50 Best bartenders reveal their hidden gem cocktail spots

50 Best Editorial - 18/09/2019

Local knowledge when it comes to bars is essential. Clinton Cawood asked some of The World’s 50 Best bartenders from all over the globe where they retreat to in their home cities on their night off

Mia Johansson, co-owner, Bar Swift, London, UK
Hidden gem: The Sun Tavern

“The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green is a true favourite of ours at Swift – a spot that’s buzzing with warmth and showcases Irish hospitality at its best. Order a great pint as well as a tipple of your choice. I tend to perch at the bar on a Sunday with a glass of wine and go through their extensive and ever-growing Irish whiskey selection. I go for one and stay for the night. Precisely as it should be in a good pub, it’s a home away from home."

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Vasilis Kyritsis, co-owner, The Clumsies, Athens, Greece
Hidden gem: Frater & Soror

“Frater & Soror is a neighbourhood bar located close to the centre of Athens, and is all about gin and tonics and fine dining. In the basement there are 15 seats where you can have a fine dining experience, while on the main floor you can enjoy gin and tonics, long drinks and refreshing aperitivos, with Greek fusion and high-end comfort food designed by Greek chef Dimos Balopoulos. The head bartender is Manolis Lykiardopoulos, a talented, multi-awarded Greek bartender.”

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Aki Wang, owner, Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, Taiwan
Hidden gem: ROOM by Le Kief

“Taipei has become one of the of great bar cities in Asia in recent years, growing faster than you could imagine. Nick and Seven, the owners of Le Kief, a bar behind a bespoke tailoring shop, have come up with something more exciting than just a speakeasy. Two years after opening Le Kief, ROOM by Le Kief is a new space that invites you to 'immerse in the room', the newest and most innovative drinking lab in town. Located right in the heart of Taipei city, this might be the best spot to start your night of bar hopping. Push through the simple black door and step into a secret tunnel, then enter into a spaceship-like space with a hand-painted marble wall – an interesting combination of kitchen, stage and art gallery. In the centre of the room you will find 'chefs' preparing intriguing drinks along with delicate canapés that are definitely worth trying.”

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Maxim Schulte, head bartender, American Bar at The Savoy, London, UK
Hidden gem: Satan’s Whiskers

“I have a bar that is close to my heart that isn’t well known in terms of The World’s 50 Best Bars, but industry people in the UK definitely know about it. Satan’s Whiskers in Bethnal Green is your classic neighbourhood bar with great atmosphere any day of the week. The team is just pure fun and skill, with possibly the most consistent, high-quality cocktails. They only do classics, but all to perfection. The food is delicious, too.”

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45/47 Daiquiri - light rum, strawberry, pineapple, pepper and lime. Also we have aircon. Just saying... 🍹🍓🍍

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Alfie Spears, GM and lead bartender, Trick Dog, San Francisco, USA
Hidden gem: The Double Standard

“After much thought I select The Double Standard, a bar from San Francisco's neighbour just across the bay, Oakland. The cocktail scene here in general could be seen as a hidden gem to be fair, but I love The Double Standard for a lot of the same reasons I love Trick Dog: fantastic bar staff, a pride in the neighbourhood in which they're situated, and they make a Martinez just how I like it. A lot of San Francisco bartenders live in Oakland and make the commute, and it's a wonderful reassurance that when we get back there's a place we can unwind, perhaps have good conversation, or maybe just do the crossword, but absolutely get an excellent cocktail.”

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José Luis León, bar manager, Licorería Limantour, Mexico City, Mexico
Hidden Gem: Baltra

“My favorite bar for sure is Baltra, because it's the perfect definition of a neighbourhood bar – the ambience is calm but cool, and it's really cosy too, while the drinks aren’t pretentious. I always drink Dry Martinis there. In my opinion, they make the best Martinis in the city.”

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Jesse Vida, head bartender, Atlas, Singapore
Hidden Gem: Shin Gi Tai

“Shin Gi Tai is a great hidden gem in a central area. I’d recommend getting the Negroni. The bartender Anthony makes it with such care. He uses a house blend of gins, resulting in the best Negroni I have ever had. There’s no menu, and the bartenders will carefully craft your order. The food is also tasty, but personally I stay for the chat and the Negronis.”

Hidetsugu Ueno, owner, Bar High Five, Tokyo, Japan
Hidden gem: Bar Mimi

“The place I always recommend to our international guests is Bar Mimi. The owner and bartender is Fumiyasu Mimitsuka, who first of all is a nice guy, and also speaks English well, which is unusual in Japan. And his bar is the closest to mine – less than a minute away.”

Zuzana Cerven, assistant floor manager, Manhattan, Singapore
Hidden Gem: Skai Bar

“My personal hidden gem in the city would be Skai Bar, which not only takes its cocktails to completely different heights, but also has friendly and knowledgeable staff. The bar is on the 70th floor of the Swissôtel The Stamford, once the tallest hotel in the world, but it’s not like other 'sky' bars. This one has hand-crafted cocktails inspired by mother nature and her contrasting altitudes. It’s a bar for chill seekers, that makes you easily forget that you are sitting in front of the best view of Singapore, with breath-taking sunsets. My favourite cocktail there is the Monkey Business, based on blended scotch whisky, spiced rum, crème de banane, lime, jackfruit, cinnamon and honey, clarified with milk.”

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Joel Söderbäck, founder, Linje Tio, Stockholm, Sweden
Hidden gem: Teaterbaren

"I love Teaterbaren in Stockholm. It's a small bar in a big restaurant named Riche, which is a classic spot in town. This small bar is their latest add on, with 20 seats, classic cocktails, a full food menu and great staff. It's not a stiff cocktail bar, but rather a great cocktail bar, with great food and a nice atmosphere."

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Vårt sommarvin 🌸Les cardounettes rosé, 59 kr/glas 🌸 #ekoligisktvin #sommarvin

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James Tamang, founder, The Old Man, Hong Kong, China
Hidden gem: Foxglove, Stockton

“Foxglove looks like an umbrella store from the outside, but once you enter you will experience a world of fantasy. The venue is so well designed that you might think you are in one of New York’s speakeasies, and there are live jazz bands on the weekends. Maestro Gerry Olino, one of the best in town, looks after the beverage program. Also, when you’re in Hong Kong you can’t miss Stockton. This classic rustic drinking hole has been a favourite in the city for many years. It’s not easy to find, and you might miss the entrance even if you’ve visited in the past, but when you find it, you find drinking heaven.”

Header image: Vasilis Kyritsis of The Clumsies; James Tamang of The Old Man; Jessie Vida of Atlas; Maxim Schulte of American Bar

The list of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019 will be revealed on Thursday, 3rd October, at an awards ceremony at the Roundhouse in London. Tune in to our Facebook page at 20:15 UK time to follow the countdown live. 

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