Every year, Drinks International ranks the top bars across the globe in its annual survey of The World’s 50 Best Bars Awards. The results of the 2016 edition have now been announced, and Asia has increased its representation from five last year to seven this year. In case you missed it, here are the seven bars in Asia that made the list.
Located inside the Regent Singapore hotel, Manhattan is a place of velvet armchairs and personalised cocktail-crafting service. As its name suggests, the bar puts a New York spin on the classic grand hotel bar concept, while the drinks are crafted using a variety of house-made ingredients and what is claimed to be the first in-hotel rickhouse (a warehouse for ageing bourbon).
28 Hongkong Street, Singapore
Don’t let the name fool you – this Singapore-based bar has been around for five years on the city’s Hongkong Street, located near Clarke Quay. The bar offers local, artisanal concoctions with unique twists, such as an Old Fashioned made with a rum base and Piña Colada accents. And while the bar itself remains relatively nondescript from the outside, the atmosphere and music within are undeniably lively.
Speak Low, Shanghai
Situated in Shanghai Huangpu district, a short distance east of its trendy Xintiandi area and a few minutes’ walk from the Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin, Speak Low is another trendy speakeasy-style joint. The bar is the brainchild of Japanese bartender Shingo Gokan and covers three floors each offering an increasingly relaxed, private and exclusive experience. Whisky lovers will enjoy the back room with Japanese whiskies and live piano music, reserved for members and invited guests.
579 Fu Xing Zhong Lu, Huangpu district, +86 21 6416 0133
Operation Dagger, Singapore
A barebones warehouse-meets-apothecary store, Operation Dagger is secreted away in a basement on the corner of Club Street and Ann Siang Hill, and about 15 minutes’ walk from the new OUE Downtown development, the soon-to-be location of a new Oakwood serviced residences. Cocktails here can be bizarre, from drinks made using salted egg and yolk liqueur, to natural wines prepared in sous vide baths with vanilla and curry leaf.
High Five, Tokyo
Located in the city’s Ginza district and situated a short distance from The Peninsula Tokyo, High Five is the place to go for Japanese whisky-based cocktails. First opened in 2008, the bar changed locations earlier this year and its current dimly lit setting offers a relaxed environment four floors up with views of the Ginza railway tracks.
Lobster Bar and Grill, Hong Kong
The Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong’s level six bar offers carefully crafted, familiar cocktails with an Asian flair. The menu of cocktails, artisanal spirits and fortified wines rotates regularly, but expect to see familiar mixes such as a Pisco Sour and Old Fashioned. Like the city it’s in, the establishment has a vibrant feel, with live jazz performances taking place six nights a week.
Quinary, Hong Kong
Bartender Antonio Lai helms this Hong Kong bar, located on Hollywood Road in the city’s popular Soho nightlife district. The bar offers creative drinks often with a molecular edge, so expect to see some unusual concoctions and elaborate cocktail crafting. Take a seat at the long bar and watch the bartenders work.