Like clockwork, the team behind these many annual “World’s Best 50” lists have lifted the curtain on one of their most popular roundups – a deep dive into Asia’s 50 best bars. for 2022. And given that the world is now hopping around as travel returns, it’s time to take stock of the best cocktail bars in Asia with a good old fashioned ranking system. As always, it was put together by a panel of esteemed industry experts tasked with singling out the details to make these 50 bars a cut above the many other cocktail bars dotted around major Asian cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Shanghai. .
Coa, which is one of two bars in Hong Kong to land a top five spot, is headlining again. The other, Argo, comes in at number three and is the highest entry on the list, echoing the strength of Hong Kong’s bar scene despite the region’s salient and lingering issues.
Although few Australian travelers have Hong Kong on their radar right now, it’s hard to deny just how strong Coa has become over the years. The Mexican-influenced cocktail bar, which favors agave spirits, topped the list last year and ranked no. 7 in the wider list of the 50 best bars in the world 2021.
This gives Coa a distinction that very few bars in Asia claim outside of Singapore’s eternally award-winning Manhattan. Hong Kong Tequila and Mezcal Bar is now the second bar to top the list of Asia’s Top 50 Bars in consecutive years. Manhattan became first when the Singapore bar, located in the Regent Hotel, topped the list in 2017 and 2018.
Due to pandemic restrictions, the ranking system was a bit different this year compared to previous editions. The votes from the panel of industry experts took into account experiences throughout the voting period from June 2020 to January this year.
That could explain the inconsistencies between this region-specific list and the 2021 World’s Best 50 Bars list that was released late last year. As mentioned, Coa flipped to no. 7 on the list, followed by Singapore’s Jigger & Pony at no. 9. That makes sense, given that the widely acclaimed Singapore Bar Association came in at no. 2 on this Asia-specific list.
What doesn’t make sense is that Singapore’s Manhattan was the next Asian bar on the global list, at no. 15. Here he barely scratches the top ten, ranking at no. 9 behind Singapore’s MO Bar, which is downstairs at no. 36 in the world list.
I understand. Different voting periods and probably different panel members, but it goes to show that while these lists still serve as great beacons of culture, the ranking part of the equation shouldn’t be taken so seriously.
The 50 Best Bars in Asia panel is made up of around 220 people who have been hand-picked based on their expertise in the Asian bar scene.
Voters on the panel were asked to nominate up to five law societies from their own country or region, although they were also allowed to vote for two additional law societies outside their country or region. That’s a total of seven bars submitted by each member, and it’s always unclear who is actually voting, so as always, take the list seriously but take the ranking system with a grain of salt.
Clearly, Hong Kong and Singapore are the reigning champions of the list with everything from theatrical hotel bars to themed cocktail bars, making the two cities Asia’s leaders in cocktail culture. Many other Chinese cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou seem to have fallen out of favor over the years, as well as dynamic Bangkok in Thailand, which tends to be more represented on such lists.
What’s interesting is that Japan has quite a few entries on this list, but not all of them from Tokyo. Lamp Bar in Nara (where the famous deer park is located) is the second highest Japanese cocktail to make the list, making just a crack in the top 20. Although higher up is Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich, which this year also has the distinction of releasing the Rémy Martin Legend of the List Award.
One of my personal favorites, Vesper in Bangkok manages to break into the top 20 at no. 19 and a few other proven favorites are scattered around the middle of the list, such as Atlas in Singapore and Bar Trench in Tokyo.
Read below about the best bars Asia has to offer.
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50 best bars in Asia 
1. It (Hong Kong)
2. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)
3.Argo (Hong Kong)
4. Tesouro (Colva, India)
5. Bar Benfidditch (Tokyo)
6. Treat yourself to an 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. Dark Side (Hong Kong)
14. Sidecar (New Delhi)
15. No Sleep Club (Singapore)
16. Quinary (Hong Kong)
17. Tropic City (Bangkok)
18. Hope and Sesame (Guangzhou)
19. Vesper (Bangkok)
20. Lamp Bar (Nara, Japan)
21. The SG Club (Tokyo)
22. Penicillin (Hong Kong)
23. Atlas (Singapore)
24. Aha Saloon (Taipei)
25. Bars 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. Jungle Bird (Kuala Lumpur)
36. Nutmeg and Clove (Singapore)
37. Analog (Singapore)
38. The Aubrey (Hong Kong)
39. The Chamber (Seoul)
40. Alice (Seoul)
41. Memento Mori (Tokyo)
42. Smoke and Bitters (Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka)
43. Asia Today (Bangkok)
44. Copitas (Bengalore)
45. Union Trading Company (Shanghai)
46. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok)
47. The Bee’s Knees (Kyoto)
48. Zest (Seoul)
49. 28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)
50. Speak Low (Shanghai)