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asia's 50 best 2021
Photograph: TA

Hong Kong's Coa wins top spot at Asia's 50 Best Bars 2021

It's official Hong Kong has Asia's best bar

By
Tatum Ancheta
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Tonight was a big one for the Hong Kong bar scene as Oaxaca-inspired bar Coa nabs the top spot at the recently concluded Asia's 50 Best Bars 2021 award ceremony. Streamed live for the second year in a row, the award ceremony was presented by TV host Anita Kapoor and Asia's 50 Best Bars content editor Mark Sansom. The list honoured bars from 10 countries across Asia featuring eight new entries, and China getting the most number of featured venues with 13 spots. 

Coa’s winning team

The 2021 list recognises nine Hong Kong bars. Four new entries that made it on the list are Rosewood Hong Kong's flagship bar DarkSide debuting at number 40, bar industry veterans Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale's (previously from The Old Man Hong Kong, number one Asia's Best Bars 2019) 'closed-loop' bar Penicillin at number 30 – also landing the Best Sustainable Bar in Asia award – tea-tail bar Tell Camellia at number 23, and newly opened American-style cocktail bar The Diplomat ranking at number 20 and also winning the Best New Opening award. Four Seasons Hong Kong's Caprice Bar is one of the highest climbers on the list, bagging this year's 10th place. The other bars that made it on the list are Quinary (25th and Legend of the List awardee), The Wise King (28th), and The Pontiac (26th). 

“We want to extend our heartiest congratulations to all the bars named in the list,” shares Sansom. “We hope that the announcement of the 2021 ranking – as well as the publication, for the first time, of those ranked from 51 to 100 – will provide optimism and encouragement to all bars as travel routes gradually open up and guests begin to plan their next fine-drinking experiences. It is a well-deserved debut win for Coa and credit goes to Jay Khan and his team who have proven themselves to be at the heart of the continent’s cocktail culture. The bar serves a perfect blend of subtle agave education, relaxed vibes and a simply fantastic drinks list. This, combined with the great work they have been doing to support their community throughout the pandemic, makes Coa a bona fide number one this year,” he adds. 

"Oh it's unreal!" says Coa's co-founder Jay Khan. "We were not expecting to make it to the top list. It's definitely an honour to represent the city and the region. This means a lot to us. We have a bar, and we are still open," he adds. "We're going to run the bar as usual, and we'll see where it leads us!" 

During the ceremony, Sansom announces that 2022 will see the Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards ceremony back in Singapore. “We look forward to holding a physical awards ceremony not only to celebrate and recognise the best in the business when the situation improves, but to bring together bartenders, bar owners, drinks writers and cocktail aficionados from around the world,” says Sansom. “We are hopeful that the ongoing vaccine roll-out will allow the bar community to take this opportunity to reunite in Singapore next year," he ends.

Here is the complete list of Asia's 50 Best Bars 2020 winners:

  1. COA, Hong Kong, China (Best Bar in Asia)
  2. Jigger & Pony, Singapore (Best Bar in Singapore)
  3. The SG Club, Tokyo, Japan (Best Bar in Japan)
  4. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, Taiwan (Best Bar in Taiwan)
  5. Sober Company, Shanghai, China
  6. Manhattan, Singapore
  7. Atlas, Singapore
  8. No Sleep Club, Singapore (Highest New Entry) 
  9. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo, Japan
  10. Caprice, Hong Kong, China (Highest Climber)
  11. The Bamboo Bar, Bangkok, Thailand (Best Bar in Thailand) 
  12. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Best Bar in Malaysia)
  13. Charles. H Seoul, South Korea (Best Bar in Korea)
  14. Native, Singapore
  15. Hope & Sesame, Guangzhou, China
  16. Sidecar, New Delhi, India (Highest Climber and Best Bar in India)
  17. Bar Mood, Taipei, Taiwan
  18. Bee's Knees, Kyoto, Japan
  19. Room By Le Kief, Taipei, Taiwan
  20. The Diplomat, Hong Kong, China (Best New Opening)
  21. 28 HongKong Street, Singapore
  22. Tropic City, Bangkok, Thailand
  23. Tell Camellia, Hong Kong, China (New Entry)
  24. AHA Saloon, Taipei, Taiwan
  25. Quinary, Hong Kong, China (Legend of the List)
  26. The Pontiac, Hong Kong, China
  27. High Five, Tokyo, Japan
  28. The Wise King, Hong Kong, China
  29. Barbary Coast, Singapore (New Entry)
  30. Penicillin, Hong Kong, China (New Entry)
  31. Union Trading Co, Shanghai, China (Re-entry)
  32. Speak Low, Shanghai, China
  33. Union Brasserie, Bakery and Bar, Jakarta, Indonesia (Best Bar in Indonesia)
  34. Bar Cham, Seoul, South Korea
  35. Backstage, Bangkok, Thailand
  36. Tippling Club, Singapore
  37. JungleBird, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  38. The Curator, Manila, Philippines (Best Bar in the Philippines) 
  39. D.Bespoke, Singapore
  40. Darkside, Hong Kong, China (New Entry)
  41. Alice, Seoul, South Korea
  42. The Old Man, Singapore
  43. Bar Trench, Tokyo, Japan
  44. Le Chamber, Seoul
  45. MO Bar, Singapore
  46. Vesper Bangkok, Thailand
  47. Three X Co, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, (New Entry)
  48. Teens of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand (Re-entry)
  49. Sago House, Singapore
  50. Star Bar, Tokyo, Japan (Re-entry)     

The Asia's 50 Best Bars is an annual bar ranking voted by more than 200 drinks experts from across the Asian continent. Watch the 2021 live ceremony via Youtube.   

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