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Photograph: Adi Goodrich Pecknold

The 16 best new bars that opened around the world in 2021

From classy fine wineries to stripped-back eco-bars, these are the boozers that injected life into our cities this year

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Time Out editors
Ed Cunningham

In 2021, the world started to stir and get back on its feet. And that included bars, too. As we all got moving again, we also all got back into boozing, partying and making the most of newfound freedoms (fingers crossed).

And around the world, new bars popped up to welcome us back to a degree of normality. Some of those had been waiting, having had their openings delayed by lockdowns, while others were the brainchild of innovative thinking during tough times. All were itching to show us all what they could do.

The result was a year full of new openings, but which were the best? As part of this year’s Time Out Love Local Awards, we asked you to name the finest, coolest or most interesting new bars that sprang up in your city in 2021. The most popular spots ranged from natural wine havens to sky-high cocktail bistros. The award winners are all below, along with a couple of select favourites, as chosen by Time Out experts.

RECOMMENDED: The 23 best new restaurants that opened around the world in 2021

The best new bars that opened around the world in 2021

The meaning behind the name of Aspen & Meursault (combining the main character of Albert Camus’s ‘The Outsider’ with a convoluted reference to the root systems of aspen trees) is far more complicated than the bar itself. Prioritising biodynamic and minimal-intervention wines, this Battersea bar aims to demystify natural wines without being snooty about it. Combining biodynamic classics with vintages and more experimental numbers, Aspen & Meursault is a tight, super cosy gem and an easy entry into the whole new world of natural wine. Angela Hui

Too many bars don’t pay enough attention to bar food – but that certainly isn’t a problem for Sidney’s Five in the East Village. Lamb burgers, andouille corn dogs and chocolate-dipped strawberries are just a few of the delicacies on the menu, all designed to perfectly accompany a steady, classy drinking session. Primarily a martini bar but with the usual beer and wine extras, Sidney’s also just has a fantastic vibe. Filled with floral prints, pastels and flea market finds, it’s a lively, characterful find. Amber Sutherland-Namako


Boston’s Offsuit, sandwiched between Chinatown and the Financial District in the increasingly upmarket and hyper-trendy Leather District, is a tiny, quirky bar full of interesting décor and innovative drinks. Offsuit’s burgundy walls, leather love seats and crackling vinyl player feel somewhat Prohibition-esque without the feel of corny era cosplay – but the real star is the drinks menu. A mix of classics and bartender’s choices, Offsuit’s menu is constantly on the move thanks to its ‘beverage directors’, who whip up original recipes for each new season. Jillian Dara

Making fab use of the shell of a historic Firestone tire shop in Miracle Mile, All Season Brewing Co. opened in early 2021 with 16(!) house beers, 15 of which are brewed onsite. There’s also a full bar and the menu is droolworthy in the extreme. But even more impressive is the bar’s incredible use of such a formidable space: the Firestone shop has been turned into a chic, airy, slightly retro and intensely stylish destination. Jarone Ashkenazi


From the minds of hospitality-re-energisers Bar Lab, Margot Natural Wine Bar has finally opened in the Ingraham Building in downtown Miami. Initially poised for a 2020 debut, the Margot’s initial plans were scuppered – now we’ve been able to see what all the fuss was about. A bright, airy space, the Margot specialises in low-intervention and natural wines, and features a supreme small menu of wine-friendly bites from the masterful hand of chef Jimmy Lebron (of 27 Restaurant). Virginia Gil

Just as inspired by Eastern European workers’ clubs as it is by twenty-first-century listening lounges, Marz Community Brewing’s latest taproom combines communal spirit and stylish interior design with, obviously, drinking. Dangling lights, bizarre artworks and bold wallpaper fit neatly among enormous fridges stocked with Marz creations, but there are plenty of brews on draft, too. It’s the perfect successor to Marz’s Bridgeport outpost, a meticulous continuation of the nano-brewery’s modish appeal. Zach Long


No matter your tipple, Projet Pilote is the place for you. It’s a distillery, microbrewery, bar and restaurant, all under one roof in the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal. The distillery makes gin and fruit-based spirits (and soon, whisky) for use in the Projet’s cocktails, while the brewery serves up a number of light and easy-drinking beers. On top of all that, the wines are organic and biodynamic, and the food menu features several vegetables and herbs grown in a garden on the roof. A paradise of eco-minded, locally-sourced food and drink. Santé! Tommy Dion

In a vast space just off the central Plaça de Tetuan, La Textil is a serious new contender in the race to be Barcelona’s hugest pilgrimage spot for craft beer lovers. Its 1100-square-metre space (as the name indicates, in a former textile factory) includes a music venue, street food eatery and a factory that can produce 120,000 litres of beer a year. One might think La Textil is only for beer drinkers, but the bar is also well-stocked for spirits and wines, all at very decent prices. Ricard Martín


Bafo da Prainha opened in early 2021 as Rio’s locals were gingerly taking their first steps back into the world of social mixing. Enclosed within a charming little square in the heart of the city’s burgeoning port area, Bafo manages to conjure up a joyous, communal atmosphere while maintaining a healthy distance between its open-air tables. During the day, waiters ferry drinks and home-style barbecue dishes to you and then, as the light fades the party starts; big-name musicians play from an upper storey window to the ecstatic crowds below. Tom Le Mesurier

Still fresh after its move from a stall in San Fernando market to a permanent bar in the southern district of Arganzuela, La Cruda combines an enormous variety of natural wines and dozens of craft beers with cheeses, cured meats and delights from local coffee shops and bakeries. It’s the epitome of everything that’s great about drinking in Madrid: great food and fantastic wines, all tucked away in a narrow, uncomplicated and homely space. Gorka Elorrieta


Led by Buenos Aires’ mixology queen Inés de los Santos, her first solo bar CoChinChina oozes Franco-Vietnamese flavours and style. An ambitious project located across two floors in the heart of trendy Palermo Soho, the best seats in the house are at the U-shaped bar (sustainably created from eggshells); groups should book a plush almond-green booth or the private dining room. Both decadent and delicious, the drinks list is inspired by southeast Asia and tasty small plates match Inés’s exacting standards. Try her signature Umami Martini, a moreish cocktail whose three gins are macerated with algae and fungi; it’s best paired with lacquered pork bao. Still thirsty? Take home a hip flask of something tasty from the boutique. Sorrel Moseley-Williams

This classy cocktail bar in an old pharmacy in Paris’s 9th arrondissement still dishes out its fair share of remedial potions. Snuggled behind the blue-green apothecary façade is a place that’s been made effortlessly characterful through its period tiles, dark wooden cupboards and mysterious amber jars. The concoctions are terrific, too: while Classique has a smallish menu, there’s plenty of variety. And if you need reviving the morning after? It does coffee, cake and Sunday brunch exceptionally well, too. Antoine Besse


Seasonal Brazilian ingredients, zero waste and refined sugar-free beverages are core to Santana, which, in 12 short months, picked up numerous awards, including it being named São Paulo’s best bar. Mixologist and co-owner Gabriel Santana’s hospitality pedigree is second to none (he won 2017’s prestigious World Class Competition), his Swiss training ensuring a gentle yet detailed drinking experience at the discreet watering hole located on a residential street in Pinheiros. Seating just 25 in the cosy lounge and front patio, classic and signature cocktails are listed chronologically; order the refreshing Moringa, which uses every last droplet of guava pulp and skin: perfect Brazilian flavours served in a coupe glass. Sorrel Moseley-Williams

For years, Hope St Radio would broadcast from restaurants and bars around Melbourne. But in 2021 the beloved station found a more permanent home in Collingwood Yards, a newly-opened artistic hub in a disused school. Here, everything’s local, with local natural winemakers, DJs and producers coming together to fuel punters throughout the night. Full of fire pits and communal tables, and with phenomenal drink, food and music, community hubs don’t really buzz much more than Hope St Radio. Rushani Epa


If you don’t look too closely, Dean and Nancy on 22 almost summons up the spirit of a 1960s New York cocktail lounge. Twenty-two storeys up the A by Adina tower, the glossy insides are a similarly ‘Mad Men’-esque mix of marble, leather and tiger-striped carpets. It could be a cliché, if only it wasn’t so charismatically tongue-in-cheek. And the cocktail menu is similarly charming, a combination of classic and experimental drinks made all the more playful by their lofty surroundings.

Inhabiting an elegant, striking and slightly surreal art nouveau building in Mexico City’s western Roma district, Casa Prunes reopened this year, revitalised by bartenders Mafer Tejada and Mica Rousseau. A zero-waste philosophy hasn’t stopped Casa Prunes from crafting extravagantly creative cocktails and fruit wines, all trialled in the bar’s very own fermentation lab. And the food is just as innovative: this is a bar absolutely suited to the bold beauty of its century-old setting. Elmer Gavito

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