Asia’s 50 Best Bars reveals 2021 editionBy Alice Liang
The 2021 list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars was announced over a virtual awards ceremony on 6 May. The sixth edition of the list features bars from 10 countries in Asia, with Coa from Hong Kong crowned The Best Bar in Asia.
The year, the 50 Best List includes bars from 10 Asian countries, including China (including Hong Kong), Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and India.
Ranking third in the last edition, Coa in Hong Kong climbed to the top position and becomes the Best Bar in Asia and The Best Bar in China this year. Launched in 2017 by bartender-owner Jay Khan, Coa houses an extensive collection of 200 handcrafted Latin American liquids including tequila, mezcal, raicilla, sotol and more. Khan is particularly well-versed in the category of agave spirits and the bar is also famous for handcraft cocktails.
Standing at second is Jigger & Pony, Singapore, which also wins The Best Bar in Singapore. This is the second time the establishment is named The Best Bar in Singapore after taking home The Best Bar in Asia title at last year’s ceremony. Coming in at No.3 is The SG Club, which wins The Best Bar in Japan title, while Taiwan’s Indulge Experimental Bistro maintains its No.4 spot on the list, taking up the title of The Best Bar in Taiwan. Sober Company in Shanghai, takes the No.5 spot.
Some of the other worth-mentioning awards include No Sleep Club (Singapore) getting the Highest New Entry Award; Caprice Bar (Hong Kong) and Sidecar (New Delhi) taking home the Highest Climber Award; The Diplomat (Hong Kong) named the Best New Opening Award; and Penicillin (Hong Kong) as the winner of Sustainable Bar Award.
Mark Sansom, content editor for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “we hope that the announcement of the 2021 ranking – as well as the publication, for the first time, of those ranked from 51 to 100 – will provide optimism and encouragement to all bars as travel routes gradually open up and guests begin to plan their next fine-drinking experiences.
“It is a well-deserved debut win for Coa and credit goes to Jay Khan and his team who have proven themselves to be at the heart of the continent’s cocktail culture. The bar serves a perfect blend of subtle agave education, relaxed vibes and a simply fantastic drinks list. This, combined with the great work they have been doing to support their community throughout the pandemic, makes Coa a bona fide No.1 this year.”
For 2022, 50 Best has confirmed its partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board to bring the Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards ceremony back to Singapore. Sansom said, “we look forward to holding a physical awards ceremony not only to celebrate and recognise the best in the business when the situation improves, but to bring together bartenders, bar owners, drinks writers and cocktail aficionados from around the world. We are hopeful that the ongoing vaccine roll-out will allow the bar community to take this opportunity to reunite in Singapore next year.”
The annual list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, an influential group of 220 leaders made up of bartenders, bar owners, drinks writers and cocktail aficionados.
In previous years, each Academy member voted for seven bars, with at least two of these from outside their home country. With travel restrictions in place throughout 2020, voters had limited travel opportunities. Consequently, this year voters nominated a total of five bars, including up to four from their home country.