World's 50 best bars in 2017
(CNN) — What’s the recipe for creating the world’s best bar? In 2017, it’s one part swanky hotel, two parts classic Art Deco and three parts hard work — all mixed up for more than 125 years.
It certainly worked for London’s venerable American Bar at the Savoy, which was named as the planet’s best cocktail joint at a glitzy awards ceremony in the UK capital.
There were raucous cheers and, inevitably, dozens of drinks spilled in excitement as the number one bar on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars 2017 was revealed as a hometown venue.
“We really didn’t see that coming,” Savoy senior bartender Dominic Whisson told CNN, shortly after wiping a pour of fresh tears from his cheeks. “It’s a victory for all of us, for all the late nights, early mornings and long days.”
American Bar at the Savoy: World’s Best Bar in 2017.
The Savoy, making its debut at number one, was joined in the top three by two more hotel bars: The London riverside Mondrian hotel’s stylish Dandelyan and the regal NoMad in New York City.
With another London hotel venue, the redoubtable Connaught Bar, at number four, last year’s victor fell to fifth place.
The top 10 was rounded out by Athens’ intimate The Clumsies at six, Singapore’s Manhattan at the Regent Hotel at seven, New York’s Attaboy at eight, London’s Bar Termini at nine and, lastly, Shanghai’s secretive Speak Low.
Selected by a panel of 150 international judges, the Savoy was acclaimed for its winning combination of tradition and innovation — praise that Whisson reckons was well-earned.
“There’s a good few bars that have the same va-va-voom as the Savoy,” he says. “But I think ours is a very unique bar. We have a responsibility to the heritage of the place — the history is something you don’t get anywhere else.”
Other London bars on the list are Happiness Forgets at 12, Oriole at 17, The Gibson at 21 and Nightjar at 43.
While New York claimed the next highest number of bars — seven, including bright and cheerful Dante at 16, Dead Rabbit sequel BlackTail at 32, legendary Employees Only at 37 and spicy East Village venue Mace at 42 — Singapore emerged as a new powerhouse.
The Asian city-state now counts six top 50 venues. In addition to Manhattan at number five, there’s gin specialists Atlas at 15, Operation Dagger at 24, 28 Hongkong Street at 25, the Tippling Club at 31 and Native at 47.
“It’s a new and very hungry scene,” says Roman Foltan, head bartender at Atlas, which was named the highest new entry into the 50 Best Bars list. “People are very open to trying new things. Not just in Singapore, but in other Asian cities like Hong Kong and Bangkok.”
William Drew, group editor for The World’s 50 Best Bars, says while many bars work hard to promote themselves, particularly in the age of Twitter, success still comes down to quality of service, genuine atmosphere and, most importantly, satisfied customers.
25. 28 Hongkong Street, Singapore: Coming in at number 25 on the 2017 World’s 50 Best Bars list, 28 Hongkong Street is one of six Singapore venues to make this year’s list.
“Much is made of how bars generate publicity using social media,” he tells CNN. “But if there’s a fantastic bar somewhere, even if it’s underground and relatively unknown, people will find out about it and they will come.”
And when they come to the Savoy Bar, Whisson and his fellow bartenders will be waiting.
“It’s a glory to cherish,” he says of his venue’s victory in the nine-year-old contest. “But tomorrow, we’ll be back behind the bar, doing what we do.”
World’s 50 Best Bars
10. Speak Low, Shanghai
48. Tommy’s, San Francisco