The list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023, sponsored by Perrier, was announced at a live awards ceremony tonight in Hong Kong. The ceremony, hosted in collaboration with 50 Best’s destination partner Hong Kong Tourism Board, was the first full-scale gathering of the bar community in Asia since 2019. The highly-anticipated countdown featured bars from 17 cities across Asia and culminated in Coa in Hong Kong being named The Best Bar in Asia for the third consecutive year.
Coa, Hong Kong, has achieved the remarkable feat of holding onto the No.1 spot for three consecutive years while also being awarded The Best Bar in Asia and The Best Bar in Hong Kong, sponsored by Perrier. Established in 2017 by bartender-owner Jay Khan, the bar takes its name from the agave harvesting tool and showcases a vast collection of over 200 bottles of tequila, mezcal, and other handcrafted Mexican spirits like raicilla, bacanora, sotol, and charanda. Khan, an industry veteran with over 15 years of experience, was voted Bartenders’ Bartender at Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020. Coa made its debut on the list in 2019, securing the Highest New Entry Award at No.12 and has been steadily rising in popularity to claim the coveted top spot which it has been holding onto steadfastly.
At No.2 is Jigger & Pony, Singapore, which is also The Best Bar in Singapore for the third year running. This year, it has also been crowned the Rémy Martin Legend of the List. Climbing up seven spots to No.3 is BKK Social Club, which is named The Best Bar in Thailand. Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich comes in at No.4, moving up a spot from last year’s No.5 and taking the title of The Best Bar in Japan. A meteoric rise of 43 spots puts Seoul’s Zest at No.5, and with this, it wins both the Nikka Highest Climber Award and The Best Bar in Korea.
Mark Sansom, Content Director for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “We are overjoyed to be in Hong Kong to celebrate Asia’s vibrant bar community for 50 Best’s first-ever event in this brilliant city for eating and drinking. Asia’s bars continue to push the envelope when it comes to fabulous drinking experiences and that is evident from the talent and creativity on display at the bars on this year’s list from 17 cities across the continent. Congratulations yet again to Jay Khan and the team at Coa for holding onto its top position — the first bar in Asia to take the No.1 spot for three years in a row.
The Best Bar in Indonesia
Indonesia counts two spots on the list led by Jakarta’s The Cocktail Club at No.19, which is both The Best Bar in Indonesia and the winner of the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award. Pantja, also from Jakarta, with its farm-to-table cocktail list, comes in at No.29 as a new entrant.
Kuala Lumpur’s Bar Trigona leads Malaysia’s showing at No.36, taking home The Best Bar in Malaysia title. Rounding off the list at No.50 is Penrose, Kuala Lumpur. The intimate, 25-seater drinking den is a new entrant to the ranking. Smoke & Bitters from Hirikiteya is Sri Lanka’s sole representative on the list climbing two spots to No.40, while being crowned The Best Bar in Sri Lanka. Re-entering the list is Manila’s The Curator at No. 34, which is also The Best Bar in The Philippines.
A total of 12 bars made the list this year from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Holding on to the No.1 position is Coa, which also wins The Best Bar in Asia, sponsored by Perrier, and The Best Bar in Hong Kong. Other ranked bars from Hong Kong are Argo and Darkside at No.8 and No.9 respectively and The Aubrey at No.17, which has moved up an impressive 21 spots from 2022’s No.38. Penicillin sits at No.26 and Quinary is at No.31. At No.33 is the omakase cocktail bar Mostly Harmless which is a new entry on the list. Hong Kong’s stalwart cocktail bar The Old Man re-enters the 50 Best rankings at No.47. Taipei’s Indulge Experimental Bistro is at No.11 and is also named The Best Bar in Taiwan. Breaking into the top 50 rankings is The Public House, Taipei at No.43 and rounding off Taiwan’s three bars on the list is Taichung’s Vender coming in at No.41.
Singapore commands 11 spots on the list, led by Jigger & Pony at No.2. For its consistently elevated classic cocktails served in a convivial setting, it has been named The Best Bar in Singapore for the third consecutive year. Founded by bar veteran and former Roku Industry Icon winner Colin Chia, Nutmeg & Clove makes an impressive leap of 29 spots up to No.7. Sago House comes in at No.10, climbing up 21 spots from last year’s No.31 and also clinches the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award for its unparalleled service experience. Analogue Initiative at No.15 is another high climber with a meteoric 22-spot jump, as is 28 HongKong Street at No. 24 which has moved up 25 places from last year’s No.49. Manhattan comes in at No. 21, Atlas is at No.27 and Employees Only re-enters the list at No.30. Stay Gold Flamingo from industry titans Jerrold Khoo and Bai JiaWei is Singapore’s only new entrant to the rankings at No.32, while Native re-enters at No.42.
Japan secures seven spots in 2023’s list led by Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich which moves up one position to No.4 and is also named The Best Bar in Japan. The venue’s bartender-owner Hiroyasu Kayama has also been named the Roku Industry Icon 2023. The SG Club climbs 7 spots up to No.14 and coming in at No.20 is new entrant Virtù, which is also this year’s Disaronno Highest New Entry. Nara’s Lamp Bar is at No.23 and Kyoto’s Bee’s Knees is at No.44, while Tokyo’s High Five re-enters the list at No.45. Rounding off Japan’s showing is The Bellwood at No.49.
The Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu goes to The Cocktail Club in Jakarta. Its vast and extensive menu is anchored with creative riffs on the classics and heavily features local ingredients (fermented cempedak, curry leaves, and red rice to name a few) inventive techniques (house-barrel aged whiskey) and unique flavour combinations, all enjoyed in a setting where art deco meets lush Indonesian warmth.
Night Hawk (No.73 on the 51-100 list) in Singapore has been named the Campari One To Watch Award, hand-picked by the organizers of Asia’s 50 Best Bars as a venue with the potential to break into the 1-50 list in the future. Singapore bar veteran Peter Chua’s walk-ins-only, 22-seater watering hole offers a spot for mixology enthusiasts to appreciate potent libations, engage in cocktail conversations at the counter seats, and indulge in intimate, heady escapism.
Hiroyasu Kayama, the bartender-owner of Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich, is crowned the Roku Industry Icon. Kayama is a farm-to-bar cocktail champion and forestry enthusiast whose establishment exudes a medieval apothecary vibe. An inspiring force and a true master of his craft, he pioneers ethical farming and in-house distillation to bring creativity to his drinks.
The Rémy Martin Legend of the List has been awarded to Singapore’s Jigger & Pony (No.2), an award given to a bar that has performed most consistently in the rankings since the list’s 2016 inception. They debuted on the list at No.8 and landed the coveted No.1 spot in 2020 and have steadfastly ranked No.2 for the past three years.
Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, Bangkok, has been awarded London Essence Best New Opening and enters the list at No.22. The stylish new drinking den led by Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn impresses with its cocktail list that honors every part of the ingredient to create its drinks.
The Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award is won by Analogue (No.15) in Singapore. It marks a deserving win for this three-year-old bar that puts sustainability at the fore, right from a bar counter 3D printed from recycled plastic bottles, upcycled coasters and tabletops, and plant-based menus featuring low-impact ingredients and base spirits with reduced carbon footprints.
Making its debut on the list at No.20 is Virtù, which wins the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award. The cocktail and cognac lounge at the Four Seasons Otemachi has impressed drink enthusiasts with a cocktail list that marries French aperitifs and liqueurs with Japanese shochu and whisky.
Ascending a remarkable 43 spots from last year’s list, Zest at No.5 wins the Nikka Highest Climber Award as well as The Best Bar in Korea. The sustainability-driven bar is steadfast on its low-waste principles while also paying homage to Korean aesthetics and locally sourced ingredients and flavours.
Pre-announced special award winners that accepted their accolades at the live ceremony include Sago House in Singapore, winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, and Beckaly Franks from Hong Kong, winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award.