The ‘world’ in The World’s 50 Finest Bars record has lengthy been the Awards’ energy – no different record has higher uncovered standout venues from such a large geographical unfold. But there was at all times one inescapable reality: over the 13 lists The World’s Finest Bar had at all times been between London or New York. Certainly, by no means had there been a bar from outdoors of those two cities in second place both.
For a very long time, that wasn’t controversial. London and New York had lengthy been the place expertise gravitated – super-leagues, if you’ll, the place the cash rolled and bartending ambitions have been sated. These aggressive taking part in discipline propagated world-class bars and few argued that the awards winners from 2009-2021 – Milk & Honey London, PDT, Artesian, Lifeless Rabbit, American Bar on the Savoy, Dandelyan, Dante and Connaught Bar – weren’t the very best round, no matter the place they referred to as house.
Nicely, the world has been catching up these previous years. Whereas these two hubs have energy and depth, scenes the world over have emerged with bars and bartending expertise that may combine it with the very best. And so to 2022 and a primary for the record: Barcelona is now house to the 2022 World’s Finest Bar, and that bar is Paradiso. It’s not alone within the high 10 both – from the identical metropolis is third-placed Sips and Two Schmucks in seventh.
Paradiso has been climbing the record ever because it debuted in 2018, and it was final yr that it made the leap into the higher reaches of the record. From third to first was at all times an achievable step, notably given its location in a rising cocktail scene frequented usually by Academy judges. Nevertheless it’s additionally true that few would have put it because the favorite in opposition to final yr’s winner Connaught Bar and runner up Tayer + Elementary for the winner’s medal in 2022.
What makes a world’s greatest bar?
If that’s the chicken’s-eye view, what about down on the bottom, the bars themselves. What does it take to be named world’s greatest bar? We will take it with no consideration that these bars have nice service, glowing décor and finely tuned advertising and marketing – Paradiso isn’t any slouch right here – however what about their method to drinks? It’s debatable that six of the 9 earlier winners have foundations in a classical model, tying the knot between historical past and modernity. The three exceptions are Dandeylan, Artesian, the four-time winner from 2012-2015, and this yr’s champion, Paradiso. Right here, the forex is much less rooted in custom, and within the circumstances of Artesian and Paradiso, the presentation of cocktails turned nearly as essential because the liquids themselves. Inside this model, drinks are usually framed round dialog items, that increase the consuming expertise, and so they usually include the grand unveiling of recent, ever-wondrous menus. Paradiso’s win reminds us that the theatrical drinks development has not completely made approach for ingredient-centric cocktails and aesthetically minimalist serves. The queues popping out of Paradiso on a nightly foundation proves that liquid leisure stays a promote.
From right here the highest 10 throws up extra surprises. Having planted its flag on the summit for 2 years, Connaught Bar dropped down and far more steeply that anybody may have predicted – ending in eighth. Why? With no massive modifications to providing and personnel on the bar, it’s exhausting to say, solely that it’s slippery on the high – only one bar, Artesian, has managed greater than two wins on the spin.
Monica Berg and Alex Kratena’s Tayer + Elementary, which leads on lots of the trendy developments (suppose minimalist serves, ingredient-led, sustainable/seasonal cocktails), in the meantime stayed in second. No one however the number-crunchers at 50 Finest is aware of how shut it was between the highest two, however you sense it was a great combat between bars that provide opposing approaches to cocktails.