Tips & News

These Are Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021

Mezcal evangelist Coa in Hong Kong is named best bar in Asia, Singapore has 12 in the top 50, and the rankings broaden to include Nos. 51 to 100 with cities like Saigon making the cut for the first time.

Atlas

By Christian Barker

May 7, 2021

PIONEERING TEQUILA EVANGELIST Tomas Estes, the Café Pacifico founder who sadly passed away just a week ago, will doubtless be smiling down from his barstool in Nirvana at the announcement that the best bar in Asia is the tequila- and mezcal-focused Coa in Hong Kong.

Mixologist Jay Khan’s Mexican-style establishment, which rose to the top spot of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars rankings from its position at third last year, was among nine Hong Kong bars feted on the 2021 list. Others included Quinary (No. 25, and winner of the Heering Legend of the List award for consistent excellence), The Diplomat (No. 20, a swanky year-old saloon that won London Essence Best New Opening), Penicillin (No. 30, and taking home the newly inaugurated Ketel One prize for Sustainable Bar — see our story on the trend here), and Caprice Bar at the Four Seasons, which was the only HK bar besides Coa to make the top 10.

It was Singapore, however, that emerged as indisputed cocktail capital city of Asia, with 12 bars in the top 50, four of which are in the top 10. Aki Eguchi’s artisanal approach to tending bar saw Jigger & Pony, last year’s No. 1, scooch over to second place on the podium this time around. Manhattan and Atlas Bar, both of which owe their elegant interiors to design savants Matthew Shang and Paul Semple, seized the sixth and seventh spots, respectively.

No Sleep Club, a coffee’n’cocktails concept that opened just a few months before the coronavirus crisis struck, overcame a challenging first year to romp in at an auspicious No. 8. Primogenitors of the Singapore cocktail scene Tippling Club (36) and 28HongKongStreet (21) were given a measure of the respect they’re rightly due, while relative newcomer MO Bar at the Mandarin Oriental (45) had its reputation for the warmest service in town recognized with the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award.

Bangkok, Tokyo and Taipei each had five bars featured in the top 50. In the Thai capital, equatorial chic ruled the day with the historic Bamboo Bar (11) and bombastic Tropic City (22) the city’s two highest-placed. In Tokyo, the jazzy SG Club (3) took the crown of Japan’s best bar, while apothecary-esque Bar Benfiddich (9) delivered a winning prescription, and High Five Bar (27) remained as strong as one of legendary bartender Hidetsugu Ueno’s martinis. Meanwhile, Taipei’s Indulge Experimental Bistro took a great leap forward indeed, from 43 last year to the No. 4 position in Asia. The city’s Mu Bar, which opened in the middle of the pandemic last year, brought home the Mancino Bartenders’ Bartender award for Bannie Kang, who uses flavors from her childhood as inspiration and encourages her staff to tell their stories in the same way.

This year, the awards broadened to honor bars outside the top 50, with the 51-100 list providing intel on outstanding nightspots in too-often-overlooked cities including Manila, Colombo, Saigon, Macau and Jakarta. So, start pouring through the list, and mark up your international mixology itinerary in anticipation of post-Covid revelry across the region.

Full list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021

1

COA
Hong Kong

2

Jigger & Pony
Singapore

5

Sober Company
Shanghai

6

Manhattan
Singapore

7

Atlas
Singapore

8

No Sleep Club
Singapore

9

Bar Benfiddich
Tokyo

10

Caprice Bar
Hong Kong

11. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok) 

12. Bar Trigona (Kuala Lumpur) 

13. Charles H (Seoul) 

14. Native (Singapore)

15. Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou) 

16. Sidecar (New Dehli)

17. Bar Mood (Taipei)

18. Bee’s Knees (Kyoto)

19. Room by Le Kief (Taipei) 

20. The Diplomat (Hong Kong)

21. 28 Hongkong Street (Singapore)

22. Tropic City (Bangkok)

23. Tell Camellia (Hong Kong)

24. Aha Saloon (Taipei)

25. Quinary (Hong Kong)

26. The Pontiac (Hong Kong)

27. High Five (Tokyo)

28. The Wise King (Hong Kong) 

29. Barbary Coast (Singapore)

30. Penicillin (Hong Kong)

31. Union Trading Company (Shanghai)

32. Speak Low (Shanghai)

33. Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar (Jakarta) 

34. Bar Cham (Seoul) 

35. Backstage Cocktail Bar (Bangkok)

36. Tippling Club (Singapore) 

37. Junglebird (Kuala Lumpur)

38. The Curator (Manila) 

39. D.Bespoke (Singapore)

40. Darkside (Hong Kong)

41. Alice (Seoul) 

42. The Old Man (Singapore)

43. Bar Trench (Tokyo)

44. Le Chamber (Seoul) 

45. MO Bar (Singapore) 

46. Vesper (Bangkok)

47. Three X Co (Kuala Lumpur)

48. Teens of Thailand (Bangkok) 

49. Sago House (Singapore)

50. Star Bar (Tokyo)

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