on the map, Himkok offers an innovative exploration of Nordic flavours, produce and products under the stewardship of bar manager Maroš Dzurus.
The honour of Rémy Martin Legend of the List has been bestowed upon The Clumsies, an award given to a bar that has performed most consistently in the list since its inception. With The Clumsies, founders Vasilis Kyritsis and Nikos Bakoulis have created the ultimate neighbourhood bar showcasing world class cocktails alongside warm Greek hospitality.
Röda Huset in Stockholm has won the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award, based on independent adjudication by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Inspired by co-owner Hampus Thunholm’s time at Fäviken, the remote Swedish restaurant renowned for only working with ingredients that came from the surrounding estates, Röda Huset celebrates the wealth of outstanding produce available in Sweden.
Other special award winners, announced in the run-up to the event on 17 October, include Tres Monos, Buenos Aires, named the winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, and GN Chan, winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award.
The 50 Best Bars The Blend Scholarship winner is Apoorva Kohli of New Delhi’s acclaimed Sidecar. Created to recognise emerging future-gazing talent and professionalise the craft of bartending, the scholarship winner will now complete two bar stages (internships) at Alquímico in Cartagena, Colombia and Sips in Barcelona, Spain. Apoorva impressed the judges with her passion for cross-cultural learning, as well as her commitment to showcasing the flavours and traditions of India’s cultural heritage whilst looking forward to a sustainable and inclusive future.
The voting process
The list is compiled by votes from The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy, which comprises 680 drinks experts with 50/50 gender parity, including renowned bartenders and consultants, drinks writers and cocktail specialists from around the world. The Academy of voters is spread across 28 global geographic regions, each headed by an Academy Chair who selects their region’s voters, with the distribution of voters designed to reflect the relative development and sophistication of the drinks sector, and the concentration of quality bars, in each region. Each voter casts seven votes based on their best bar experiences of the previous 18 months, although if they have been unable to travel, they are welcome to provide five votes from their home country or SAR. Voters are required to remain anonymous and voting is confidential, secure and independently adjudicated by Deloitte.
The article The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 list is revealed; Sips in Barcelona named the world’s best bar first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.
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Author: Vicky Karantzavelou