The Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 awards were held tonight at the Capitol Theatre, making this the very first time the institution has hosted an actual ceremony since its advent two years ago. The night was tense with anticipation as the bar industry across Asia awaited to see where their establishments would place.

“The Asian bar scene is undoubtedly rising fast,” said William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Bars. “These bars have created their own local and regional identities, and that’s really important — they are not just facsimiles of the great cocktail bars in London and New York. I think this innovative spirit in Asia is really exciting.”

Locals might be pleased to note that once again, Singapore trumped the region, with 12 bars ranking on the list, one down from last year, as the rum-and-steak haven, Sugarhall, did not place this year.

Asia's 50 best bars 2018 sg
The Manhattan team accepting their trophy.

Taking top spot once again is Manhattan, named as the Best Bar in Asia and the Best Bar in Singapore. When asked about how it feels to win again, bar manager Phillip Bischoff cheekily commented, “Once you’ve tasted the honey, you want to taste it again, and we got to.”

Another Singaporean champion is Atlas, climbing eight places from last year to place at number four this year — this dramatic ascension is not unexpected, but still offers much to be celebrated, given that Atlas has become a force unto its own in Singapore, if not Asia.

Asia's 50 best bars 2018 sg
Vijay Mudaliar also won the Altos Bartender’s Bartender award, voted for by all the head bartenders on the 50 Best Bars list.

Other Singaporean bars include Native, coming in at number eight. Taking pride in using regional ingredients in their concoctions, the ingenuity of Vijay Mudaliar and his team makes the bar’s twelve-place rise from last year’s list worthy of all the applause.

Aside from the triumphant trio, other Singaporean bars that entered the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list include 28 HongKong Street at number 12, Operation Dagger at number 19, Gibson at number 22, Employees Only at number 23, and more. A massive congratulations to all the Singaporean winners!

Here is the full Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list:

1. Manhattan, Singapore
2. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei
3. Speak Low, Shanghai
4. Atlas, Singapore
5. The Old Man, Hong Kong
6. High Five, Tokyo
7. Tippling Club, Singapore
8. Native, Singapore
9. The Bamboo Bar, Bangkok
10. Lobster Bar & Grill, Hong Kong
11. Stockton, Hong Kong
12. 28 HongKong Street, Singapore
13. Backstage, Bangkok
14. Sober Company, Shanghai
15. Quinary, Hong Kong
16. Trench, Tokyo
17. Le Chamber, Seoul
18. Zuma, Hong Kong
19. Operation Dagger, Singapore
20. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
21. Charles H, Seoul
22. Gibson, Singapore
23. Employees Only, Singapore
24. 8 ½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
25. The Curator Coffee & Cocktails, Manila
26. Alice Cheongdam, Seoul
27. Vesper, Bangkok
28. Union Trading Company, Shanghai
29. Smalls, Bangkok
30. Janes & Hooch, Beijing
31. The Pontiac, Hong Kong
32. D.Bespoke, Singapore
33. Nutmeg & Clove, Singapore
34. Gen Yamamoto, Tokyo
35. TCRC, Tainan
36. Potato Head Beach Club, Bali
37. Bar Orchard Ginza, Tokyo
38. Junglebird, Kuala Lumpur
39. Loewy, Jakarta
40. Mixology Salon, Tokyo
41. Union Brasserie Bakery & Bar, Jakarta
42. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
43. Star Bar, Tokyo
44. Teens of Thailand, Bangkok
45. The Lamp Bar, Nara
46. Coley, Kuala Lumpur
47. Keepers, Seoul
48. The Ritz Carlton Bar & Lounge, Macau
49. Ku Bar, Bangkok
50. The Other Room, Singapore

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.