Connaught in London Named World’s Best Bar
The newest “World’s Best Bar” is Connaught in London, yet it will remain closed until at least Dec. 1. Source: The Connaught

Connaught in London Named World’s Best Bar

Connaught, London’s stylish hotel lounge, was named on Thursday the World’s Best Bar. It unseated Dante, in New York, which fell to No. 2 from the top spot last year.

The irony is that Connaught Bar cannot properly celebrate its victory until Dec. 1, as a new four-week coronavirus lockdown takes effect in the U.K. That brings up a question: How can you name a world’s best bar when the majority of them have been closed for most of the year? Dante, for its part, pivoted to canned cocktails during the pandemic.

Indeed, the list represents a virtual reshuffling of last year’s winners. Almost all the bars in the top 20 simply moved up or down a few spots, while the entire list, spread across 23 countries, features just 11 new entries.

Winners were announced online in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 5 after the original plans for an extravagant event in Singapore were canceled because of Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions. The second half of the list, Nos. 51 to 100, had already been released online. 

Organizer Mark Sansom says via telephone the decision to go ahead was made to give the industry a chance to “come together” and for guests to be assured that hospitality venues have worked hard to create safe and secure environments for them to visit after months of closures. “We were met with the overwhelming response that the industry needed something to talk about.”

“People are starting to go out again, and the message to consumers is that there are wonderful bars and they need to receive your support,” says Sansom, content editor for the World’s 50 Best Bars. “This isn’t a celebration, but a sober recognition for the bars that have managed to keep going in this difficult time.” 

“We’ve not let our love and passion for what we do for a living be darkened by what’s around us,” said Agostino Perrone, director of mixology at Connaught Bar, during a press conference following the ceremony. “It’s not an easy life. This year, all of us as a community went through a strange period we’re still going through.” But, he adds, “You always stand up—chin up.”

It’s a valuable industry. In the U.S. alone, alcohol sales at bars and other on-premise licensed establishments produced almost $80.5 billion annually in sales and accounted for more than 1.5 million jobs until the pandemic began, according to the trade association American Beverage Licensees. 

Connaught in London Named World’s Best Bar

“You can never take away that moment of sitting with friends and breaking bread or sharing a drink,” said Dante owner Linden Pride during a press conference after the ceremony. Pride opened a second location in Manhattan's West Village during the pandemic, which he says met with “much enthusiasm” from the local community. 

Stefano Catino of No. 11-ranked Maybe Sammy in Sydney, echoed the sentiment after winning the Art of Hospitality award. “People need to feel the love and attention,” he said of returning customers.

The World’s 50 Best Bars is owned and organized by William Reed Business Media, which also oversees the World’s Best Restaurants. The global restaurant awards have been postponed until 2021 after stirring opprobrium for having released Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants regional awards in March, as Covid-19 was spreading globally.

The best bars list is compiled from the votes of more than 540 experts around the world, including drinks writers, bartenders, and cocktail aficionados. The voting was based on visits made from January 2019 through March 2020, when most bars were shut in the pandemic. Normally, the voting period encompasses 18 months.

“It was definitely not easy for us and for the entire industry when we first went into lockdown. However, our team found ways to adapt to the situation and make the best out of what we had," said Indra Kantono, co-founder of ninth-ranked Jigger & Pony in Singapore. “The founding purpose of Jigger & Pony being a place in the community where people find comfort, forge friendship and share happiness has not changed.”

Sansom said only a single bar from the original Top 100, Le Sirenuse in Miami, had announced permanent closure and was removed from the list. The rest are either open or planning to reopen.

“This is not about our own ego and our own pleasure. It’s about being able to feel the happiness of the people we serve and live through that happiness,” said Renato “Tato” Giovannoni of Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires, winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award and reigning best bar in South America.

Connaught in London Named World’s Best Bar

** = first time on the list

1. Connaught Bar, London
2. Dante, New York
3. The Clumsies, Athens
4. Atlas, Singapore
5. Tayēr + Elementary, London **
6. Kwānt, London
7. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
8. Coa, Hong Kong
9. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
10. The SG Club, Tokyo
11. Maybe Sammy, Sydney
12. Attaboy, New York
13. The NoMad, New York
14. Manhattan, Singapore
15. The Old Man, Hong Kong
16. Katana Kitten, New York
17. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
18. Native, Singapore
19. Paradisco, Barcelona
20. American Bar, London
21. Carnaval, Lima


22. Salmón Gurú, Madrid
23.  Zuma, Dubai
24. Little Red Door, Paris
25. 1930, Milan
26. Two Schmucks, Barcelona **
27. El Copitas, St. Petersburg
28. Cantina OK!, Sydney **
29. Lyaness, London
30. Himkok, Oslo
31. Baba au Rhum, Athens
32. Panda & Sons, Edinburgh **
33. Swift, London
34. Three Sheets, London
35. The Bamboo Bar, Bangkok **
36. Tjoget, Stockholm
37. Buck & Breck, Berlin
38. Employees Only, New York
39. Bulletin Place, Sydney
40. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo **
41. Artesian, London
42. Sober Company, Shanghai
43. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei
44. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lampur **
45. Drink Kong, Rome **
46. Room by Le Kief, Taipei **
47. Alquimico, Cartagena **
48. High Five, Tokyo
49. Charles H, Seoul **
50. Presidente, Buenos Aires

51. Scout, London
52. Dr. Stravinsky, Barcelona
53. No Sleep Club, Singapore
54. Scarfes Bar, London
55. Danico, Paris
56. AHA Saloon, Taipei
57. Speak Low, Shanghai
58. The Old Man, Singapore
59. Hanky Panky, Mexico City
60. La Factoría, San Juan, Puerto Rico
61. The Pontiac, Hong Kong
62. Vesper, Bangkok
63. Donovan Bar, London
64. Tippling Club, Singapore
65. Schumann's, Munich
66. Siete Negronis, Santiago
67. Galaxy Bar, Dubai
68. Sub Astor, São Paulo
69. Sin & Tax, Johannesburg
70. Cafe La Trova, Miami
71. The Dead Rabbit, New York
72. Baltra Bar, Mexico City
73. The Everleigh, Melbourne
74. Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco
75. Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen, Cape Town

Connaught in London Named World’s Best Bar


76. Rabbit Hole, Bangkok
77. Trick Dog, San Francisco
78. Happiness Forgets, London
79. Le Syndicat, Paris
80. Byrdi, Melbourne
81. Bar Mood Taipei, Taipei
82. Kumiko, Chicago
83. The Wise King, Hong Kong
84. Above Board, Melbourne
85. Tres Monos, Buenos Aires
86. 28 HongKong Street, Singapore
87. Freni e Frizioni, Rome
88. Art of Duplicity, Cape Town

Connaught in London Named World’s Best Bar

89. Death & Co., New York
90. Officina Milano, Milan
91. Sidecar, New Delhi
92. Gibson, Singapore
93. Draft Land, Taipei
94. Amor y Amargo, New York
95. Gen Yamamoto, Tokyo
96. Electric Bing Sutt, Beirut
97. Lost & Found, Nicosia, Cyprus
98. Black Pearl, Melbourne
99. Bar Raval, Toronto
100. Bar Trench, Tokyo 

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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