Bars to Watch 2015: 51-100
In anticipation of next month’s World’s 50 Best Bars ceremony and in part responding to industry demand, we take a sneak peek at 100-51 in this year’s poll
100. Le Mary Celeste
One of three in the top 100 from Josh Fontaine, Adam Tsuou and Carina Soto Velasquez. This bright and cheerful bar offers daily-changing food and signature cocktails.
99. Barking Dog
Like a London pub, except one you’d want to drink cocktails in, Barking Dog offers uncompromised batched mixed drinksandflavoursomebrews.
Younger but bigger brother to Ruby, Rasmus Lomborg’s castle of indulgence has more bars than there are occasions to drink.
Sister to Candelaria and Le Mary Celeste, the yellow glow of Glass is honey to Paris’s bartending fraternity. No wonder, here there are boilermakers, hotdogs and mezcal.
96. Bar raval
A chorizo slice of warm, welcoming Spain in Canada, this curvaceous, Gaudi-styled tapas bar feeds the eye and the stomach. Sherry is abundant.
95. TIPPLING CLUB
This top 50 alumnus serves up unimpeachable Asian spins on classics and intriguing in-house creations. A classic of Singapore.
94. HONI HONI
Hong Kong, honihonibar.com
A bamboo shack in the high-rise of Hong Kong, Max Traverse’s homage to tiki has about the largest rum stash in Asia. Go here for fun cocktails but serious drinks.
With a penchant for all things herbal, Trench has been providing a medicinal, if boozy, retreat for Tokyo’s drinking upper classes since 2010.
92. SILVER DOLLAR
This elevated honky tonk is the place for bourbon in Louisville, where craft cocktails are in short supply. Silver Dollar changed that.
91. DEAR IRVING
New York, dearirving.com
New to NYC is Dear Irving, a cocktail parlour cut into quarters inspired by eras and people. Caps and drinks are doffed to Marie Antoinette, Abraham Lincoln, The Great Gatsby and JFK.
9O. THE LOBO PLANTATION
An Aussie expedition across Latin America, Lobo Plantation leaves few rum destinations unchartered. Rum flights and cocktails make for all but a rum do.
New Orleans, curenola.com
This pharmaceutically-inspired bastion is a panacea to New Orleans’ relentless revelry.
A cosy speakeasy in Ghent got our Academy’s vote as the best bar in Belgium. Cocktails have an eye for localism, with syrups homemade and ingredients seasonal.
87. BAR AGRICOLE
San Francisco, baragricole.com
With more than a frisson of hipster in the air, Bar Agricole explores this lesser-known rum style with a swagger. Other delectable cocktails are served, as is small-plate, big-ticket food.
86. TRAILER HAPPINESS
Sitting in London’s Portobello Road, this kitsch haven of tiki is the best place to wear flowery shirts and drink fruity cocktails in London. If rum is your thing, likely you’ve already been.
85. ZETTER TOWNHOUSE
Like the cluttered retiring quarters of an eccentric British lord, Zetter Townhouse matches Tony Conigliaro’s cocktails with supper bowls in London’s old distilling centre.
84. ASTRID & GASTON
Astrid & Gaston was placed 14th in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Its bar – all black boards, marble and smiling faces – is what greets you. Our voters are fans.
83. KEEFER BAR
An apothecary theme takes in tinctures, bitters, syrups and teas within this dark, long, narrow, bar. Cocktails and dim sum in China Town. This bar, to say the least, is eclectic.
82. CALLOOH CALLAY
This multi-level, ever-changing venue dropped out of the top 50 this year. London’s chameleon bar could yet climb back up the tree.
Three and four-piece cocktails made without pomp or pretention in an easy-drinking environment – California’s Prizefighter is about doing things simply and well.
8O. DUTCH KILLS
Dark, wooden rectangular panels enclose one of NYC’s favourite spots for serious drinking. With a tilt to brown spirits and classics, this bar has twice been among the top 50.
Its city’s first bar devoted to classic cocktails, Anvil boasts a 100-strong menu. In-house creations and beer taps are also available in this modern- industrial Houston haunt.
An orange-clad cocktail den that flirts with 60s style and has more than a penchant for rum. Joseph Akhavan’s Mabel is another sugarcane apostle’s promised land in Paris.
77. BABA AU RUM
Athens legend Thanos Prounarous’s ode to rum exudes fun and tropical frolics. Friendly and unpretentious, it is a must-see of the Athens bar scene.
76. BLIND PIG
Perched above Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House in London, this dark and brooding neo-classic speakeasy whirrs with Soho atmosphere.
75. PARE DE SUFRIR MEZCALERÍA
Dedicated to mezcal, Pare De Sufrir means ‘stop suffering’ and does exactly that for customers, until the next day.
74. SATAN’S WHISKERS
A London bar that sells drinks as banging as its hip-hop soundtrack, Satan’s Whiskers is a neighbourhood favourite of the sprawling hipster-ville that now includes Bethnal Green.
73. WILLIAMS & GRAHAM
Enter through the sliding bookshelf to find Sean Kenyon and Todd Colehour’s classic speakeasy – a 20th-century grotto thrumming with Mississippi blues.
72. MR FOGG’S RESIDENCE
A Mayfair museum of the great fictional Jules Verne explorer Phileas Fogg, it would take 80 days to circumnavigate this bar’s world of paraphernalia, let alone the menu.
71. LINJE TIO
Named after a tram line, Linje Tio at Tjoget is a restaurant bar (as is the way in Sweden) that balances rustic and urban in a southern European setting. They’re into their ice.
7O. LE SYNDICAT
Sullivan Doh and Romain Le Mouellic take French spirits lost to time, dust them down, funk them up and serve in an ultra-modern speakeasy setting.
69. DIRTY DICK
A tiki joint in a former girlie bar, Dirty Dick has tropical décor and a bounty of rum that makes ordering anything else virtual heresy. This is Polynesia in Paris.
68. LE CHAMBER
South Korea’s finest bar is Le Chamber, a luxury splash of chesterfields and chandeliers and enough scotch to make a Scotsman giddy.
67. SHERRY BUTT
First up, Sherry Butt is a homage to whisky, not sherry. With cocktails created by ECC alumni and more than 100 whisky choices, this is one of Paris’s best bars.
66. LOST LAKE
This flotsam-strewn wooden hut-bar is a nod to Don the Beachcomber and an oasis of Chicago. It comes from none other than the mind of tiki demigod Paul McGee.
65. THE PARLOUR
This bar-lounge has the kind of warmth that makes you feel at home. Drinks are less domesticated with creations presented with an eye to the extraordinary.
64. SHADY PINES
The swill-house sister of top 50 bar Baxter Inn, Shady Pines is a sort of Australian Wild West saloon affair, with monkey nuts, beer, taxidermy and raucousness never in short supply.
63. CHAINAYA.TEA & COCKTAILS
Roman Milostivy’s tea shop come speakeasy tucked into a cranny of Moscow’s Chinatown was a W50BB member from 2012-2014. It remains one of Moscow’s best craft bars.
62. DEATH & CO
New York, deathandcompany.com
At the vanguard of the classic cocktail revival, David Kaplan and Ravi DeRossi created Death & Co in 2007. Ranked fourth in the 2011 list, this is an industry classic.
Not only a residential bar but seemingly a resident’s living room bar. This homey lounge has a speakeasy base but is modified with some distinctly European flavour.
6O. SPEAK LOW
Speak Low is run by Japanese bartender Shingo Gokan and is one of a tsunami of new Shanghai bars. Prohibition-era bar culture has touched down in China, but this speakeasy does it best.
59. JIGGER & PONY
This modern speakeasy is named in reference to old recipes that called for jiggers and ponies. True to its name it delivers immaculate renditions of 19th-century favourites.
58. LITTLE QUARTER
Based at the American bistro, Marie Laveau, Little Quarter is a hub of cocktails and beer and the most loved Swedish bar among the Academy.
57. OPERATION DAGGER
A basement cocktail bar in Singapore’s Chinatown, Operation Dagger serves a stripped back menu in a scantly clad Scandi-esque space, lit by a nebula of bulbs.
The shock of the 2015 list is that previously ever-present Bramble is not on it. It remains a pillar of the bar community and nursery to so many of the world’s great bartenders.
55. HEMINGWAY BAR
A traditional leather-and-wood cocktail den, befitting of the great man. Attention is spared for absinthe, champagne and, of course, Hemingway’s favourite tipple, rum.
54. FLORERIA ATLANTICO
Buenos Aires, floreriaatlantico.com.ar
Themed on the immigrant drinking dens that sprung up in Buenos Aires during the 19th-century, Floreria is consistently our top-ranked bar from Buenos Aries.
San Francisco, abvsf.com
A laid-back, hair-down, neighbourhood bar that gives equal billing to its food and drinks. The cocktail menu is scaled back, pushing spirits to the fore.
52. CLOVER CLUB
New York, cloverclubny.com
Brooklyn’s neo-classic has made the top 50 five times – alas a casualty of 2015. Cocktails have historical leanings and hospitality led by Julie Reiner is traditional and warm.
51. STAR BAR GINZA
A paragon of bartending skill, Star Bar is to many the best bar in Tokyo. Come here for the figure-of-eight Infinity Shake and ice cut like sculptures