Cities around the world were missing their top Manhattan makers, Pisco pourers and Sazerac servers last night.
That’s because they were all gathered in Christchurch in Spitalfields for the sixth World’s 50 Best Bars awards, a suitably booze-fuelled celebration of the globe’s cocktail elite which coincides with the final few days of London Cocktail Week.
It was a home win for London, with Artesian bar at The Langham hotel just off Regent Street scooping the coveted top spot for the third consecutive year. Head bartender Alex Kratena’s creations have included cocktails that come with plastic pillows to burst and smell, lemongrass-smoked Bloody Marys, cocktails in takeaway coffee cups, and what could be the world’s coldest martini.
The capital also won the accolade of having the most bars in the list, with eight entries — the same number as last year. Predictably, New York was our closest competitor with seven bars in the list; both cities had three entries in the top 10.
It won’t come as a surprise to many that it’s around Shoreditch where a lot of the capital’s cocktail action is happening. Nightjar just off Old Street came in at number three, Hoxton Square’s Happiness Forgets reached number 12, Hoxton Street’s White Lyan came in at number 20, and Callooh Callay on Rivington Street scraped in at 49.
Tony Conigliaro’s 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington reached 23.
While speakeasies and modern mixology feature highly, London’s classic hotel bars also showed they’ve still got it. The American Bar at The Savoy reached number eight, and the Connaught Bar came in at number 11.
The only London newcomer in the list was White Lyan, headed up by Ryan Chetiyawardana, who does not use any ice or fresh fruit or herbs in his drinks as he finds that they are too inconsistent. He has applied the same philosophy at his recently-launched second bar Dandelyan at the Mondrian London hotel on the South Bank, so it will be interesting to see if that makes an appearance next year.
Zetter Townhouse, which made it to 34 in last year’s awards, did not make the list this time around.
The list is voted for by more than 300 industry figures from around the world, and though it's not as high profile as the restaurant equivalent, it’s becoming an increasingly big deal in the bar scene.