The annual list of Asia's 50 Best Bars showcases the best and most innovative cocktail bars in the region, and this year, Hong Kong nabs the top spot. Meanwhile, a significant number of venues from Hong Kong were also included on the list, marking the city's bar scene as one of the best in Asia. Compiled from the votes of more than 200 drinks experts, including renowned bartenders and consultants, writers and cocktail specialists from across the region, Asia's 50 Best Bars honours nine local bars on the list. Here they are, and here's what you need to know.
Asia's 50 Best Bars 2021 award ceremony was a big one for our city's bar scene as Oaxaca-inspired bar Coa grabbed first place, making Hong Kong home to the best bar in the region. Founded by agave spirits expert Jay Khan, the bar offers refreshing and thoughtfully-created cocktails that highlight Coa's extensive agave spirits collection, including raicilla, sotol, mezcal, and tequila. Guests who want to deep dive into the world of Mexican spirits can consider this as the best place to visit in the city.
Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel's Michelin-starred French restaurant of the same name, Caprice Bar ranks in at number 10 on Asia's 50 Best Bars list, making them the Highest Climber awardee. Headed by a team of talented bartenders and led by award-winning beverage manager Lorenzo Antinori, Caprice Bar offers classic cocktails and signature tipples that change every season. Aside from well-crafted cocktails, guests can indulge in one of the city's best wine and cheese pairings. Guests can choose from the extensive collection of the restaurant's unique wines and champagnes available by the glass or bottle.
The brainchild of award-winning mixologist John Nugent (formerly of Lily & Bloom), The Diplomat is one of the hippest watering holes at trendy lifestyle complex H Code. In 2021, the American-style cocktail bar received the Best New Opening award and is ranked number 20 on Asia's 50 Best Bars list. Here, guests can sip on reimagined classic cocktails as well as the spirited Tuxedo #852 served in mini coupettes along with gastropub dishes like burgers, fries, and truffled mac and cheese that are perfect for late-night bites.
Another new entry on Asia's 50 Best Bars list is the tea-focused cocktail bar Tell Camellia. Headed by mixologist Gagan Gurung, the bar serves signature cocktails infused with exotic teas and local spices. Guests who want to learn more about the art of tea and cocktail-making can book their occasional mixology workshops and get hands-on experience in making their own concoctions.
Quinary is one of several bars owned by renowned local mixologist Antonio Lai. Since Asia's 50 Best Bars first appeared in 2017, Quinary has ranked high on the list, and in 2021, the bar earned the Legend of the List recognition. The bar focuses on a multisensory experience and molecular mixology, so expect a lot of exciting tipples that usually involve a rotating glass, smoke-filled edible bubbles or popping candy.
Since opening in 2015, American-style dive bar The Pontiac has attracted a legion of loyal patrons and has also appeared on Asia's 50 Best Bars list for consecutive years. Its grunge aesthetic, fun staff and lively atmosphere make this spot on Old Bailey Street one of the best venues to go to for a night of rock 'n' roll revelry. Enjoy perfectly crafted cocktails that make this dive bar among the most awarded in the region.
Hidden in an alleyway on Staunton Street, this intimate lounge — inspired by Alfonso X of Castile, who is famous for being a scholar, a patron of the arts and the king who 'invented' tapas — offers refreshing and spirit-forward drinks crafted by co-founder Sandeep Kumar. Also a mainstay on Asia's 50 Best Bars list, this cosy bar is a great hangout place for people who want an intimate setting while sipping on after-work drinks.
Hong Kong's first zero-waste bar, Penicillin, is the brainchild of Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale, founders of the award-winning bar The Old Man Hong Kong (number one on Asia's 50 Best Bars list in 2019). With only a few months under their belt since opening, the accolade-heavy bar team has been making noise in the region, landing them on the 30th spot at this year's Asia's 50 Best Bars and even taking home the Best Sustainable Bar in Asia award. The bar prides itself on pushing a sustainable and closed-loop model of production and aims to alleviate wasteful cocktail-making behind the bar by using recycling and upcycling processes. Expect an exciting menu of eco-cocktails, including the One Penicillin, One Tree cocktail that helps to plant a tree in the endangered Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo, Indonesia, for every cocktail sold.