The list of the world’s 50 best bars is out — and the winner isn’t in NYC

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It just got easier for residents of major world cities to find the best tipples in town.

The World’s 50 Best Bars were announced on Nov. 5 in London via a virtual awards ceremony, with the city’s Connaught Bar clinching the No. 1 spot. The bar — which ranked No. 2 last year — traded places with 2019’s top slot, New York’s Dante, which moved to second place this year.

The awards’ list is organized by William Reed Business Media, which also produces The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

First published in 2009, the annual bar list aims to be a “survey of current tastes and [is] a credible indicator of the best places to drink across the world,” according to the company’s website.

The 2020 winners

This year’s list includes bars from 23 countries, with 11 new entries.

The U.K. had the strongest showing, with bars in London accounting for eight of its nine rankings. Europe took 21 spots in total, more than Asia’s 15 and twice that of the Americas — North and South America lodged 10 slots in total.   

Connaught Bar is known for its martini trolley, which allows waiters to prepare drinks at patrons’ tables.

Courtesy of The World’s 50 Best Bars and Connaught Bar

Singapore dominated Asia’s rankings, with four bars being named among the world’s best, an outsized showing for the city-state that is home to nearly 5.7 million people. Tokyo registered three bars on the list, while Hong Kong and Taipei each netted two.

Sydney accounts for Australia’s three rankings, while Dubai’s Zuma bar gave the Middle East its sole award.  

The full list includes:

  1. Connaught Bar, London
  2. Dante, New York
  3. The Clumsies, Athens
  4. Atlas, Singapore 
  5. Tayer + Elementary, London
  6. Kwant, London
  7. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
  8. Coa, Hong Kong
  9. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
  10. The SG Club, Tokyo
  11. Maybe Sammy, Sydney
  12. Attaboy, New York
  13. Nomad Bar, New York
  14. Manhattan, Singapore
  15. The Old Man, Hong Kong
  16. Katana Kitten, New York
  17. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
  18. Native, Singapore
  19. Paradiso, Barcelona
  20. American Bar, London
  21. Carnaval, Lima
  22. Salmon Guru, Madrid
  23. Zuma, Dubai
  24. Little Red Door, Paris
  25. 1930, Milan
  26. Two Schmucks, Barcelona
  27. El Copitas, St. Petersburg
  28. Cantina OK!, Sydney
  29. Lyaness, London
  30. Himkok, Oslo
  31. Baba Au Rum, Athens
  32. Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
  33. Swift, London
  34. Three Sheets, London
  35. The Bamboo Bar, Bangkok
  36. Tjoget, Stockholm
  37. Buck and Breck, Berlin
  38. Employees Only, New York
  39. Bulletin Place, Sydney
  40. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
  41. Artesian, London
  42. Sober Company, Shanghai
  43. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei
  44. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur
  45. Drink Kong, Rome
  46. Room by Le Kief, Taipei
  47. Alquimico, Cartagena
  48. High Five, Tokyo
  49. Charles H., Seoul
  50. Presidente, Buenos Aires  

How the list is created

This year, the voting process changed to highlight emerging bar scenes around the globe, said Mark Sansom, content editor for The World’s 50 Best Bars.

The 50 Best organization appointed an outside chairperson to 20 geographical regions around the world. Each chairperson then chose a voting panel for each region, which cumulatively formed the organization’s voting “Academy.”

“The 540-strong Academy is made up of drinks experts, including bartenders, bar managers, drinks consultants, brand ambassadors, drinks writers, historians and cocktail aficionados who are selected for their knowledge of the international bar scene,” said Sansom.

A cocktail from Galaxy Bar, the winner of this year’s Campari One to Watch award.

Courtesy of The World’s 50 Best Bars and Galaxy Bar

Normallym Academy members cast seven votes, in order of preference, for bars they most enjoyed in the previous 18 months. This year, however, the voting period ended in March, around the time when “the majority of the world went into lockdown,” said Sansom.  

As to what makes a bar one of the “best” is left to the judgment of each voting member.

“There are no set criteria for each expert voter to evaluate … though there are strict voting rules,” said Sansom. “Voters must have visited the bars they vote for during the voting period, and they cannot self-nominate or nominate a bar in which they have any financial interest.”

Each member must also vote for three bars outside of their current home country, or if in the U.S., their home state.

More top bars around the globe

Last week, the 50 Best organization released the bars named to an extended 51-100 list. It included 26 new entries, 11 of which are in Asia.

Individual awards were also given last month. Renato Giovannoni of Buenos Aires’ Florería Atlántico (No. 7) won the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender award for 2020.

Renato Giovannoni of Buenos Aires’ Florería Atlántico won the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender award for 2020.

Courtesy of The World’s 50 Best Bars and Florería Atlántico

Dubai’s Galaxy Bar won the Campari One to Watch Award and Sydney’s Maybe Sammy — which 50 Best named the “Best Bar in Australasia” nine months after it opened — took home the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award.

Aid for an ailing industry

To help the bar industry recover from the global pandemic, the 50 Best organization has raised more than $1.2 million, which it is distributing to nonprofit organizations and private businesses.

So far, more than 200 bars and restaurants across 53 countries have received grants from the organization’s recovery fund, according to the company’s website.

“We hope that the announcement of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 will act as a show of strength for the global bar community,” said Sansom. “It displays to the world that even in the face of the ever-shifting challenges and restrictions being thrown at them, bars are still doing everything that they can to continue to provide great hospitality experiences.”