How we did it

The people behind Asia’s 50 Best Bars explain how the list is created

Asia’s 50 Best Bars is a ranking ‘by Asia, for Asia’. Not even the most intrepid of global bar hoppers knows Asian bars better than the people of Asia. So, unlike The World’s 50 Best Bars, which draws on the globetrotter’s perspective, Asia’s 50 Best Bars is what Asia thinks are its best bars.

We have put together a group of almost 200 Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy members, comprising the most knowledgeable and travelled members of the bar industry, drinks media and mixology experts from across Asia. Many of them, but not all, also vote in The World’s 50 Best Bars poll, which takes place at a separate time. The Asia Academy spans some 14 countries and dozens of cities across the continent, reflecting the relative development and importance of the bar scenes in different locations.

To qualify to vote, Academy members must travel regularly within Asia and must fall into one of the following:

High-level bartenders, who appreciate what makes a great bar and work in one

Bar consultants, who are behind the best new venues

Brand ambassadors, who travel more than anyone in the bar business

Drinks journalists, who are aware of trends, openings and industry developments

Well-travelled drinkers with a passion for great bars and cocktails to provide a well-informed consumer perspective

Each of the voters is asked to rank the seven best bars in Asia in their considered opinion. They must vote for bars they have visited in the previous 18 months, which are still open, and bars in which they have no financial interest. They can vote for any bar in the following Asian countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Macau and Hong Kong), East Timor, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

At least three of each member’s seven votes must be for bars outside of their country of work to maintain the pan-Asian emphasis of the list. As with The World’s 50 Best Bars, we choose not to define what a ‘best bar’ is – it’s subjective. So rather than influencing the vote with a list of criteria, we want uninfluenced opinions on what the best might be. The results reflect the diversity of the drinking scene in Asia: from cocktail bars in large hotels to backstreet speakeasies, to tiki places, whisky bars and venues that major on wine and beer.

The Academy voted for hundreds of bars in total. We simply took the 50 with the most votes and created a list which, if you haven’t seen already, can be found here.