Following the announcement of the 51-100 list for 2019, the 11th edition of The World’s 50 Best Bars was unveiled at an awards ceremony at London’s Roundhouse on October 3, 2019, in front the planet’s leading bartenders, industry VIPs and media. Featuring 15 new entries and two re-entries, as well as bars from 22 countries from Japan to Argentina, the list provides the ultimate bucket list for the discerning drinker.
Discover which bar earned the title of The World’s Best Bar 2019, sponsored by Perrier; explore all the bars in the list in 50 cocktail photos and click through to read the full profiles on The World’s 50 Best Bars website.
New York, USA
The measure of a bar is the experience of its customers – in hospitality, drinks and food Dante has the fundamentals down to a fine art, earning the deserved title of The World's Best Bar 2019, sponsored by Perrier. There is a whole list of Negronis to make your way through, but that’s OK because Dante is an all-day restaurant-bar. The Garibaldi too is a must-order. Made with Campari and ‘fluffy’ orange juice, it has brought this once-dusty drink back to life.
No matter the workings of the cocktail world around it, the Connaught Bar stays true to its principles – artful drinks and graceful service in a stylish setting. Under the watchful gaze of Ago Perrone, the hotel’s director of mixology, the bar moves forward with an effortless glide. Last year marked 10 years since designer David Collins unveiled the bar’s elegant Cubist interior and in celebration it launched its own gin, crafted in the building by none other than Perrone himself.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
One imagines Florería Atlántico must have had some surprised visitors in its time, entered as it is through the nondescript door of a florist, but this is an ‘everyone’s welcome’ sort of speakeasy, attracting a wide-ranging Buenos Aires crowd to the old docks of the Argentinian capital. Indeed, Florería Atlántico’s whole premise is to celebrate the good and the great of Argentina, a country the produce of which is rich and varied, born out of diverse climates and centuries of immigration.
4. The NoMad
New York, USA
The eponymous bar of the mid-town Manhattan NoMad hotel now has an established footing at the elite end of the cocktail world. Unlike many international hotel bars, which feel right for a lounging, daytime drink, the NoMad is best as an intimate, nocturnal experience. Under the stewardship of bar director Leo Robitschek, classic cocktails are made with a meticulous attention to detail, but the house mixes – not least the sharing cocktails – reveal the NoMad’s true panache.
5. American Bar
The American Bar is so many things – a venerable institution of nearly 130 years, the bar of legendary bartenders, the home of countless classics, the 2017 World’s Best Bar, and the 2019 Legend of the List, sponsored by Asahi. With day-night appeal and a customer age range of 18-100, head bartender Maxim Schulte’s drinks tend to not riff too far from the classics, covering the bases. Tend, but not always. The Electric Lover is a liquid ode to Prince’s Purple Rain with purple glitter running through it. And there you have it: a truly classic bar with flashes of eccentricity.
6. The Clumsies
Whether for the high-class cocktails, homely food, open-armed Greek hospitality or charming ambience, The Clumsies is a place in which everyone feels at home. Set in a townhouse in downtown Athens, The Clumsies freely flows through the ground floor, from the statement bar at the front to the quieter back room and terrace where you’ll find a wide staircase that climbs to a private bar and billiard table.
New York, USA
Chiselling the bar experience back to its key elements – the vibe, the drinks, the service – and perfecting them is Attaboy. That’s the reason this place is still heaving six years on from its opening – simply great drinks and great times. Cocktails at Attaboy are bespoke, but tend to have classical foundations and there are some house specials to try too. Sam Ross (the co-owner along with Michael McIlroy) is the inventor of two modern classics: the Penicillin and the Paper Plane, both whisky drinks, equally exalted.
Driving up to Parkview Square you would be forgiven for thinking that Batman might make an appearance at any moment, but what you’ll find inside has other super powers. Or rather a super collection (one of the best gin libraries in the world, in fact) with more than 1,300 different labels on offer. Since Atlas opened two years ago, it has made waves with its specialist angle as well as the breathtaking room the bottles are all housed in.
9. The Old Man
Hong Kong, China
Inspired by one of the most famous drinkers in history, The Old Man pays homage to writer Ernest Hemingway in a big way. Each drink is named after one of his famous texts, using novel ingredients in a most creative fashion, with culinary influences as well. The tiny space means you get involved in your neighbours’ conversations, something heartily encouraged by bar owners Agung Prabowo, Roman Ghale and James Tamang.
Mexico City, Mexico
This Mexico City hotspot is a true leader in South American bar culture. Owner Benjamin Padron Novoa continues to work alongside industry-renowned bartenders José Luis León and Ricardo Nava to deliver a balanced blend of party atmosphere and internationally respected drinks in Mexico City. The drinks look bright and energetic but carry big flavours with elegance and balance, while the service is without doubt a world-beater for this style of bar.
This seriously sexy space at the Regent Hotel in Singapore almost single-handedly made the city state’s hotel bars cool again. The low-lit New York vibe, stellar drinks based on classics and, above all, fantastic hospitality have put Manhattan repeatedly at the top of several awards lists and in people’s minds. Manhattan also has the world’s first in-hotel rickhouse and an inspiring ingredients room, which also houses an impressive collection of vintage American whiskies.
Native is no longer a new bar, but almost three years on, and founder Vijay Mudaliar and his passionate young team are forging and foraging ahead with their unique philosophy. This Asia-centric bar uses spirits and other ingredients sourced only from the Asian region. The concentrated approach also applies to the vessels, playlist, aprons and many more of its accoutrements. Don’t expect the classics here though – their drinks are strictly new creations, and delicious ones at that.
13. Carnaval (NEW ENTRY)
Two years ago the revolving door of Carnaval, the venue of bartender Aaron Diaz’s imagination for eight years, finally opened. He is not only the creative mind behind the trendiest bar in Lima, he is also the prophet of a gospel called “coctelería conceptual”. At Carnaval, the team practise this belief: an idea, a memory, a journey or a mistake in the bar becomes a unique cocktail.
14. Katana Kitten (NEW ENTRY)
New York, USA
If the frontline of service is a smile, Katana Kitten’s Masahiro Urushido is a grand master of the hospitality business. He has good reason to beam of late – just over a year after opening, his peers put his Japanese-inspired American dive bar among the best in the world. The message here is sharp-edged craftsmanship juxtaposed against playfulness, which is carried through in the relaxed, everyone-welcome vibe and cocktail menu, which is split into simple but perfected drinks in the form of highballs, cocktails and boilermakers.
15. Guilhotina (NEW ENTRY)
São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo’s Guilhotina is a place to lose your head, though not literally, assures bartender-owner Marcio Silva. A bar framed by peeling brick walls, high ceilings and piping and the original flooring – this is an unpretentious, informal setting where guests congregate around high stools, a porch and sidewalk tables. Behind the bar is a showpiece backdrop of modern shelving, accommodating plants, bottles and bar trinkets. Combined, they contribute to Sliva’s cocktail menu, which runs to 21 options.
16. Three Sheets
When the Venning brothers launched this east London hangout in 2016 on a tiny budget it would have been hard to imagine how popular and respected Three Sheets would become. The little venue takes simplicity to the next level – not just with its minimalist back bar and lack of virtually any ornament, but its menu too. With just three cocktail sections, hosting three drinks each based on strength and flavour, it’s easy for guests to navigate and find their desired cocktail more easily.
Himkok – Norwegian for moonshine – is spread over multiple levels. First up you are face to face with the tiny distillery that produces nearly 80% of all spirits used in the house. They are shaken up into drinks in the many microbars around the building. The ground floor is completed by an atmospheric cocktail bar and a courtyard focused on local ciders and beers. Upstairs you will find a barber shop and yet another bar serving cocktails on tap, fittingly called Taptails.
18. High Five
Now into its 11th year of operation, Bar High Five is a pilgrimage for cocktail aficionados. Fans come from afar to catch master Hidetsugu Ueno’s famous pompadour, the hard shake and taste his beautifully balanced classic cocktails, such as the White Lady or locally inspired creations such as the Full Blossom. His diamond ice carving skills are legendary too should you be so fortunate as to witness them.
19. Salmon Guru
When it opened in 2016, Salmon Guru turbocharged a rather dormant Madrid scene. It showed locals there was life beyond the Gin Fizz with imaginative, quirky drinks suited to an elegant, quirky bar – a space divided into three distinct areas, running the gamut from 1950s tropical to comics lounge and Shanghai bordello. Word soon spread and international visitors started flocking for drinks such as the mezcal-based Chipotle Chillón, served with a choice of homemade mint and ginger lemonades on the side.
Barcelona’s Paradiso isn’t a bar, it’s a Broadway show. From the moment you enter through the pastrami bar freezer door (speakeasy, yes, but Mediterranean style), to the moment you leave the bar’s Dali-esque interior, it’s all about having fun. So, while the cocktails aren’t the only things to entice the crowds, they certainly take centre stage at this busy El Born bar. Housed in vessels (if we can call them that) bespoke-made by local craftspeople, some cocktails change colour, others transition from sweet to bitter, there are those that are guillotined in half in front of you and others you can’t even find.
Indulge Experimental Bistro may seem relatively new to the global bar firmament but it is a firmly established favourite of Taipei, turning 10 this year. Aki Wang’s bar has an international feel but in the details is an ode to Taiwan’s produce and heritage, only viewed through the lens of modern mixology. The latest menu pivots around the interaction of five elements – metal, wood, water, fire and earth – and mankind.
22. The Dead Rabbit
New York, USA
An Irish bar for the modern age, Dead Rabbit is, conversely, a classic too. Now in its seventh year, the crowds still flock, feasting on the best Guinness in town and the venue’s famous Irish Coffee. If owners Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon’s intentions were to recreate Irish pub hospitality in New York, they were triumphant, but Dead Rabbit can go up the gears too. Climb the stairs to the Parlour and you’ll see why bar manager Jillian Vose is one of the most respected cocktail makers in the USA.
The narrow, almost innocuous front of Coupette is appropriately modest for the simple, clean interior of the bar. The Bethnal Green space may be small, but it’s created some of the most famous cocktails of recent years, such as the Champagne Piña Colada and Apples, which have made Coupette a true destination bar. Its focus on French spirits, particularly calvados, makes it one of the best specialist bars in the industry.
24. The SG Club (NEW ENTRY)
Shingo Gokan‘s (subtly) eponymous recent venture – and his first bar in his home country – is inspired by 1860, when the first Samurais visited the US. The bar imagines what those visitors would have encountered and brought back to Japan from their travels. The multiple levels provide several experiences depending on mood and personality, starting with Sip & Guzzle then climbing to a higher floor opened a few months ago.
25. Dr. Stravinsky (NEW ENTRY)
Inset against the grey, centuries-old stone buildings of El Born are the striking red doors of Dr Stravinsky. They open into a world of liquid wonder, the likes of which has not been seen before in Barcelona – and scarcely anywhere else. This is the domain of Antonio Naranjo, one of Spain’s foremost drinksmiths. Where most bars are backdropped by bottles, Naranjo displays jars and flasks of his liquid alchemy. This isn’t just de rigueur craft bartending the modern cocktail renaissance has become known for, it’s ground zero creation – almost all of the liquids used here are processed or produced on-premise.
26. Employees Only
New York, USA
The evergreen Employees Only, beloved by almost everyone who visits, is the only venue to have appeared on all 11 lists of The World’s 50 Best Bars. Over the years it has come to occupy a hallowed place in industry hearts, centrally because of its operators’ forensic understanding of how to deliver a fun bar experience. EO, as it’s known to devotees, does not try to be the place for avant-garde cocktails or out-there concepts. It does the simple, rich and tasty with a swagger, a smile, and often a shot of your favourite spirit.
27. El Copitas
St. Petersburg, Russia
When you hear about a small basement bar in the urban yard of St Petersburg you’d hardly be surprised, assuming this is just one of the many. However, El Copitas has travelled the world to bring a hearty piece of Mexico to your glass, with a twist of warm Russian hospitality. The bar takes the form of a small, intimate space, with guests invited to sit around a large table to enjoy their welcoming copita of tequila.
Now settled into its new site in Hackney, east London, Scout has continued where it left off in Old Street, leading the way in the use of sustainable and seasonal ingredients in cocktails. The bar is the brainchild of industry star Matt Whiley, but this year Rich Wood – his kindred spirit in terms of cocktail approach – has joined forces. Although the upstairs is reminiscent of the minimalist, straight-edged look we knew from its first incarnation, the space now has an art-focused basement bar, Gold Tooth.
29. Jigger & Pony (NEW ENTRY)
Jigger & Pony's clever design includes two bars: the mezzanine allows for guest bartenders without affecting normal service and gives a feeling of exclusivity, while the long communal table from Amoy Street, which encourages customers to interact with each other, did make its way over from the bar's previous location and holds pride of place right at the entrance. The new menu is actually a magazine and features 27 cocktails based on the classics but with fresh twists.
30. Operation Dagger
Once you find your way into this subterranean bar, you’ll be greeted with a light cloud, formed from a several hundred lightbulbs (one for each Eureka moment the team have had), bunker-chic decor and a whole lot of creativity. Founder (though recently moved on) Luke Whearty lived the bar mantra of “going down the road less travelled” by creating a menu with culinary-centric cocktails such as Goma-shio or Oyster Ice Cream. There are no spirit references on the menu so customers won’t have any preconceived notions of taste.
31. Baba au Rum
Celebrating a decade since it opened its doors in downtown Athens, Baba Au Rum is bar-world royalty. As the name suggests, this is a rum specialist, but one that does not confine itself to the usual tropical tiki trappings. Try The Modernist with rum, spices, citrus and rose blossom vermouth – a fine way to whet the palate. Elsewhere on the bar’s Avant Garde menu are cross-spirit cocktails to suit most tastes, but if rum is your course of travel, head straight to the Rum Society list for the bar’s refined spins on journeyed rum classics.
32. La Factoría
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Opened in 2013, La Factoría in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, shows no signs of slowing down. Through natural disasters and political turmoil, La Factoría endures as a beacon of hope in the hospitality community and beyond. This is the La Factoría way – incredible cocktails harnessing local flavours, some of the best hospitality on the island and an authentic atmosphere that seeps out of every crack of paint in the walls. An homage to Puerto Rico and its people.
33. Presidente (NEW ENTRY)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Housed in a period building in the cosmopolitan streets of Buenos Aires, Presidente is a glamour spot for nightlife fashionistas. With a glowing back-lit bar, high ceilings and original features throughout, the aesthetics are rich, but in drinks, atmosphere and service this place goes beyond the style bar, offering the full package. Though locally famed for its flamboyant cocktails and venerable collection of spirits, Presidente is equally adept at showcasing Argentina’s fare.
Munich has no shortage of places to get your libationary fix, but Schumann’s remains the number one port of call. On the Odeonsplatz, the bar is delicately poised in the middle of Munich’s historic centre, adding a definite sense of gentility and occasion to proceedings. Red leather stools are lined up along the long wooden bar, where guests can check out the menu of more than 60 drinks, largely aperitifs and American classic cocktails.
35. Speak Low
As you go up the stairs of this four-story building, you will find different concepts, each getting more serious and exclusive as you go. The first bar is fun, with a downtown New York vibe and serving drinks such as the Corpse Reviver No.2. The next level up (with a secret entrance) also ups the game by using Japanese ingredients (think wasabi, kinako and the like) with some rarer spirits including owner Shingo Gokan’s namesake cocktail, Speak Low. Last but not least is the exclusive members-only bar.
36. Little Red Door
Little Red Door is the flagship of the Bonomy Group, and of Paris, oriented to cater to the French capital’s discerning drinkers and the cocktail-curious international guest. The latest menu by Rory Shepherd and team, A Way With Words, is another cerebral exploration of the cocktail experience. Each cocktail is named after a foreign-language phrase that has no direct translation into English. Na’eeman, then – a feeling of self-freshness and purity in Arabic – is interpreted through a light and floral drink of fermented agave wine, apple verjus, mastiha soda and hops.
A multi-space venue since it opened, Tjoget houses a wine bodega, a beer café, a pan-Mediterranean restaurant and, of course, a cocktail bar. In tandem with the restaurant, the bar seeks inspiration in the flavours and fragrances of southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, reinterpreted through Scandinavian eyes – simple serves, pickles and ferments, changing with the seasons.
38. The Old Man (NEW ENTRY)
Sister venue to the original in Hong Kong, the Old Man Singapore may be significantly larger but it still maintains its charm and service level, even on those busy nights. Andrew Yap is head honcho here. This veteran of the Asian bar scene ensures that the original recipes are executed to a tee and provides the warm hospitality that guests have come to expect.
39. Lyaness (NEW ENTRY)
Under the microscope at Lyaness are everyday ingredients, with the debut menu unpicking the myriad flavours that the likes of pineapple, raspberry and banana can be bent to produce. To the unwitting drinker the menu appears simple, but there’s always complexity under the bonnet – the mad scientist facet of creator Ryan Chetiyawardana’s personality isn’t easily suppressed.
Once again this east London speakeasy has held its own among the big-budget heavyweights of the global bar industry. The underground space continues to be one of the most reliable hideouts for great drinks, with efficient service and fun, relaxed vibes. Owner Alastair Burgess insists Happiness Forgets is just a fun bar that serves great drinks, but there’s no doubt that he keeps standards right at the very top.
Swift continues to cement its position as one of London’s top independent bars through its ability to suit any occasion or customer the busy streets of Soho are likely to throw at it. Once the site of legendary industry bar Lab, the bright and airy upstairs offers fizz, oysters and lighter cocktails – try the Sgroppino, a refreshing mix of lemon sorbet, prosecco and Italicus. Downstairs hosts one of London’s widest ranges of world whiskies in a moody, refined environment – the best place to enjoy one of the capital’s finest Irish Coffees.
42. Trick Dog
San Francisco, USA
Trick Dog became a destination bar when it opened in 2013 in a once-quiet residential neighbourhood of San Francisco, now populated with other food and drink hot spots. The lure has always been the bar’s innovative cocktail menus that have ranged from a Dr Seuss-inspired rhyme book to a faux-Chinese restaurant menu to an instructional hippy survivalist catalogue.
43. Maybe Sammy (NEW ENTRY)
Maybe Sammy is one of the world’s best hotel bars — it just isn’t attached to a hotel. Owners Stefano Catino, Vince Lombardi and Andrea Gualdi have created a hostelry that ticks all the boxes of the world’s best: an inventive and delicious cocktail list, luxe surrounds and an attention to detail – not to mention great hospitality – that the genre is known for.
44. 1930 (NEW ENTRY)
Entering 1930 is like stepping back in time. Vintage furniture, candle-lit rooms and the best music of the Jazz Age. 1930 prides itself on making great classics but also evocative signature drinks. Led by bar manager Benjamin Cavagna, its drinks menu is inspired by the various parts of the world which have defined modern mixology. It changes continent every six months, with the theme in Autumn 2019 being Asia including music, decor and drinks inspired by the Orient.
45. Sober Company (NEW ENTRY)
Shingo Gokan does like his multi-storied buildings and this three-in-one ode to New York concept does not disappoint. The ground floor is Sober Cafe and Gokan’s way to introduce aperitivo culture to the market. The second floor is Sober Kitchen, which provides modern Chinese cuisine such as foie gras mapo tofu and black sesame crème brûlée. After dinner you can adjourn to Sober Society where enthusiasts enjoy refined cocktails such as the Godfather III, or the more complex Blue in Green.
46. Electric Bing Sutt (NEW ENTRY)
Combining two vastly diverse Asian cultures, Electric Bing Sutt is an unconventional and hip Asian/Middle Eastern all-day bar in Beirut. The cocktails are concocted using advanced culinary techniques, aromatic distillations and complex infusions. Specialities include drinks with an Asian twist, such as a popcorn and pandan-twisted Manhattan, a Thai Tom Yum Gong soup cocktail, a sake Aperol Spritz and even a Vermouth Tonic with numbing sichuan pepper.
47. Kwant (NEW ENTRY)
Tucked away under Moroccan restaurant Momo in a secluded alcove off London’s Regent Street is the last thing you’d expect to find – the new digs of globally acclaimed bartender Erik Lorincz. Tropical yes, North African too – Kwānt puts you bar-side with Humphrey Bogart in the 1940s classic Casablanca, just with better drinks and a bit more colour. The menu, though, is present day and Lorincz uncensored.
48. Artesian (RE-ENTRY)
After a spell on the sidelines, Artesian is on its way to being back to its best. The new leadership team of Remy Savage (ex-Little Red Door) and Anna Sebastian (ex-Beaufort Bar) were hired to resurrect this famous bar’s reputation and they’ve done just that, bringing energy and fresh ideas to transform the menu and atmosphere of the Langham Hotel’s flagship bar. The new Minimalist menu couldn’t be further from the old Artesian mould – theatrical, often bonkers serves – but is just as creative.
49. Coa (NEW ENTRY)
Hong Kong, China
Industry veteran Jay Khan has an affinity for all things agave and thus created this Oaxacan-inspired temple to all spirits derived from the spiky Mexican plant. If you’re wondering what Coa means, look no further than the implement, a sharp cutting tool used to harvest agave plants that he hand-carried back from Mexico. It takes pride of place above the bar. Khan and his staff exhibit a deep passion for and knowledge of small batch Mexican spirits, mezcal in particular.
50. Jerry Thomas Speakeasy (RE-ENTRY)
Jerry Thomas opened in 2010, making it the first secret bar in Italy. In the following years, the team at Jerry Thomas travelled the world to research and study, even coming up with their own gin and vermouth. Nine years later, under the bar stewardship of Federico Tomasselli, it has expanded its clientele to cocktail enthusiasts, tourists and locals, all looking to savour one of the refined classics, such as the Improved Aviation or House Martini, in the Roman speakeasy.
Now recap the whole list in our video:
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