The region’s cocktail industry’s movers and shakers gathered at Singapore’s Capitol Theatre on 9 May for the annual Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 awards ceremony. The night saw a newly crowned winner as Hong Kong’s The Old Man dethroned Singapore’s Manhattan, which had held the coveted number one title for the last two years running.
The Old Man – which recently opened a Singapore outpost on Keong Saik Road in Chinatown – is a cocktail lounge inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Old Man and the Sea. Opened in August 2017, in Hong Kong’s SoHo district, it’s the brainchild of owners Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghale. The bar quickly made a name for itself with its complex and innovative cocktails that feature liquors infused with local flavours. It’s success follows an impressive debut at #5 last year and it currently holds the #10 spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list.
While Manhattan wasn’t able to retain its #1 position, it nabbed both the Legend of the List Award and The Best Bar in Singapore. Housed in the Regent Singapore, the high end cocktail bar currently sits at number #3 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list.
At #3 is popular cocktail lounge Indulge Experimental Bistro from Taipei. Known for incorporating Taiwanese ingredients into their dramatically-presented cocktails, the bar is also famous for its tea-infused libations. The remaining bars in the top five all hailed from Singapore, with sustainability-focused Native climbing up four places to #4 and gin specialist Atlas dropping down to #5.
Notable movers on this year’s list include Singapore’s Jigger & Pony which received the Highest Climber Award after rising 33 spots up to #9. 2019 also saw 12 new entries including Hong Kong’s Coa at #12, Tokyo’s The SG Club at #13, Taipei’s Aha Saloon at #24, Bangkok’s Tropic City at #31, as well as Hope & Sesame from Guangzhou at #35.
In addition, Seoul’s Pussyfoot Saloon was named the One to Watch and Kuala Lumpur’s Bar Trigona snagged the Sustainable Bar Award. Japanese mixologist Shingo Gokan – behind bars such as Shanghai’s Speak Low #7, Sober Company #16 and The Odd Couple, and Tokyo’s The SG Club #13 – bagged the Bartenders’ Bartender Award, thanks to the votes of his peers.
Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 awards ceremony comes after Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 – which was held on 26 March at Macau’s Wynn Palace – and ahead of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, slated to take place at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands on 25 June.
Asia’s top 10 bars are:
- The Old Man, Hong Kong
- Manhattan, Singapore
- Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei
- Native, Singapore
- Atlas, Singapore
- High Five, Tokyo
- Speak Low, Shanghai
- The Bamboo Bar, Bangkok
- Jigger & Pony, Singapore
- Quinary, Hong Kong
A full list of winners can also be found here.