The World's 50 Best Bars Academy is the mechanism used to create The World's 50 Best Bars list. None of the employees of the organiser or any of the sponsors associated with the awards, including the main sponsor, has any influence over the results.
The Academy comprises 680 members, each selected for their expert opinion of the global bar scene. To create the Academy, and give it a fair representation of the international bar landscape, we divide the world into 28 geographical regions.
Each region has a chairperson appointed for their knowledge of their part of the bar world. These Chairs each select a voting panel, updated annually, ensuring a balanced selection of drink writers, bartenders and cocktail aficionados.
Learn more about how the voting works
Smith is an award-winning drinks journalist, specialising in the bar industry. Based in London, he edits UK bartender magazine CLASS, works across sister title Drinks International as Bars Editor and is a former editor of The World’s 50 Best Bars. Over a 10-year career in drinks, Smith has established himself as a key commentator of the global bar industry.
Academy Chair for: Hungary, Southern Europe and Northern Balkans
A native New Yorker, experienced drinks journalist and self-confessed Europhile, Alia Akkam has called Budapest home since 2015. She is the former editor of Beverage Media and Hospitality Design, publications she continues to contribute to regularly, Akkam has an affinity for writing about cocktails and bars, as well as design, travel, food, and culture. Her work has appeared in outlets ranging from ArchitecturalDigest.com to Men's Health. In October 2020 she published Behind the Bar: 50 Cocktails from the World’s Most Iconic Hotels with Hardie Grant.
Czech editor and journalist Urbanová has almost 20 years' experience in food and drinks. From 2010 to 2015 she worked as editor-in-chief on Barlife magazine and in this capacity assisted in organsing the Prague Bar Show and Czech Bar Awards. Since 2015 she has been editor-in-chief and co-owner of online journal AtBars.com, which focuses its content on bars' business and related fields.
Mintz is the Editor of Neat Pour, a daily publication for the beverage industry. Prior to Neat Pour, he founded and edited a community news source. When not travelling, Mintz can be found at home, in New Orleans, US, sipping on a Perfect Manhattan.
Academy Chair for: Canada West
Charlene Rooke is a Canadian spirits journalist and educator. A WSET spirit educator, she also holds the prestigious SWE’s Certified Specialist of Spirits, trained in small-batch distilling at Kentucky’s Moonshine University and is the lead judge of the Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition. A former editor of magazines for Air Canada, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and other travel and hospitality brands, she is currently the Drinks Editor of Food & Drink, the in-store magazine of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (one of the world’s largest beverage alcohol buyers and retailers).
A National Magazine Award-winning writer, Sismondo has been writing about spirits, cocktails, bars, books and history for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Maclean’s and other publications for over 20 years. She’s also the author of America Walks into a Bar: A History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops; Prohibition, a six-part podcast series for Wondery’s American History Tellers and, most recently, Cocktails: A Still Life. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
Emma Janzen is a James Beard Award-winning author, photographer, and one of the foremost authorities in cocktail writing in the USA. Her first book, Mezcal: The History, Craft and Cocktails of the World's Ultimate Artisanal Spirit, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award in 2018, and she has since co-authored the award-winning The Way of the Cocktail with Kumiko owner Julia Momosé (2021), and The Bartender's Manifesto with Toby Maloney of The Violet Hour (2022). Writing and editing from her home base near Chicago, she prefers her mezcal neat, her martinis made with gin, and her champagne served in a coupe.
Academy Chair: USA West
Tseng is a Los Angeles-based writer who writes primarily about food, cocktails and culture. Among other publications, she predominantly contributes to The LA Times, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine. Originally from Wisconsin, she first started her food and cocktail blog 15 years ago, before becoming a freelance writer.
Cocktail expert Collins founded her blog 52martinis in 2007 to chronicle her search for the best cocktail bars in Paris and cover small-batch spirits news from France. She is the creator of iOS app Paris Cocktails and host of the radio show and podcast, Paris Cocktail Talk. As a freelance writer, she has written for Drinks International, Serious Eats and other gastronomic publications with a focus on the Paris cocktail scene. Collins regularly judges cocktail competitions and is President of the France chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a by-invitation philanthropic organisation for women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverages and hospitality. In 2024, she will release her book Drink Like a Local: Paris.
Monti is a Belgian, Madrid-based cocktail and spirits writer. He is the author of three books, including El Gran Libro del Vermut and 101 Cocktails to Try Before You Die. His writing has appeared in various publications across the world and he has led seminars at some of the largest global bar events, such as Berlin Bar Convent. He lives for a good seat at the bar.
Academy Chair for: Nordics
Academy Chair for: Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau
Ng has managed bars, hotels and brands for over 15 years. A Hong Kong native, he was educated in Switzerland, before returning home via the UK and the US in 2008. In 2009, he supervised the highly regarded MO Bar in in Hong Kong, winning several awards at global bartending competitions. He followed this with a stint at leading whiskey brand, Michters, as Asia brand ambassador, before converting to magazine editorial, joining Tasting Kitchen, as director of wines and spirits.
While foremost a freelance drinks writer with bylines in Rumporter, Food24 and more, Deventer is also a director of the Protégé Bartender Programme, a convenor of the South African Rum Awards and a regular cocktail competition judge. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, she’s slurped her way through 40-odd countries in the name of research, accumulating various accolades long the way.
Academy Chair for: Japan
Based in Tokyo since 1998, Coldicott is the author of Tokyo Cocktails and co-founder of artisanal sake exporters KuroKura. He has been a drink columnist for The Japan Times and CNN, an editor of Whisky Magazine Japan and Eat magazine, a judge for the World Whisky Awards, and a writer of guide books for Wallpaper* and Time Out.
Academy Chair for: USA Northeast
Since 2006, Wiznitzer has been working in NYC and across the globe to bring cocktail culture to life. She was nominated as one of the top 10 bartenders for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 American Bartender of the Year award and was named the 2014 Bartender of the Year by the Village Voice. She was named Food & Wine magazine's top 10 Rising Star Mixologists, is an inductee to the Dame Hall of Fame and was one of Wine Enthusiast magazine's 40 Under 40 in 2015. Her work has been featured in multiple publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Zagat, Glamour, Bloomberg and Esquire, and she features regularly on Food Network, Vh1, and NBC.
Reyes has been a contributor to the best lifestyle magazines in Mexico – Accent, Vuelo, Expansión, Life&Style, Chilango – while he carried out his role as Deputy Editor for Travel+Leisure Mexico for five years. He is the author of ¡Acá las Tortas!, a book about one of Mexico City's beloved street foods, as well as being a leading commentator on the city’s bar scene. Now, he is Creative Director at Paladar, a gastronomic marketing agency that creates events and experiences around Latin America’s food and drink scene.
Academy Chair for: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives
Blah is the founder of The Dram Attic, a spirits and cocktail platform highlighting key bars and talent across the globe. She has spent the last decade discovering the world of cocktails through extensive travel, chronicling the evolution of the drinks industry from both sides of the bar, paying particular attention to guest experience and creativity. She has worked in several aspects of the F&B business, from operations to creative as well as global sales of craft spirits.
Southeast Asia & Korea
Bygrave has worked in the drinks and bar industry for 20 years, as a bartender, a wine and spirits buyer, and today as a writer having spent eight years as editor of industry monthly Australian Bartender magazine. He has written for international publications Drinks International and The Spirits Business, among many others.
A freelance journalist and sommelier based in Argentina since 2006, Moseley-Williams writes about travel, food, wine and cocktails in Latin America. She contributes to Decanter, Monocle, Condé Nast Traveller and Traveler, American Way, Fodor's, Good Beer Hunting and Lugares in Spanish among others, and she penned Mil – the latest book from celebrated Peruvian chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León. She also created Dill & Tonic, a premium RTD cocktail line in Argentina.