Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have you chosen to bring the awards to North America?
Following the success of The World’s 50 Best Bars over the last 13 years, and the establishment of Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2016, 50 Best is launching North America’s 50 Best Bars to shine a much-deserved spotlight on the region as one of the world’s top drinking destinations and home to some of the world’s best bars.

The inaugural North America’s 50 Best Bars awards programme provides a unique opportunity to unite bartenders, bar owners, cocktail aficionados and drinks journalists in a celebration of the drinks, hospitality and talent of the region’s bars sector. By establishing North America’s 50 Best Bars, 50 Best aims to elevate the region’s bars scene even further to a global audience and show more recognition continent-wide of the outstanding venues in the North America region.

What are the criteria for ‘best’?
The ranking provides an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of 250 experts. What constitutes ‘best’ is up to each voter to decide – as everyone’s tastes are different, so is everyone’s idea of what constitutes a great bar experience. This is why we put so much onus on the calibre and selection of the voters. Of course, the quality of drinks is going to be central, as is the service – but the style of both, the surroundings, atmosphere and indeed the price level are each more or less important for each different individual. Bars do not have to fit a certain criterion.

Can bars apply to be on the list?
The inaugural ranking for North America’s 50 Best Bars will reflect the best bars experiences based on the votes of more than 220 voters, made up of anonymous bar experts across 7 regions. Members of the 50 Best organisation do not vote and do not control the composition of the list; that is the collective role of the voting Academy. This means that bars cannot apply to be on the list.

When is the voting period?
The voting period is July 2020 - March 2022. 

How is the Academy structured?
The Academy is divided into 7 regions: Canada East; Canada West; USA Northeast; USA Midwest; USA West; USA South; and Mexico and the Caribbean. Each region has its own panel of members including a chairperson, called the Academy Chair, selected for their experience and knowledge of the bar sector in their industry. The Chairs each then select a voting panel, ensuring a balanced selection.

How is voting carried out?
Voting is carried out individually and strictly confidentially on a secure site and remains confidential before the list announcement. Academy Chairs are not privy to, and have no knowledge of, the votes cast by the voters in their respective regions.

In 2022, each North America Academy member will vote for 7 bars, with a maximum of 5 in the home country where they are based. Voters also have the option to vote for a further 2 (or more) bars located outside of their home country (up to a maximum of 7) if they have been able to travel internationally during the voting period.

The list is a simple computation of votes by North American voters for bars in North America. All bars featured will be open, or intend to reopen, as of 7th June 2022, when the list is revealed.

What does it mean to be included on the North America’s 50 Best Bars ranking?
It provides recognition of the dedication, passion and skill of the teams behind those bars. It also helps promote those bars internationally to well-travelled discerning drinkers, boosting the bars’ profiles and business.

Who owns North America’s 50 Best Bars?
North America’s 50 Best Bars is owned and organised by William Reed, which also publishes The World’s 50 Best Bars annually since 2009 and Asia’s 50 Best Bars since 2016. The brand portfolio also includes The World's 50 Best Restaurants, launched in 2002; Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, both launched in 2013; and Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants, launched in 2021. William Reed is entirely responsible for the organisation of the awards, the voting system and the list.