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Asia's 50 Best Bars announced
Sunday, 17th May 2020
Source : worlds50bestbars.com

Jigger & Pony, Singapore, ranks No 1 in the 2020 edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars and is also The Best Bar in Singapore, sponsored by Perrier The 2020 list features 10 countries in Asia.

Greater China has the highest number of bars on the list, with 12 bars and two new entries:

  • No Sleep Club, Singapore, takes the Campari One To Watch Award
  • Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taiwan, wins the Heering Legend of The List Award
  • The Old Man, Singapore, is awarded London Essence Best New Opening
  • Bee’s Knees, Japan, secures the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award
  • Bar Mood, Taiwan, takes the Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Seedlip
  • 50 Best decided to proceed with publishing the 2020 list after consultation with the industry, in order to provide recognition to the bars and help promote positivity during the crisis

Other special awards announced in the run-up to the ceremony were Manhattan, Singapore, as the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award winner; Bar Trigona, Malaysia, as the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award winner; and Jay Khan, of Coa, Hong Kong, as the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender 2020. More information about these special award winners is available at the end of this press release.

The 2020 list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, was announced over a virtual awards ceremony on 14th May at 1900hrs. The fifth edition of the annual ranking features eight new entries and sees Jigger & Pony clinch the No.1 spot and take home The Best Bar in Asia and The Best Bar in Singapore awards.

The on-site ceremony, which was originally due to take place in Singapore for the third consecutive year at Capitol Theatre, was replaced with a virtual countdown.

After consulting with Asia’s bar community and receiving its support, 50 Best decided to go ahead with publishing the 2020 list to provide recognition to the bars’ and their teams’ hard work over the past year, and to instill optimism and positivity within the bar industry as the continent begins to open up. 50 Best stands with the global bar community as it prepares to recover from this unprecedented situation.

Co-founded by Gan Guoyi and Indra Kantono, Jigger & Pony is a bar concept that specialises in thoughtful reimaginations of classic drinks. Innovative cocktails such as Mango Hazelnut Daiquiri and Mineral Vodka Soda feature alongside signatures such as its Ramos Gin Fizz. It first debuted on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list in 2016, and was ranked No.9 last year, winning the Highest Climber Award after rising 33 places in the list.

At No.2 is The Old Man, Hong Kong, which also becomes The Best Bar in China, sponsored by Matusalem. Coming in at No.3 is Coa, Hong Kong, while Taiwan’s Indulge Experimental Bistro takes the No.4 spot and the Heering Legend of The List. Standing at No.5 is Atlas, Singapore.

Mark Sansom, Content Editor for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “We want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the bars in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list in these difficult times. It is wonderful to see a new No.1 and it is a credit to Jigger & Pony’s development that the team has created a brilliant bar that appeals to such a wide range of guests. We hope that the announcement of the 2020 list will deliver a message of solidarity and encouragement during this harrowing period as the bars in
Asia look to get back on their feet. The virtual ceremony this year was not designed as a celebration, but rather as a recognition of all the bar teams’ hard work.”

For the 2021 Asia’s 50 Best Bars ceremony, 50 Best is also delighted to announce that it has confirmed its partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board to bring Asia’s 50 Best Bars back to Singapore next year. Jean Ng, Executive Director, Attractions, Entertainment & Tourism Concept Development, Singapore Tourism Board, says: “During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to celebrate the best in the business. We look forward to our continued partnership with 50 Best in 2021, when the region’s top bartenders return to our shores for Asia’s 50 Best Bars. These events will play a part in the industry’s recovery, and we are excited to welcome the world to experience Singapore’s vibrant nightlife offerings when the situation improves.”

Individual Country Awards

Greater China (12 bars)
A total of 12 bars have made the list this year, including Hong Kong establishments The Old Man (No.2 and named The Best Bar in China, sponsored by Matusalem), Coa (rising nine places to No.3), Quinary (No.16), The Wise King (No.18), 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (jumping 10 places to No.28), new entrant Caprice Bar (No.34), The Pontiac (No.35) and Lobster Bar & Grill (No.44). Shanghai is represented by three bars, namely Sober Company (moving up four places to No.12), Speak Low (No.19) and newcomer The Odd Couple (No.38). Hope & Sesame in Guangzhou secures the No.36 spot.

Singapore (11 bars)
Climbing eight places to clinch the No.1 spot is Jigger & Pony, also taking The Best Bar in Asia and Best Bar in Singapore awards, sponsored by Perrier. Other ranked bars include Atlas (No.5), Native (No.6), Manhattan (No.8), Tippling Club (No.17), newcomer The Old Man (No.22 and winner of the London Essence Best New Opening Award), D.Bespoke (rising two places to No.23), Gibson (No.25), 28 HongKong Street (No.30), Nutmeg & Clove (a re-entry at No.32) and new entrant MO Bar (No.46).

Japan (6 bars)
Moving up four places to land at the No.9 spot is The SG Club, which is also named The Best Bar in Japan, sponsored by Nikka Whisky. The 2020 list also features Bar Benfiddich (rising two places to No.15), High Five (No.20), Bee’s Knees, Kyoto (No.21) which also wins the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award, Bar Trench (No.39) and Bar Orchard Ginza (No.41).

Taiwan (5 bars)
Winning Best Bar in Taiwan and coming in at No.4 is Indulge Experimental Bistro, which also takes the Heering Legend of the List, an accolade for the bar that has performed best over the history of the ranking. Also on the list are Aha Saloon (jumping 14 spots to No.10), Bar Mood (moving up 30 places to No.13 to take the Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Seedlip), Draft Land (leaping 19 places to No.26) and newcomer Room by Le Kief (No.27).

Thailand (5 bars)
Rising one place to rank at No.7 is The Bamboo Bar at Mandarin Oriental, which is also named The Best Bar in Thailand, sponsored by Mr Black. Jumping 15 spots to No.11 is Vesper, while Tropic City climbs seven spots to take the No.24 position.
Moving up three places to rank at No.31 is Rabbit Hole. Backstage Cocktail Bar takes the No.33 spot.

South Korea (4 bars)
In addition to Charles H receiving The Best Bar in Korea award, sponsored by Mancino Vermouth and clinching the No.29 spot, Alice and Le Chamber are also in the list at No.47 and 49 respectively. Newcomer Bar Cham takes the No.50 spot.

Malaysia (3 bars)
Leaping 26 places to place at No.14, Bar Trigona is also The Best Bar in Malaysia and winner of the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2020. Junglebird rises seven places to take the No.37 spot. Malaysia is also represented by Coley at No.48. Philippines (2 bars), Indonesia (1 bar) and India (1 bar) Philippines sees two winners on the list: The Curator (No.42 and The Best Bar in Philippines, sponsored by illycaffé) and The Back Room (rising five places to No.45). Taking the No.43 spot is Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar, also The Best Bar in Indonesia, sponsored by Four Pillars. New entry Sidecar (No.40) is The Best Bar in India, sponsored by Peroni.

Special Awards

For the first time, Asia’s 50 Best Bars also pre-announced a series of special awards – Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award, Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award and Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award – in the month leading up to the awards countdown. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur, lands the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award for the second time and takes the No.14 position. The cocktail bar in Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur serves intricately crafted concoctions using indigenous and sustainable ingredients. Head bartender and bar manager Ashish Sharma helms the popular venue and spotlights the abundance of Malaysian produce, whether it is small-batch raw honey from an organic farm in Negeri Sembilan, wild turmeric harvested in Pahang or tropical fruits from a Bangi organic farm. Manhattan, Singapore, brings home the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, and takes the No.8 spot. Patrons are warmly ushered into the hotel bar, which is inspired by the 19th-century Golden Age of cocktails and fine drinking. The craft cocktail journey extends to its unique rickhouse, used to finish whiskies and spirits, and to age bitters and single-cask cocktails.

Jay Khan, co-founder of Coa, Hong Kong, wins the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award. Khan saw a gap in the market for a bar specialising in agave spirits and decided to open the Mexican-inspired cocktail bar in 2017. Having spent over 10 years at renowned bar spots in Melbourne, Macau and Hong Kong, the beverage industry veteran is passionate about sharing his repertoire of artisanal cocktails using a wide range of Mexican spirits with his patrons.

No Sleep Club, Singapore, is named the Campari One To Watch, an accolade presented to a rising-star bar selected by the organisers of Asia’s 50 Best Bars as having the potential to break into the list in the future. Headed by bartenders Juan Yijun and Jessica Hutchinson, the all-day bar and restaurant exudes a welcoming laid-back ambience and is known for its selection of innovative cocktails, like Hay & Apples.

Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, clinches the Heering Legend of the List Award and comes in at No.4. Indulge’s owner Aki Wang is one of the leading lights of Taipei's bustling cocktail scene. Known for injecting a distinctively Taiwanese twist to international bar trends, the purple-lit bar is where one can enjoy creative cocktails using liqueurs that are made from hand-picked native teas.

The Old Man, Singapore, is named London Essence Best New Opening and clinches the No.22 spot. Following the success of its flagship in Hong Kong, the first overseas branch of The Old Man opened in Singapore in 2019. The unique bar concept is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s iconic 1952 novel and is helmed by head bartender and managing partner, Andrew Yap. The cocktails pay homage to Hemingway’s favourite libations, each executed with an Asian touch.

Bee’s Knees in Kyoto secures the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award and ranks at No.21. With a secret entrance and dimly lit interior, this speakeasy bar draws inspiration from the 1920s Prohibition era to create a hidden haven. There, drinkers enjoy an array of Roaring Twenties cocktails that are crafted with an inventive twist, as well as off-menu specials such as the John Lennon-inspired Strawberry Fields.

Bar Mood, Taipei, takes the Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Seedlip, leaping into the No.13 spot from No.43 last year. East meets West at legendary Taiwanese bartender Nick Wu’s Bar Mood, a serious craft cocktail cove where the art of ingredient-focused Japanese bartending combines with the speed and efficiency of American drink-making. Taiwanese whiskey, along with Japanese whisky and gin, are the key players, which are built into a menu rich in local ingredients like goji berries and countless tea syrups, from oolong to jasmine to pu’er.

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list

1) Jigger & Pony, Singapore
2) The Old Man, Hong Kong, China
3) Coa, Hong Kong, China
4) Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, Taiwan
5) Atlas, Singapore
6) Native, Singapore
7) The Bamboo Bar at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand
8) Manhattan, Singapore
9) The SG Club, Tokyo, Japan
10) Aha Saloon, Taipei, Taiwan
11) Vesper, Bangkok, Thailand
12) Sober Company, Shanghai, China
13) Bar Mood, Taipei, Taiwan
14) Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
15) Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo, Japan
16) Quinary, Hong Kong, China
17) Tippling Club, Singapore
18) The Wise King, Hong Kong, China
19) Speak Low, Shanghai, China
20) High Five, Tokyo, Japan
21) Bee’s Knees, Kyoto, Japan
22) The Old Man, Singapore
23) D.Bespoke, Singapore
24) Tropic City, Bangkok, Thailand
25) Gibson, Singapore
26) Draft Land, Taipei, Taiwan
27) Room by Le Kief, Taipei, Taiwan
28) 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong, China
29) Charles H, Seoul, South Korea
30) 28 HongKong Street, Singapore
31) Rabbit Hole, Bangkok, Thailand
32) Nutmeg & Clove, Singapore
33) Backstage Cocktail Bar, Bangkok, Thailand
34) Caprice Bar, Hong Kong, China
35) The Pontiac, Hong Kong, China
36) Hope & Sesame, Guangzhou, China
37) Junglebird, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
38) The Odd Couple, Shanghai, China
39) Bar Trench, Tokyo, Japan
40) Sidecar, New Delhi, India
41) Bar Orchard Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
42) The Curator, Manila, Philippines
43) Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar, Jakarta, Indonesia
44) Lobster Bar & Grill, Hong Kong, China
45) The Back Room, Manila, Philippines
46) MO Bar, Singapore
47) Alice, Seoul, South Korea
48) Coley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
49) Le Chamber, Seoul, South Korea
50) Bar Cham, Seoul, South Korea

How the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list is compiled

The Asia’s 50 Best Bars list was introduced in 2016 as an extension of The World’s 50 Best Bars, which launched in 2009. The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s  50 Best Bars Academy, an influential group of over 230 leaders in the bar sector across Asia, each selected for his or her expert opinion of the drinking scene. The panel comprises drinks journalists, bartenders and owners, and well-traveled cocktail aficionados. Members list seven choices in order of preference, based on their best bar experiences over the last 18 months. A minimum of three of the votes must go to the bars located outside his or her country of residence. There is no pre-determined checklist of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.

For more details on the voting process, visit worlds50bestbars.com

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