The highly anticipated list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023, sponsored by Perrier, was revealed at an electric awards ceremony held at Rosewood Hong Kong on Tuesday 18th July – the first full gathering of the Asian bar community since 2019.
This year, the biggest annual celebration of bars in the continent features 13 new entries and five re-entries, with venues spanning 11 territories and 17 cities. Explore the eighth edition of the list below and find out which venue has been crowned The Best Bar in Asia 2023, sponsored by Perrier
No.50 Penrose – NEW ENTRY
Embellishing Kuala Lumpur’s increasingly exciting cocktail tapestry, Penrose is the city’s latest drinkers’ delight. Opened in August 2022 and spearheaded by Jon Lee, this is an elevated bar that embodies the principles of functionalism, simplicity and modernity.
No.49 The Bellwood – NEW ENTRY
The Bellwood is Atsushi Suzuki’s homecoming project after six years in New York and Shanghai at Angel’s Share. With head bartender Yumi Yoshino-Cheng, he has fashioned a bar that references Japanese drinking history in decor and drinks, but remains a contemporary cocktail spot in presentation, hospitality and technique.
No.48 The Living Room – NEW ENTRY
Introduced in 2021 by award-winning restaurant Masque, The Living Room is a warmly lit, intimate cocktail bar nestled on the mezzanine level of the sophisticated space in a former cotton mill, seating no more than 12 guests.
No.47 The Old Man – RE-ENTRY
Hidden down an unassuming set of stairs in Hong Kong’s Soho, The Old Man pays homage to infamous scribe and imbiber Ernest Hemingway. The former Best Bar in Asia – a title it won 2019 – is still one of the best places to sip on innovative drinks in Hong Kong.
No.46 Soko – NEW ENTRY
An intimate and low-key establishment that perfectly fits into Seoul’s understated vibe, Soko draws inspiration from the drinking culture of the Roaring Twenties, combining influences from both the east and the west.
No.45 High Five – RE-ENTRY
After more than 15 years in business, High Five remains the go-to bar for exquisite takes on the classics. It’s still the best place to understand the essence of the Japanese style of bartending, and it’s also where you’ll find the best White Lady in town.
No.44 Bee's Knees
Bee’s Knees, in the city’s rollicking Kiyamachi district, offers gregarious hospitality and a roaring good time. The theme is prohibition-era speakeasy, with exposed brickwork, subdued lighting and, naturally, a decoy façade – in this case a bright yellow door with a sign for “The Book Store”.
No.43 The Public House – NEW ENTRY
Inspired by British pubs, The Public House was founded by William Wu, who previously worked at renowned Taipei bar Le Petite Chambre. Drinks, however, are far from those found at typical pubs – take for instance the Gin & Tonic elevated with hand-carved ice – along with a menu of classic and signature cocktails.
No.42 Native – RE-ENTRY
Comprising a restaurant on the first floor, cocktail bar on the second and fermentation lab on the third, Native has been guided by a sustainability-led philosophy through the years. The emphasis on local and regional ingredients translates into some of the city’s most unique drinks.
No.41 Vender – NEW ENTRY
Enter Summer Chen’s venue by inserting a coin into the vending machine at the entrance. Once inside, guests are greeted by a small welcoming portion of a Singapore Sling to nod to Chen’s past, plus cocktails featuring herbs and spices from Southeast Asia and vending machines selling bottled cocktails and beers.
No.40 Smoke & Bitters
Headed by Don Ranasinghe and Sameera Gayan, this is the cocktail bar and smokehouse that put this area of Sri Lanka on the global cocktail map. The drinks programme is committed to championing the region and all it has to offer by staying focused on local spirits and ingredients, with house-made syrups and tinctures at the forefront. Smoke & Bitters is voted The Best Bar in Sri Lanka 2023, sponsored by Mancino Vermouth.
No.39 Hope & Sesame
Among a grandmother’s parlour of eccentric collectables lies The Best Bar in Mainland China 2023, sponsored by Naked Malt, whose access alone requires a minimum century of MENSA points. Opening in 2016 as the first speakeasy in Guangzhou, it brings far-reaching techniques to a bar scene that previously stuck to the traditional.
Offering sprawling views of Bengaluru city by night, Copitas – located on the 21st floor of the Four Seasons Hotel – is the city’s cocktail mecca. Sarath Nair runs a tight ship with a lean team that churns out clean and delicious cocktails.
No.37 Southside Parlor – NEW ENTRY
This stalwart was one of South Korea’s earliest craft cocktail bars. Led by Texan Phil Abowd, the venue is reminiscent of an upscale American sports bar, featuring an arcade game console, darts and big leather sofas, but serving up drinks far from what you’d expect at one such haunt.
No.36 Bar Trigona
With a menu focusing on indigenous and sustainable ingredients named Foraged Malaysia, Bar Trigona speaks to its setting beyond the gilded walls of its host Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Don’t miss the signature Trigona Old Fashioned, created with rye whisky, honey, amaro and bitters, at the venue named The Best Bar in Malaysia 2023, sponsored by Matusalem.
No.35 The Bombay Canteen – NEW ENTRY
An award-winning restaurant and bar located in the heart of Mumbai (as Bombay is officially called now), this iconic spot offers a unique selection of reimagined classics with local flavours at the heart of each drink, under the able guidance of Prantik Haldar.
No.34 The Curator – RE-ENTRY
This excellent hostelry – voted The Best Bar in The Philippines, sponsored by Scrappy's Bitters – is dedicated to two of the very finest things in life: caffeinated beverages and mixed drinks. A beautifully designed cocktail menu is filled with fun descriptions, a flavour map and, crucially, a credit for the bartender who invented them.
No.33 Mostly Harmless – NEW ENTRY
Venezuelan-born veteran bartender Ezra Star – who earned her stripes winning multiple awards bartending in the US – is the head and hands behind Mostly Harmless. The intimate bar is decorated in wall-to-ceiling white tiles, on which the staff write the guests’ names and the day’s cocktail menu in magic markers.
No.32 Stay Gold Flamingo – NEW ENTRY
Founded by Singaporean bartending talent Jerold Khoo and Bai JiaWei, Stay Gold Flamingo describes itself as a ‘third place’ for the community, offering two different experiences: chilled neighbourhood coffee shop Flamingo at the front, serving light bites, coffee and low abv cocktails; and cocktail bar Stay Gold at the back.
Hometown hero Antonio Lai – the man responsible for several of Hong Kong’s top drinking dens – launched Quinary in 2012, and since then the hyper-modern bar has collected countless accolades thanks to its modernist approach, with drinks engineered to stimulate the senses.
No.30 Employees Only
Tucked behind a fortune teller’s lair in popular Amoy Street, the Singapore outpost of Employees Only remains true to its roots as a semi-hidden gem, mirroring the reputation of its original and game-changing New York City mothership. Expect high-octane evenings with enough cocktails and shots to perfectly punctuate the madness.
No.29 Pantja – NEW ENTRY
Located in the business district of South Jakarta, Pantja is a haven for both culinary gourmets and cocktail aficionados. The restaurant and bar embodies the essence of its Sanskrit-derived name, meaning ‘five’, representing the team's unwavering focus on five key elements: food, drink, music, design and hospitality.
Locating this trendy spot inspired by the classic Lewis Carroll tale is an adventure in itself, involving white rabbit signs, a flight of stairs and a secret door at the back of a flower shop in Seoul’s Gangnam district. The cocktails will transport you to a wonderland all of their own.
Arriving at Parkview Square, you would be forgiven for thinking that Batman might make an appearance at any moment – such is the area’s resemblance to fictional Gotham. Entering Atlas, the comic strip likeness continues, as a sprawling room with triple-height ceilings draws focus to its expansive and iconic gin library, housed in an 8m tall tower.
The bar takes its name from Alexander Fleming’s discovery of the antibiotic penicillin and the white-tiled, borderline-scientific interior hammers home the identity. Local and upcycled ingredients take the limelight across its menu, as well as a range of organic ferments from the bar’s in-house climate-controlled fermentation enclosure.
No.25 Le Chamber
Step into Le Chamber’s library, push the magical book, and a hidden door slides open to reveal a handsome illuminated bar with sunken lounge chairs beneath glowing chandeliers. Live piano music provides a mellow soundtrack, while patrons suck down Whisky Sours and libations inspired by flavours from around the world – each with its own narrative.
No.24 28 HongKong Street
28 HongKong Street has become a landmark destination thanks to a fun, laid-back vibe and stellar cocktails from the creative team formed of operations manager Lukas Kaufmann, bartenders Gavin Teravasan and Tamaryn Cooper and general manager Chris Peart.
No.23 Lamp Bar
Lamp Bar is the biggest name in town, with international champion bartender Michito Kaneko at the helm. He can serve a sublime classic, but the real fun is in his ingenious original creations like Colorless, where he strips a whisky of its tannins and pairs it with a medley of other almost-clear liquids.
No.22 Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar – NEW ENTRY
Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar was arguably the most anticipated new venue in Bangkok in 2022 and is now the winner of the London Essence Best New Opening Award. With the theme ‘Resourceful Cocktails’, the current drinks menu takes inspiration from selected ingredients used in every possible way.
When Manhattan opened in 2014, it set about the task of conjuring up an image of Golden Age of cocktails and combining it with a service ethos that puts the guest experience first. Hued with warm tones, the bar’s grand lounge melds Old World glamour with luxe contemporary comfort via velvet armchairs, rich drapery and mahogany tables.
No.20 Virtù – NEW ENTRY
In a city of predominantly small bars and restrained decor, the Four Seasons Otemachi goes full throttle in the other direction with Virtù: a towering, opulent destination where the cocktails are as decadent as the caviar-and-burrata bar snack, as well as the winner of the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award 2023.
No.19 The Cocktail Club
Found in the bustling Senopati neighbourhood, this bar is led by a veteran team including Indonesian cocktail stalwart Kiki Moka. He created a tantalising drinks list that features local ingredients and brings new flavour combinations to the table, earning the bar the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award 2023 as well as the title of The Best Bar in Indonesia 2023.
Bar legend Yangdup Lama and business partner Minakshi Singh’s bar Sidecar has become somewhat of a household name in the country, becoming The Best Bar in India 2023, sponsored by Amaro Lucano. Spread over two floors, it is, to all intents and purposes, a classical all-day venue, with a noteworthy selection of signature cocktails, odes to classics and beautiful iterations of their namesake.
No.17 The Aubrey
A collaboration between the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Hong Kong F&B group Maximal Concepts, The Aubrey is an eccentric Japanese izakaya boasting expansive views of Victoria Harbour from the hotel’s 25th floor, serving up excellently crafted Japanese libations.
Do you ever wish you were alive during a different time, when legends were born and made? Well, hop on over to Republic at the Ritz-Carlton for a journey into the swinging 1960s. This is manifested in liquid history through the menu: the Andy Warhol-inspired Velvet Underground delivers a symphonious and colourful ensemble of whiskey, cherry, banana and bitters.
No.15 Analogue Initiative
The sophomore effort by Vijay Mudaliar pushes the limits with similar principles as his first bar, the multi-award-winning Native. Sustainability is at the forefront, from the massive undulating aquamarine bar counter (3D printed from 1,600kgs of recycled plastic bottles) to completely unique recycled coasters, earning it the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2023.
No.14 The SG Club
International superstar bartender Shingo Gokan finally opened a bar in his hometown in 2019. The SG Club features a fusion of Japanese and American bartending styles and incorporates unsung flavour combinations using ingredients from all over the world.
No.13 Cham Bar
Tucked away in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Seoul, Cham Bar is set in a hanok, or a traditional Korean house, which hints at what is to come. Helmed by Lim “BJ” Byung-jin, it offers cocktails based on Korean spirits, melding local flavours with modern techniques.
European-inspired Vesper is serious about cocktails. This Bangkok bar, accented by leather furnishings and forest green counters, has continued to evolve under new bar manager and British transplant Tom Hearn. His first menu, People of Vesper, honours the roster of guests who have frequented the bar in the years prior to his arrival.
No.11 Indulge Experimental Bistro
Aki Wang’s bar has an international feel, but the details are an ode to Taiwan’s produce and heritage. The cocktails, mixed by head bartenders Grace Tsai and Ellen Su, are theatrical and focus on the island’s tea-growing heritage, brimming with imagination yet never out of step with its location: a successful combination for The Best Bar in Taiwan 2023, sponsored by Bareksten.
No.10 Sago House
Born during the 2020 lockdown in Singapore, Sago House was set up by three industry veterans – Desiree Jane Silva, Jay Gray and Abhishek C George – as a true labour of love. The menu at Sago House always features six classic styles of cocktails, but the actual drinks will vary on a weekly basis according to ingredients available in local markets. Its distinctive, warm service style earned it the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2023.
Housed in the glamorous Rosewood Hong Kong hotel, Darkside takes its name from the colloquial moniker for the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, where the Rosewood is located. Taking inspiration from all things dark, it focuses on dark spirits, cigars and chocolate which, when combined with the live music, makes for an altogether elegant experience.
This groundbreaking bar is named after Argo – the ship that sailed Jason and the Argonauts to the Golden Fleece in the Greek mythology. It provides a taste of the future of drinking and poses the question: ‘What will we be sipping on when ingredients run out or demand for spirits can’t be met?’
No.7 Nutmeg & Clove
The DNA of this bar is Singapore in essence – it’s as simple as that. The team, helmed by bar manager Shelley Tai and head bartender Sim Sze Wei, is proud of the country's heritage and history and strives to reinterpret Singaporean and Asian flavours into progressive cocktails.
No.6 Tropic City
Founded by hirsute bar-sector veterans Sebastian De La Cruz and Philip Stefanescu, Tropic City is a neon-lit oasis within Bangkok’s up-and-coming Charoenkrung neighbourhood. This vibrant spot reinterprets ‘tropical’ in its widest sense, with inspiration coming from Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and even the South Pacific, and a strong focus on rum.
Sustainability-forward Zest is a culmination of all things Korean, from ingredients to its minimalist decor that features a bar with no bottles on display, but a prep lab for the cocktail curious to observe. Minimal waste is the name of the game and each ingredient is utilised to the nth degree. Rising a staggering 43 positions from last year’s ranking, Zest is the winner of the Nikka Highest Climber Award, as well as The Best Bar in Korea 2023.
No.4 Bar Benfiddich
Hiroyasu Kayama – named Roku Industry Icon 2023 – isn’t the only bartender in Japan to advertise farm-to-bar cocktails, but he is the only one with a farm the size of a football pitch to play with. The windowless room has absinthe fountains and wormwood sprigs hanging from bare cedar beams, jars of mysterious infusions on the shelf, and a bartender that might be using his farm-distilled absinthe with marc, calvados and creme de cacao for a brilliant sort-of-a-Sazerac. This is also The Best Bar in Japan 2023, sponsored by Torres Brandy.
No.3 BKK Social Club
Inspired by the parallels of Buenos Aires and Bangkok, The Best Bar in Thailand 2023, sponsored by Tia Maria, is located in the Four Seasons at Chao Phraya River and helmed by industry veteran Philip Bischoff. The focus here is on glitz, glamour and good times, set in garden-like surrounds in which plants tumble from chandeliers and semi-outdoor courtyards provide a space to enjoy a cigar.
No.2 Jigger & Pony
The Best Bar in Singapore 2023 has come a long way from its origins on Amoy Street to its sumptuous digs at the Amara Hotel, even winning the Rémy Martin Legend of the List Award 2023. Months of research went into creating the latest ‘magazine’ menu, whose three-part cocktail list is entitled Identity – designed to represent not only the drinks but also the ethos of the place and the values they look to convey.
Named after the machete-like tool used for harvesting agave, the plant from which both mezcal and tequila are distilled, Coa pays homage to both spirits, offering the city’s largest agave collection, clocking in at a cool 200 bottles.
After debuting with the Highest New Entry Award in 2019 and following with Coa’s owner-bartender Jay Khan winning the Bartenders’ Bartender Award in 2020, it’s been apparent since day one that this bar had something special. This year, it accomplishes a feat unmatched in the history of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, becoming the first-ever venue to be thrice-awarded the coveted No.1 position, clinching The Best Bar in Asia trophy, sponsored by Perrier, once again.
Now recap the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 with the video:
The list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023, sponsored by Perrier, was announced on Tuesday, 18th July at a live awards ceremony at Rosewood Hong Kong. To stay up to date with all news and announcements, browse the website and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.