The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 – A new voting structure for a brave new world

Mark Sansom - 21/08/2020

The organisation behind The World’s 50 Best Bars has made some wide-ranging changes to the Academy of voters that creates the annual list of ultimate cocktail destinations . With a 50/50 gender-balance across an increased number of overall panellists, as well as a far-expanded Academy Chair network, 50 Best will work increasingly closely with its experts on the ground in order to best serve local bar scenes as the drinks industry accelerates towards recovery 

As the hospitality world goes through one of the biggest periods of upheaval in its history, changes are likewise afoot at The World’s 50 Best Bars to reflect the evolving nature of the global cocktail scene.

This year, 50 Best is pleased to announce that its newly expanded 540-strong voting Academy demonstrates a 50/50 gender balance. With the onset of the global pandemic, 50 Best has also amended its rules to accommodate the lack of international travel in recent months. The period for which panellists were allowed to cast their votes ran from January 2019 to March 2020, around the point at which the majority of the world went into lockdown. Bar experiences enjoyed since March are not eligible for voting.

50 Best also confirms that it will be producing a list of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020, sponsored by Perrier. More information regarding the date and format of the reveal and details of a selection of pre-announced awards will drop on 10th September.

This year, as part of a drive to appoint representatives who are more closely tied to their region’s bar scene, 50 Best has assigned 20 Academy Chairs from 20 new geographic regions. This restructure includes Europe’s devolution into 10 voting areas, North America being split into five groups, a new panel in the Middle East and, for the first time, three Academy Chairs based in Africa.

Each Chair comes with serious cocktail credence. A mix of editors, educators and drinks experts with decades of experience between them, they have been selected for their local knowledge as well as their work as a progressive force in their region’s bar scene. Each Academy Chair has carefully chosen a group of anonymous local experts who represent the vanguard of cocktail culture in their respective areas. These comprise a blend of drinks writers, bartenders, bar owners and cocktail afficionados. Learn more about the Academy Chairs and the regions they represent here.

As the global bar community takes its first steps into what will be a very different operating environment, we hope that the revelation of this year’s list will provide positive impetus to the cocktail community as a whole. It’s a brave new world for us all, but if we continue to pull together, we will rebuild even stronger than before.

To stay up to date with news and videos from The World's 50 Best Bars, find us on Instagram at @50BestBars, follow us on Twitter at @50BestBars, like us on Facebook at and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Visit the Bar Recovery Hub for helpful resources and content for hospitality workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.