And just like that, we have rolled into the second quarter of 2021 and as the world waits to be inoculated, we also can’t help thinking about where we will want to grab that first ice cold martini and how that might feel.
It’s that time of the year when we stand shoulder to shoulder (metaphorically, of course) with the bartending world and let them know we take cognisance of their struggle through these unprecedented times. Of all the words we have overused and abused through the pandemic, the one that I now consciously refrain from using is “resilience”, for that would imply recovery – and we are a long way from that. But what I do know is that the bar community across the world has a tendency to not back down and so, it’s time to laud them for their perseverance.
With the 6th edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars list ready to be unveiled via a digital ceremony on May 6th, 2021, the sentiment is palpable – the community that thrives on lifting each other up is looking forward to seeing this year’s list and there is a collective understanding that the more light we shine on the positive news, the more we will strive for positivity.
This year’s countdown will be preceded by a series of special award announcements in the month leading up to the digital ceremony, including the unveiling of those bars ranked from No.51 to No.100 for the first time on 29th April. The 51-100 list comes as a welcome move to be able to shine some light on the extended family of the Top 50 Bars who deserve a mention for their consistently exceptional work and efforts in creating a thriving ecosystem of world class bars in the continent.
50 Best Bars is also launching Breaking The Ice, a video content series showcasing frank and honest discussions between Asia’s top bartenders on how they will be tackling this vital recovery phase and what they have learned over recent months. This series is expected to air between May 2nd and 4th, preceding the final countdown on the 6th.
As always, there will be a declaration of the special awards announced in the month leading up to the virtual awards ceremony on May 6th. These include:
- Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, an accolade given to the bar that has offered outstanding service to its guest in the past 18 months – To be announced on 1st April
- Mancino Bartenders’ Bartender, as voted for by the bartenders from the establishments on the 2021 list – To be announced on 8th April
- Campari One To Watch, which recognises a bar that has the potential to break into Asia’s 50 Best Bars in future years – To be announced on 15th April
- Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award, an award that recognises a bar’s outstanding commitment to sustainable practices – To be announced on 22nd April
Asia has shown a special sense of community over the years, and in particular through the pandemic. Bartenders and owners across the continent have continued to engage with peers and customers, be it through home delivery of cocktail kits, online workshops, Q&A’s, and even remote collaborations and fundraisers. The intertwined network of trade and consumers in Asia is exemplary of the power of engagement – Asian bars are well known and loved for embracing their guests and making them feel a part of their journey behind the bar through extensive sharing and inclusivity. The blurred line between two sides of the bar is evident when you walk into some of our favourite bars on the continent – always respectful and always inclusive. It is this spirit that deserves positive reinforcement and we are looking forward to see what this year’s Asia’s 50 Best has in store for us.
Bars and cocktail lovers are invited to join the digital countdown of the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021, beginning at 6pm HK/Singapore time (3.30pm India; 5pm Thailand; 7 pm Japan), through The World’s 50 Best Bars Facebook page and 50 Best Bars TV YouTube channel.
Priyanka Blah is the founder and editor of The Dram Attic. She has spent the last decade discovering the world of bars through extensive travel, and has been chronicling the evolution of the drinks industry from both sides of the bar, paying particular attention to guest experience, menu innovations, and creativity.
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