A sip of class and skill in Asia’s top-ranked bars
This year, Drinks International will publish its first regional
spin-off of the World’s 50 Best Bars, with the launch of Asia’s 50 Best
Bars. A poll of Asia’s top bar experts, Asia’s 50 Best Bars will be
published on worlds50bestbars.com and distributed with the April issue
of Drinks International magazine.
Bar professionals from almost 20 Asian countries are invited to take part in voting.
of the announcement of their first Asia’s 50 Best Bars ranking on March
31, Drinks International has revealed some of the bars that will make
up the 2016 list.
The world’s top bars 28 Hong Kong Street,
Manhattan, Jigger & Pony and Sugarhall from the regional cocktail
hub Singapore are named on the list, as was expected.
Shanghai, there are some good news, too, as Constellation I, Speak Low
and Union Trading Company have been confirmed as having made the cut.
Yoyo He and Zhang Yang toured the three bars to find out why they deserve to be in the ranking.
is a neighborhood-style cocktail bar located in the former French
concession area in town. The cocktails here span from the golden age of
bartending when drinking was a necessity, to current innovative
concoctions using modern techniques and sensibilities.
sticks to a seasonal rotational menu schedule with a menu that changes
every three to four months. At the end of the day, the staff tries to
connect with people through drinks and food, as the name of the bar
“We are not fancy or prestigious, but we are able to
provide a unique product through connections between our bartenders and
our guests. I think that is why we get on the list,” Yao Lu, co-owner of
the Union Trading Co, said. “We provide very simple things, great
drinks, great food and great conversation, and I think those things
resonates with people.”
Apart from seasonal cocktails, the bar also serves delicious small plates inspired by classic bar food. “All
the people you see working here are the exact same people who built
this bar with us two years ago when we started this project, everyone
works in sync and all have a desire to provide hospitality,” Lu says.
says that he was humbled to have made the cut and thanked the experts
who voted for Union Trading Company. “It only means we have to work
extra hard to continuously prove we are worth their trust.”
opened less than two years ago, it made Drinks International’s list of
top 50 bars in Asia. Located inside a garden house with four floors, it
actually has three distinct bars in one building with American decor of
the 1920s. It has attracted bartenders from around the world and has a
penchant for jazz. There’s even a tiny shop selling bartender tools and
This venue is owned by mixologist Shingo Gokan and
named after the cocktail he used to win the Bacardi Global Legacy
Cocktail Competition. Behind a bookcase in a shop selling bartending
equipment is the main entrance to the first bar on the second floor.
on Xinle Road, it is a place that transports you to a different place
and time the moment you walk in. It has an extensive drink list with all
kinds of whiskeys served by professional bartenders. This dim,
rectangular bar is frequented by patrons who like its atmosphere, prices
and service. Constellation now has four outlets in the city.
Top cocktail creation by Shanghai bartender
Great bartenders don’t just know how to recreate the classics, but
come up with new drinks of their own that are so popular they make it
onto the drinks menus of other bars. “Tiki Time,” created by Shanghai
bartender David Hong, is one such example.
superior rum as alcoholic base, Hong adds lemongrass lime juice, coconut
cream, angostura and soda to boost its fresh flavor and aroma.
served at some of Asia’s top 50 bars — 28 Hong Kong, which topped the
list in 2016, Manhattan, Jigger & Pony, D. Bespoke, Sugarhall and
Anti:Dote, all located in Singapore, and Janes & Hooch in Beijing.
28 Hong Kong and Manhattan also made it on the world’s top 50 bars list.
If you itch for a taste of the refreshing drink, there’s no need to board a flight to the lion city.
Time” is also available in Shanghai, at E.P.I.C on Gaoyou Road, The
Public on Xiangyang Road S. and the U Way on Xizang Road S.
Hong was the first Chinese bartender who was invited to the Paris
Cocktail Week as guest bartender a month ago. As one of the only three
remaining contestants from Shanghai at the annual Bacardi Legacy
Cocktail Competition, Hong was invited to guest bartend at events around
Asia’s and Europe’s top bars, which took him on a more than
40,000-kilometer long journey.