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Photograph: TA

Coa takes first place again in Asia's 50 Best Bars list for 2022

Eight Hong Kong bars make it on the list

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Tatum Ancheta

Hong Kong’s Oaxacan-inspired bar, Coa, once again claimed the top spot at the seventh edition of Asia's 50 Best Bars during a live ceremony in Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok on April 28. This is the first time since the 2019 awards in Singapore that the ceremony was held in person and was attended by mixologists, bar industry ambassadors, and cocktail enthusiasts. 

Hong Kong continues to be well represented on the annual list even with pandemic imposed closures and borders being closed for two years. The 2022 list sees Four Seasons Hotel's innovative bar Argo – the latest project from Four Season's beverage manager and Time Out's 2020 Bartender of the Year, Lorenzo Antinori – climb to number 3 from its previous 72nd ranking last year. Other bars from Hong Kong that landed on the 2022 list include The Aubrey (number 38, new entry), The Wise King (number 34), The Pontiac (number 33), Penicillin (number 22), Quinary (number 16), and DarkSide (number 13). And though Honky Tonks Tavern didn't make the list, the Central bar took home the Campari One to Watch award. 

"Bars in Hong Kong do an excellent job in translating and exploring storytelling through cocktails," says Mark Sansom, director of content for Asia's 50 Best Bars. "Home to many industry pioneers and acclaimed, world-renowned bars, Hong Kong has increasingly discerning drinkers who are supportive of the bar scene. It also hosts bartenders and bar owners who are always hungry to prove themselves, bringing intriguing fresh concepts to the table," he adds.  

Special awards for this year recognises Bar Mood Taipei as the winner of Ketel One Sustainable Bar Awards, Nutmeg & Clove's Colin Chia as the recipient of Roku Industry Icon Award, and Charles H’s Keith Motsi as the recipient of Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award. 

The 2022 list of Asia's 50 Best Bars was created by an academy of over 220 leaders in the region made up of drink writers, educators, journalists, bartenders, bar owners and regional cocktail aficionados. According to Sansom, this year’s ranking took into account the recent and ongoing pandemic restrictions. "The 2022 list is created from bar experiences across the voting period between June 2020 and January 2022 inclusive, even if those bars that the voters have experienced are all located in their home city and country," he explains. 

The Aubrey Omakase Bar
Photograph: Marco Chow/The Aubrey I The Aubrey enters Asia's 50 Best Bars list at number 38

In Hong Kong, we've continue to see bars make their mark on the prestigious list. Sansom says there are myriad of explanations as to why bars might move on, off, or within the list. "We do not focus on how many places bars fall on the list, just as we do not comment on bars that are not on the list," he says. "Our main focus is celebrating the achievements of those bars on the list regardless of which number they have placed at. To be on the list no matter the number is a huge accomplishment and a testament to the talent and hard work of the bar teams," he adds. 

Sansom says that Asia continues to prove itself as a region for impressive craft cocktails. Asian countries with an emerging craft cocktail scene to watch out for include hotspots such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Nepal. As cities emerge from the pandemic, Sansom states that the bar awards hope to inspire people who are looking for amazing bar experiences in their own countries and around the continent. "It is also our hope that the awards event will also act as a show of strength and much-needed optimism for the bar community," he adds.  

Extending the spotlight to more bars in the region, 50 Best also releases the 51-100 honorary list, which includes bars spanning 24 different cities across Asia. Other establishments that are not on the list but still deserve to be discovered are usually covered in 50 Best Discovery, 50 Best's in-depth collection of city guides for restaurants and bars, which features over 2,000 venues in 81 countries across the world.  

Here’s the full list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022:  

50) Speak Low, Shanghai, China 

49) 28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore

48) Zest, Seoul, Korea (New Entry) 

47) Bees Knees, Kyoto, Japan

46) Bamboo Bar, Bangkok, Thailand

45) Union Trading Company, Shanghai, China

44) Copitas, Bengaluru, India

43) Asia Today, Bangkok, Thailand (New Entry) 

42) Smoke & Bitters, Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka (Best Bar in Sri Lanka) 

41) Memento Mori, Tokyo, Japan (New Entry) 

40) Alice, Seoul, Korea

39) Le Chamber, Seoul, Korea

38) The Aubrey, Hong Kong (New Entry) 

37) Analog, Singapore (New Entry) 

36) Nutmeg & Clove, Singapore 

35) Junglebird, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

34) The Wise King, Hong Kong

33) The Pontiac, Hong Kong

32) The Cocktail Club, Jakarta, Indonesia (Best Bar in Indonesia)  

31) Sago House, Singapore

30) Home, New Delhi, India (New Entry) 

29) Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu and Best Bar in Malaysia) 

28) Bar Cham, Seoul, Korea

27) Tippling Club, Singapore 

26) Hoots’ New Delhi, India (New Entry) 

25) Bar Trench, Tokyo, Japan

24) Aha Saloon, Taipei, Taiwan

23) Atlas, Singapore

22) Penicillin, Hong Kong 

21) The SG Club, Tokyo, Japan

20) Lamp Bar, Nara, Japan

19) Vesper, Bangkok Thailand 

18) Hope & Sesame in Guangzhou, China

17) Tropic City in Bangkok

16) Quinary, Hong Kong

15) No Sleep Club, Singapore

14) Sidecar, New Delhi, India

13) Darkside, Hong Kong

12) Republic, Singapore

11) China (The Best Bar in Mainland China) 

10) BKK Social Club, Bangkok, Thailand (Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award and Best Bar in Thailand) 

9) Manhattan, Singapore

8) MO Bar, Singapore (Nikka Highest Climber Award) 

7) Charles H, Seoul (The Best Bar in Korea)

6) Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, Taiwan (The Best Bar in Taiwan)

5) Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo, Japan (Rémy Martin Legend of the List and The Best Bar in Japan)

4) Tesouro, Colvá, India (London Essence Best New Opening and Best Bar in India) 

3) Argo, Hong Kong (Disaronno Highest New Entry) 

2) Jigger & Pony, Singapore (The Best Bar in Singapore) 

1) Coa, Hong Kong (The Best Bar in Hong Kong) 

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