The World’s 50 Best Bars 2012…
This year, speakeasies and luxury hotel bars were joined by saloons, clubs and classic drinking dens from across the globe. Here is the full World’s 50 Best Bars 2012 list.
Last year we introduced the Academy, a group of people we believe to be among the most influential and knowledgeable bar industry professionals on the planet.
Academy members include the likes of Gaz Regan, Salvatore Calabrese, Hidetsugu Ueno and Dale DeGroff; World Class (and World Class) bartenders including Erik Lorincz and Manabu Ohtake; champion brand and category ambassadors such as Ian Burrell and Tomas Estes, as well as bar owners and bartenders from our previous top 50 lists.
This year we welcomed votes from around 150 people in nearly 40 countries. Never before has a group of such quality, number and spread been assembled, making this the most authoritative international bar survey ever conducted.
Our hope is that the Academy will continue to grow, bringing votes from even more people from around the world.
This year, editor Lucy Britner and US drinks writer Camper English were helped with regional Academy recommendations from Yangdup Lama in India, Kurt Schletcher in South Africa, Des Mulcahy in Australia, Helmut Adam in Germany and Andy Bishop in Russia.
In the box, you’ll find the rules for voting and the requests we make of our voters. We have been asked why there are not more criteria to define a ‘best bar’. The answer is that it is important to trust the professional opinion of those at the top of their game. It’s not just about the service, the menu and the decor – it’s about how that fits together. For example, a voter might hate taxidermy but that doesn’t mean they can’t appreciate why it would play a part in making PDT or Zetter Townhouse special.
Finally, all votes are confidential. We publish a list of voters (pages 62-65) and the top 50 but we don’t disclose who voted for where.
As in all industries, politics can sometimes rear its not-always-attractive head. So, to ensure the longevity of the list, we keep all votes a secret. And for those who send us emails asking if their bar can feature in next year’s top 50, we only get to choose three bars each, just like everyone else.
Please vote for the best three bars in the world, in your professional opinion
You cannot vote for venues you own or work in
The venues must still be open
You should have visited the bars in the past two years
Votes should be given in an approximate order of 1, 2, and 3. This is used in the case of a tie
1.Artesian at the Langham Hotel, London
2.P.D.T, New York
4.Connaught Bar, London
5.American Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London
6.Death & Co, New York
7.The Baxter Inn, Sydney
8.69 Colebrook Row, London
9.Callooh Callay, London
11.Employees Only, New York
12.Happiness Forgets, London
14.The Varnish, Los Angeles
15.Zetter Townhouse, London
17.Black Pearl, Melbourne
18.Clover Club, New York
19.Dry Martini, Barcelona
20.La Capilla, Mexico
21.Palmer & Co, Sydney
22.Bar High Five, Tokyo
23.Le Lion, Hamburg
24.Smugglers Cove, San Francisco
25.Eau De Vie, Sydney
26.Experimental Cocktail Club, New York
27.Portobello Star, London
29.Tippling Club, Singapore
31.Goldene Bar, Munich
32.Pegu Club, New York
33.Worship Street Whistling Shop, London
34.Angel’s Share, New York
35.Dutch Kills, New York
36.Frank’s Bar, Buenos Aires
37.Beaufort Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London
40.Milk & Honey, London
41.Nottingham Forest, Milan
42.28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore
46.Salvatore at Playboy, London
48.Stagger Lee, Berlin
49.Le Bar Du Plaza Athenee, Paris
50.Asoka, Cape Town
Ones to Watch…
We take a look at some hot prospects for 2013.
Prime Meats, New York, US
This joint (geddit?) prides itself on being a “farm to table” restaurant, featuring local, fresh ingredients that are simply prepared. Foods include oysters, corn soup, a significant nod to German sausages, lobster and, of course, beef in many glorious forms. On the imbibing side, cocktails take influence from the pre-Prohibition era and, yep, ingredients are fresh and include house-made bitters. The place also offers its own Prime Meats Pilsner - a brew crafted by Brooklyn-based Sixpoint Craft Ales. There’s an interesting wine list too, with a huge selection of Austrian wines on offer.
Shady Pines Saloon, Sydney, Australia
In her Time Out review of this venue, food and drink editor Myffy Rigby gave Shady Pines five out of five stars. The bar is the brainchild of Anton Forte and Jason Scott, the duo responsible for the Baxter Inn, which was best bar in Asia Pacific and Highest New Entry in this year’s poll. It seems the pair know what they’re doing when it comes to opening cool venues. In her review, Rigby recommends starting with a Set-Up, a whisky with a beer back. There’s a great selection of beers and whiskies, depending on your taste and the size of your wallet.
Orphanage, Cape Town, South Africa
This bar is on the corner of Bree Street and Orphan Street, which got its name following a flu epidemic in the 1900s that left many children without families. They would gather at a church on Bree Street and a reverend set up an orphanage nearby. OK, on to the drinks – or artisan cocktails, elixirs and intoxications as they like to call them. If you are a conscience, go for a More Tea Vicar: vanilla-infused Finlandia, rooibos syrup, cranberry, lemon and egg white. It’s R60 of which R15 goes to the children’s home. Or if you’re feeling like an orphan, there’s an Oliver Twist: chamomile-infused Blanco vermouth, Cîroc, apricot liqueur, orange and a twist.
Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai, India
This place is about as far away from a speakeasy or hotel bar as you can get. It describes itself as an “integrated music project” and, aside from a bar and restaurant, Blue Frog comprises a live music venue, four recording studios, a production house and a record label. It takes its food and drink offer seriously too, and boasts a massive selection of vodkas, as well as single malts, signature cocktails and a decent wine offer, including Sula Brut sparkling wine – India’s answer to champagne. Although the venue offers gigs six nights a week, you can enjoy a glass of Sula with brunch. There’s even a kids’ menu and it seems like Blue Frog is all things to all people – especially if those people are musically-minded.
Rock Bar, Ayana resort, Bali
If your jaw doesn’t hit the floor when you see this place, you must be seriously hard to please. The open-air bar juts out over the sea, sitting atop natural rocks while the Indian Ocean lashes the cliffs 14m below. The bar is part of a 77ha property that features 78 private luxury villas and a 290-room hotel. The cocktail list features a few classics, including the Martini and the Old Fashioned, but the bulk of the drinks are fruit-driven, with papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, lychee, strawberries and blueberries all making an appearance. Heat is provided not only by the glorious weather but also by ingredients such as wasabi, fresh ginger and coriander leaves. If you can’t decide what to drink you can leave it to the Bartender’s Rock Shots. This features six shots of the day. The savoury bites sound every bit as mouth-watering as the cocktails and Rock lobster spring rolls with an Indonesian tamarind glaze would sit nicely next to anyone’s drink.
Canon, Seattle, US
Canon opened its doors in 2011 and we bet it will be on the World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2013. The back bar is positively heaving with bottles, in fact, the bottle collection stretches way beyond just the back of the bar. The cocktail list is modest in comparison to the list of spirits on offer. The bar boasts almost 30 absinthes’ before you even get going on the rest. But if you’re after a taste of liquid history, this is the place for you. The Hardcore Porn section of the menu features dozens of spirits from just about every decade in the 20th century, some even older.
The Violet Hour, Chicago, US
Historian and author Bernard DeVoto published a cocktail manifesto in 1948 called The Hour. This bar takes inspiration from one passage in particular: “This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valour is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn.” The cocktail menu kicks off with Gin and Summer is Easy might be worth the trip to Chicago alone: Lady Grey infused Bombay, grapefruit, Campari, rosé wine, Peychaud’s bitters. Even the bar snacks sound irresistible. If you like nuts, how about spiced nuts with coriander, fennel, cayenne and maple syrup? The house rules are pretty funny, although we sense a serious undertone, so don’t mess: “No O-Bombs, No Jager-Bombs. No bombs of any kind. No Budweiser. No light beer. No Grey Goose. No Cosmopolitans.”
Trader Vic’s, Tokyo, Japan
We’re sure you’re all familiar with the Trader Vic brand of South Pacific Tiki. The concept started in San Francisco and now there are 26 branches across the world. The list at the Tokyo branch is 100-libations strong and, rather than being categorised under spirit headings as we have seen many times throughout this magazine, the drinks come as Large, Small, Strong, Hot, Weak and After Dinner. Of course, rum is the focus and the large drinks give a Tiki god nod to the sharing cocktails that help give rum is jovial spirit. Or, as the people at Trader Vic’s put it: “The ancient Polynesians’ ceremonial Luau drinks were served in festive communal bowls.” Their homage to this tradition includes a Rum Cup, a Rum Giggle and a Tiki Bowl.
Source: Drinks International