This week, The World’s 50 Best Bars raised a glass (or two) for its 10th Anniversary, celebrating with a special event in New York presented by elit™ Vodka. A one-off edition of #50BestTalks featuring visionary presentations by the world’s best bartenders was followed by a memorable after-party at Guastavino’s.
Catch up on the best moments from the events with these photo highlights.
1. Cocktail Hour with Mr Black… and Ryan Chetiyawardana
To inaugurate the birthday celebrations, The World’s 50 Best Bars opened with a special Cocktail Hour at Diego bar in Manhattan’s Public hotel, where award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana of Dandelyan (The World’s Best Bar 2018) shook up some fresh recipes. The menu included a special Black Russian Sour featuring Mr Black coffee liqueur and elit™ Vodka.
2. #50BestTalks: 10 Year Anniversary edition
Such a landmark occasion deserves a landmark event: a special edition of the #50BestTalks thought-leadership forum featuring bartenders from all the bars that topped the annual ranking of The World’s 50 Best Bars over its history. The six speakers looked back to 2009 and projected forward 10 years hence to better understand current trends and to celebrate the best in the bar industry.
3. Red carpet arrivals
4. Industry Icon
Julio Bermejo, who won the Industry Icon award at The World’s 50 Best Bars 2017, made sure he didn’t miss the celebrations, accompanied by his sister Elmy Bermejo. Bermejo’s bar, Tommy’s in San Francisco, is the city’s most iconic tequila bar.
Guastavino’s in Manhattan was home to the special 10th Anniversary edition of #50BestTalks and the cocktail party, featuring music and entertainment for the 250-plus bartenders, media and VIPs in attendance at the event.
6. Jim Meehan
“I hope we’ll continue to epitomise the values of our industry I’m most proud of: hospitality, generosity, hard work, ingenuity, comradery; and some new ones I’m excited to see more of: social progress, environmental consciousness and political action,” said Jim Meehan of PDT in New York.
7. Alex Kratena
“I suggest we give bartenders the information that will make them start to think,” said ex-Artesian head bartender Alex Kratena, who is soon to open his new venue Tayēr + Elementary in London. “We need to tell the young bartenders the why. We’ve been telling them for a very long time the what and how, but we need to show them the inner workings, why we do what we do.”
8. Declan McGurk
The renowned Bar Director of American Bar at the Savoy spoke about drawing in the customer, saying: “Engagement for me relates to menus. This is your opportunity to bring storytelling and engagement to the guest. Let’s remember about classics – the reason they are classics is because they’ve got a story behind them too. You do not get a lot of time with the guest, so maybe try turning the guest into the story teller.”
9. Jonathan Downey
“Too many bars and bartenders are neglecting the classics in favours of serving only their own creations. I think it’s self-absorbed, which is the opposite of hospitality. There needs to be more balance in what bartenders are doing, let’s spend more time working on how to serve a spectacular classic every time, as well as all the new stuff,” said Jonathan Downey, the founder of Milk & Honey bar in London.
10. Jillian Vose
“Balance in a bar is not just about the drinks,” said Jillian Vose, Beverage Director at New York’s The Dead Rabbit. “The balance in the bar makes or breaks the guest experience as a whole. The music, the lighting, the volume in the room, the cleanliness of the bathrooms, the cleanliness of the bartenders uniforms, how friendly they are, how people are welcomed, everything makes that balance.”
11. Ryan Chetiyawardana
Bartender and disruptor Ryan Chetiyawardana of Dandelyan (soon to be Lyaness) in London explored ideas around ‘creative sustainability’. “We don’t need to lose the wonderful things that we have,” he said. “At the heart of it, our industry is about making people happy, bringing people together and the wonderful ways food and drinks help them have a great time. But that doesn’t mean it can’t coexist with the idea of us doing things in a way that is conscientious. Trying to shake up these definitions is the way that we’re going to build this into a more balanced future.”
12. Dave Wondrich
Following the individual presentations, renowned drinks writer Dave Wondrich stepped onto the stage to moderate a panel discussion that took in topics such as empowerment in the workplace, dedication to good service, low and no-waste bar projects and diversity in the drinks industry.
13. Birthday party
Following the #50BestTalks, guests were surprised with a birthday cake featuring the New York skyline to celebrate the 10th birthday of The World’s 50 Best Bars, accompanied by a brass band for live entertainment.
14. Guest bartenders
Erik Lorincz (above, left) and Naren Young (above, right) were among the world-class bartenders shaking unique drinks for the guests, including Cuba Libre Royales with Matusalem and Campari Negronis.
15. Flame of Love
True to the spirit of The World’s 50 Best Bars, the 10th Anniversary presenting partner – elit™ Vodka – served a steaming ‘Flame of Love’ cocktail featuring elit™, fino sherry and orange peel.
Now watch the highlights video from The World’s 50 Best Bars 10th Anniversary:
With thanks to The World's 50 Best Bars partners for the 10th Anniversary: elit™ Vodka, Perrier, Nikka Whisky, Michter’s Distillery, Campari, Cherry Heering, Hennessy, Altos Tequila, Seedlip, Tanqueray, Asahi, Matusalem, The London Essence Co, the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS) and Mr Black.