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Worthy new entrants, broad shift in rankings at Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022

Asia's 50 Best Bars 2022 group shot

Above image: Bartender group shot at Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022

As the annual Asia’s 50 Best Bars enters its seventh edition, the anticipation in the lead up to the announcement seems to be getting less and less exciting as the list gets more and more predictable each year. 

Yet this year, the first time a physical awards ceremony is being held since the dawn of Covid-19, the rather stark shift in rankings and the introduction of much-anticipated new entrants has managed to stir up some buzz once again.

Held in Bangkok on April 28th, this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars ceremony felt like a cathartic release for the pent up bar industry which has seen more than its fair share of pandemic pains the past 2 years.

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So it was understandably a hoot even as it was announced that the top winner of this year’s awards once again went to Hong Kong’s Coa. Though not a very exciting piece of news on its own, the fact that it has managed to claim the crown twice in a row is an amazing feat that only one other bar, Singapore’s Manhattan, has managed to do back in 2017-2018.

Though Manhattan has since slipped to the no.9 spot, it isn’t the only Singapore bar to have descended. No Sleep Club fell from no.8 to no.15 this year, Atlas plunged a staggering 16 places from no.7 to no.23, and 28 Hong Kong Street dropped all the way down to no.49 from no.21 in 2021.

Meanwhile, usual favourites like Native, Barbary Coast, The Old Man Singapore (now Papa Doble) and D.Bespoke have completely fallen out of the top 50 rankings.

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It isn’t all doom and gloom for Asia’s cocktail capital, of course. Jigger & Pony has managed to maintain its claim to the highly coveted no.2 spot, while MO Bar has ascended drastically from no.45 last year to a much-deserved no.8 in 2022, winning it the title of highest climber at the same time.

We are also delighted to see one-year-old Republic make it onto the list this year, and at a very respectable no.12 spot for a newcomer no less. And while Native is no longer in the top 50, its sister bar Analogue, also a newcomer, managed to win hearts with its 100% plant-based ethos, placing them nicely on the no.37 spot.

Elsewhere around Asia, it was Argo in Hong Kong which clinched the highest new entry prize by coming in with a bang at the no.3 spot. New entrant Tesouro from Goa also wowed by claiming no.4 on the list, and winning the best new opening award while they’re at it. 

[Read more: Shuffle in rankings at Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021 amid travel restrictions]

The best bars in Japan and South Korea goes to Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich at no.5 and Seoul’s Charles H at no.7, while host country Thailand’s reviving bar scene sees newcomer BKK Social Club appearing high up at no.10.

It’s also cool that Sri Lanka’s Smoke & Bitters debuted on the list at no.42, making it the very first bar from Sri Lanka that made it onto Asia’s 50 Best Bars.

Given how the pandemic situation has been improving greatly throughout the region, it is highly likely that next year’s event will be an even greater showing.

For a full list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022 winners, check out the list below.

1. Coa, Hong Kong

2. Jigger & Pony, Singapore

3. Argo, Hong Kong

4. Tesouro, Goa

5. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo

6. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei

7. Charles H, Seoul

8. Mo Bar, Singapore

9. Manhattan, Singapore

10. BKK Social Club, Bangkok

11. Sober Company, Shanghai

12. Republic, Singapore

13. Darkside, Hong Kong

14. Sidecar, New Delhi

15. No Sleep Club, Singapore

16. Quinary, Hong Kong

17. Tropic City, Bangkok

18. Hope & Sesame, Guangzhou

19. Vesper, Bangkok

20. Lamp, Bar Nara

21. The SG Club, Tokyo

22. Penicillin, Hong Kong

23. Atlas, Singapore

24. Aha Saloon, Taipei

25. Bar Trench, Tokyo

26. Hoots’, New Delhi

27. Tippling Club, Singapore

28. Bar Cham, Seoul

29. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur

30. Home, New Delhi

31. Sago House, Singapore

32. The Cocktail Club, Jakarta

33. The Pontiac, Hong Kong

34. The Wise King, Hong Kong

35. Junglebird, Kuala Lumpur

36. Nutmeg & Clove, Singapore

37. Analogue, Singapore

38. The Aubrey, Hong Kong

39. Le Chamber, Seoul

40. Alice, Seoul

41. Memento Mori, Tokyo

42. Smoke & Bitters, Hiriketiya

43. Asia Today, Bangkok

44. Copitas, Bengaluru

45. Union Trading Company, Shanghai

46. The Bamboo Bar, Bangkok

47. Bee’s Knees, Kyoto

48. Zest, Seoul

49. 28 HongKong Street, Singapore

50. Speak Low, Shanghai