As cocktail glasses clinked at the Pasir Panjang Power Station on the evening of Oct 17th, 2023, it marked a watershed moment for Singapore’s drinks scene.
It was the moment when the awards ceremony for the World’s 50 Best Bars awards (dubbed the Olympics of the bar scene) was held on local shores for the first time, solidifying Singapore’s position as a cocktail capital of the world.
Sure, the awards ceremony for big-league event Asia’s 50 Best Bars had been held in Singapore before. Yet, with the paramount global ranking event that is World’s 50 Best Bars having chosen the city-state as its host nation this year, the sea change in terms of international standing for bars here is now at a new high.
It also marks the first time the coveted event is held outside of Europe, giving further credence that Singapore bars are indeed power players among establishments globally, and not just within Asia Pacific.
The awards ceremony itself saw over 1,000 attendees – from bar professionals to brand ambassadors, media representatives to the who’s who of the alcohol trade – gather at unique locale Pasir Panjang Power Station (an actual disused power plant) for a highly spirited event.
Award winners and their teams flew down from 28 different cities worldwide. This year’s list saw a gratifying 11 new entrants hailing from cities such as Bangkok, Melbourne, and Stockholm, reflecting the shift in sentiments among the industry.
Notable mentions include Seoul’s Zest, entering the list for the first time, yet coming in very strong at No.18 on the list, awarding them the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award at the same time.
On homeground, Jigger & Pony claims the highest spot for Singapore with a solid No.14 spot. Meanwhile, Night Hawk, though not taking a spot in the rankings, was awarded the newly announced Bareksten Best Bar Design Award.
Crowd favourite Double Chicken Please from New York came in at No.2, making it North America’s top bar, while the No.1 spot went to Barcelona’s Sips, claiming the industry’s highest accolade barely two years after it first opened.
The excitement for World’s 50 Best Bars went beyond the four walls of the venue with an avalanche of high profile guest shifts, pop-up events, and brand showcases happening all throughout the island.
This year’s No.5, London’s Connaught Bar, was stirring their world-famous Dry Martinis at Singapore’s Manhattan. And it isn’t everyday that you get Barcelona’s Paradiso, 2022’s No.1 bar and this year’s No.4, rocking it with stellar drinks at Shangri-La Singapore’s Origin Bar.
Celebrations aside, it’s the effect that the awards have on the industry that is of more importance. Names that appear on the list will undoubtedly enjoy greater exposure and more customers going forward.
Host country Singapore will also feel the benefits gained from the burst of leading drinks industry visitors. Barcelona, having hosted last year’s awards ceremony, certainly saw it pay off. With such a spotlight shining upon bars here, the future of the cocktail bar scene in Singapore remains bright for the foreseeable future.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.