Our Favorite Cocktail Destinations on the 2017 World’s 50 Best Bars List
Every year, over 500 members comprising of industry experts cast their votes to select the World’s 50 best bars. The awards for 2017 were announced Thursday, Oct 5 and the list was packed with many of the best bars, mixologists and cocktail programs around the globe. London dominated the top spots once again and had eight bars represented on the list, while New York came in second with top spots and seven bars represented on the list. Out of the 50 chosen worldwide, we have selected our fifteen favorites below. The full list of World’s 50 Best Bars 2017 can be found here.
American Bar at the Savoy (London)
Ranked Number 1 on the list, American Bar at the Savoy in London was named The World’s Best Bar. Even before winning the top award, American Bar was always an important establishment in the London cocktail scene. The bar has been open for 125 years and has seen a number of legendary bartenders pass through over the past century. Currently led by head mixologist Erik Lorincz, who has won multiple awards himself, American Bar’s latest creative cocktails have finally won the bar the world’s top award.
Ranked Number 2 on the list, Dandelyan at The Mondrial Hotel in London is one of the establishments opened by bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr. Lyan), a frequent winner of many bartender awards around the globe. Dandelyan’s menu is inspired by botany and attempts to deconstruct the essence of plants and brings flavors from exotic produce around the world. Ingredients such as pine nut vermouth, cedar sap and dry banana wine can be found in Dandelyan’s cocktails.
The NoMad Bar (New York)
Ranked Number 3 on the list, the opulent bar inside The NoMad Hotel in New York has been one of the essential cocktail destinations in the city since its opening in 2014. Headed by bartender Leo Robitschek, NoMad Bar takes the highest spot among bars in the United States. The bar serves serious cocktails but doesn’t take itself too seriously, evident by their popular large format cocktails. It doesn’t hurt that guests can order food from Daniel Humm.
The Dead Rabbit (New York)
Ranked Number 5 on the list, The Dead Rabbit in New York took home the top award last year, and this year it maintains its position in the top five. The bar is the brainchild of owners Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon from Belfast and is currently headed by bar manager Jillian Vose. The two-story bar houses a lively pub downstairs with one of the world’s best whiskey selection while the quieter Parlor upstairs features a seasonal cocktail menu in the guise of a graphic novel.
Ranked Number 7 on the list, Manhattan Bar at the Regent Singapore Hotel brings the golden age of New York City to Singapore with the grand décor and a menu that also acts as an American history lesson. The cocktails are inspired by historical eras, starting from the colonial times in 1520s. The bar also houses its own rickhouse where 106 barrels are aging various cocktails, liquors, and bitters.
Attaboy (New York)
Ranked Number 8 on the list, Attaboy took over the space of the old Milk and Honey in New York and lives up to the reputation of its predecessor. Just like Milk and Honey at Attaboy there is no written cocktail menu. Instead, the bartender will ask each guest for their favorite spirits and the tastes they like to concoct a special bespoke cocktail for each person.
Bar High Five (Tokyo)
Ranked Number 13 on the list, Bar High Five in Tokyo is owned by legendary Tokyo bartender Hidetsugu Ueno. There is no menu. The bartender will ask each guests who comes in a series of questions to gauge their taste and make drinks to suit their tastes – with each cocktail, they learn more about the guests and tailor the cocktails even better to each person’s palate. Of course, as Japanese bars as known for, each detail is impeccably prepared, from the liquors to the ice.
Ranked Number 15 on the list, this Singaporean bar stocks more than 1,000 gins from around the globe. It is possibly the world’s largest gin collection and it’s displayed in a towering “gin library” on the beautiful art deco bar. The cocktail menu is naturally gin-focused and the expertly made drinks showcases unusual spirits including gin dating back to 1910 served as a martini using vintage vermouth.
BlackTail (New York)
Ranked Number 32 on the list, this prohibition-era Cuban-themed bar in New York comes from the same team as The Dead Rabbit and it has mastered rum-based classic cocktails. Head bartender Jesse Vida serves up impeccable versions of daiquiris and rum and cola. This bar also took home the award for Best New American Bar this year.
Jerry Thomas Speakeasy (Rome)
Ranked Number 33 on the list, this speakeasy in Rome takes the spot as the best bar in Italy. The dimly lit bar is smoky and the staff is dressed in Prohibition-era attire while live music really brings back the ambiance of that time. Most importantly, the drinks are great – both those from Jerry Thomas’ recipes and the bar’s own experimental creations. You need a password to enter, and it can be obtained from the website the day of, which will list that day’s question. You’ll just have to find the answer.
Quinary (Hong Kong)
Ranked Number 40 on the list, this Hong Kong bar led by Diageo World Class 2015 Hong Kong champion Antonio Lai is a pioneer of molecular mixology in Asia. The leather stools belies the laboratory equipments behind the bar such as rotary evaporator and redistilling equipments used to create the sensory experiences that come with a cocktail here.
The Aviary (Chicago)
Ranked Number 41 on the list, The Aviary in Chicago comes from the Alinea Group, and just as Alinea brought a new kind of dinner theater with its experiential dinnerware and presentations, so did The Aviary to the cocktail bars. A drink at The Aviary might be served in their now-famous portholes, or encased in a pillow of aroma to enhance the drinking experience, or imprisoned in a sphere of ice.
Mace (New York)
Ranked Number 42 on the list, Mace was opened by veteran bartenders Greg Boehm (Boilermaker) and Nico de Soto (Experimental Cocktail club in Paris). This small New York bar takes their inspiration from the flavors of different spices. Each cocktail is listed on the menu under the name of the featured spice, yet the drinks are surprisingly well balanced and conjure up an unexpected combination of flavors.
Ranked Number 43 on the list, despite the unmarked door, this London bar has been popular since its opening. NightJar’s cocktail menu is divided into four sections spanning four different eras, ending with NightJar’s original signature drinks. In this last section imbibers can find the house infusions and syrups, often made with ingredients you’ve never heard of. 1920s jazz and swing music combined with the Instagram-worthy and delicious drinks make NightJar a great spot to spend an evening in Shoreditch.
Ranked number 47 on the list, Vijay Mudaliar’s Native is known for using foraged ingredients and spirits from Asia. The bar’s signature drink features ingredients such as coconut yogurt, a Thai rum, sugar cane, freeze-dried basil leaf, and ants. Vijay showcases Asian flavor profiles and is committed to having part of his ingredients from foraged sources to connect for his guests to the locale.