We could all agree that the announcement of the World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 hit a bit differently.

In a time where the world could desperately use a drink, countless establishments have cracked and folded under the pressures of lockdowns and restrictions. Still, those who survived (and are still surviving) deserve to be recognised. The show must go on. 

Announced via a virtual live-stream from London last night, the awards this year saw a voting period which only ran from January 2019 to March 2020, when the majority of bars were forced to close due to the pandemic.

The team from The Connaught (Image credit: David Holbrook)

This year, The Connaught Bar in London overcame all odds to emerge top in class for the title of the World’s Best Bar, beating New York’s Dante, which took second place and The Best Bar in North America title. Helmed by the well-respected Agostino Perrone, the London bar — situated in the five-star The Connaught Hotel — has been a top 10 fixture for the last 10 years, and was second place last year. This is the first time it’s made it to the coveted spot. 

Kwant, best new opening of 2020 at No. 6. (Image credit: Kwant)

For 2020, the legendary art deco bar at The Savoy dropped 15 places to be placed 20th on the list. Other bars in London to make this year’s cut include Tayēr + Elementary (No. 5), Lyaness (No. 29), Swift (No. 33), Three Sheets (No. 34), and Artesian (No. 41).

The Atlas Bar in Singapore. (Image credit: Diageo)

Closer to home, our Asian neighbours in Singapore have also done us proud: Atlas — known for its staggering collection of gin and opulent art deco interiors — inched one spot up to No. 4. Jigger & Pony, which entered the list at No. 29 last year, has also managed to debut in the top 10 this year at ninth position. The newly-reopened bar at Amara Hotel has been at the forefront of cocktail-making since its inception in 2012, with an emphasis on reinventing classic cocktails with a fresh twist. The trendy bar also clinched top spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list earlier this year.

Jay Khan, founder of Coa (Image credit: World’s 50 Best)

Hong Kong’s Coa (No. 8) shot up a staggering 41 positions this year, ranking in the top ten from its place at No. 49 last year. Hong Kong’s The Old Man, placed at No. 9 last year, fell six places to still a respectable No. 15 in 2020. Its sister establishment over in the Lion City, The Old Man Singapore, moved 20 spots down to No. 58.

Other Hong Kong bars that made the 51-100 list include The Pontiac (No. 61) and The Wise King — newly joining the list at No. 83.

“We at 50 Best hope that the announcement of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 will act as a show of strength for the global bar community,” said Mark Sansom, content editor for The World’s 50 Best Bars. “It displays to the world that even in the face of the ever-shifting challenges and restrictions being thrown at them, bars are still doing everything that they can to continue to provide great hospitality experiences. As we move into the next stages of international recovery, it is vital to get the message out that bars are open for business and ready to receive guests safely and securely.”

Below, The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list.

1. Connaught Bar (London)

2. Dante (New York City) *Best Bar in North America*

3. The Clumsies (Athens)

4. Atlas (Singapore) *Best Bar in Asia*

5. Tayer/Elementary (London) *Highest New Entry*

6. Kwant (London) *Best New Opening*

7. Florería Atlántico (Buenos Aires) *Best Bar in South America* *Bartenders’ Bartender*

8. Coa (Hong Kong) *Highest Climber*

9. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)

10. The SG Club (Tokyo)

11. Maybe Sammy (Sydney)

12. Attaboy (New York)

13. The NoMad (New York)

14. Manhattan (Singapore)

15. The Old Man (Hong Kong)

16. Katana Kitten (New York)

17. Licorería Limantour (Mexico City)

18. Native (Singapore)

19. Paradiso (Barcelona)

20. American Bar (London)

21. Carnaval (Lima)

22. Salmón Gurú (Madrid)

23. Zuma (Dubai) *Best Bar in Middle East and Africa*

24. Little Red Door (Paris)

25. 1930 (Milan)

26. Two Schmucks (Barcelona)

27. El Copitas (St. Petersburg)

28. Cantina OK! (Sydney)

29. Lyaness (London)

30. Himkok (Oslo)

31. Baba au Rum (Athens)

32. Panda & Sons (Edinburgh)

33. Swift (London)

34. Three Sheets (London)

35. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok)

36. Tjoget (Stockholm)

37. Buck and Breck (Berlin)

38. Employees Only (New York)

39. Bulletin Place (Sydney)

40. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo)

41. Artesian (London)

42. Sober Company (Shanghai)

43. Indulge Experimental Bistro (Taipei)

44. Bar Trigona (Kuala Lumpur)

45. Drink Kong (Rome)

46. Room by Le Keif (Taipei)

47. Alquimico (Cartagena) *Sustainable Bar Award*

48. High Five (Tokyo)

49. Charles H (South Korea)

50. Presidente (Buenos Aires)

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

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