Of the 13 years that the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards has been running, London bars have won 10 times. The other three years, bars in New York have taken the crown. All that came to an end last night with the first European bar to take top spot: Barcelona’s Paradiso.
The hidden Spanish speakeasy is concealed in the El Born district in an unassuming pastrami shop. Drinkers slip behind an antique refrigerator to find themselves in an opulent Antoni Gaudi-inspired bar room. Signature serves include ‘supercooled’ martinis created like an “iceberg in a glass”, and served in glassware which comes in all manner of unusual shapes and sizes.
Unlike London’s top bars, where a simple negroni can set you back as much as £18, the average price of a drink at Paradiso is around 12 euros.
“I just don’t believe it, I’m reminded of all the hard work we did in the past seven years – it’s amazing,” Paradiso’s creative-in-chief and co-owner Giacomo Giannotti said at the ceremony. He added that “passion” was the secret to the bar’s success.
“It’s the best recognition we could get, ever, for us, our work, our team, for all our clients, it’s such an honour,” said Margarita Sader, Gianotti’s business partner and wife.
It was a big night for Barcelona, with the city also taking the number three and number seven slots in the top 10, with Sips and Two Schmucks respectively.
By contrast, London only held two spots in the top 10: Tayēr + Elementary on Old Street came in at number two and last year’s number one, the Connaught Bar by Hyde Park landed at number eight. New York also had two bars in the top 10: first-time entry Double Chicken Please and Katana Kitten.
While UK cocktail fans might be disappointed to have lost the number one bar in the world, London is still considered “the cocktail capital of Europe” with five in the top 50: Tayer + Elementary, the Connaught Bar, new entry Satan’s Whiskers at number 23, Swift at number 30, and second new entry A Bar with Shapes for a Name at number 37. The only individual city with more entries in the top 50 was New York, with six.
Despite the name, the World’s 50 Best Bars also creates a wider list each year of the top 100 and there’s more UK success on there too. Three further London bars: Three Sheets (72), Side Hustle (75), and Donovan Bar (89); as well as Schofield’s in Manchester (59), the first time that city’s bars have ever appeared on the list.
The World’s 50 Best Bars list is compiled by a group of 650 drinks industry experts, including writers, cocktail connoisseurs, and bartenders. The voting panel is regarded as a real who’s who of the trade, though it has been criticised in the past for its narrow focus: popular tourist cities where voters are more likely to flock to are almost guaranteed to get more votes, while cities whose bar scene is just as good, albeit less visited (Manchester and Leeds spring to mind) struggle for votes.
The World's 50 Best Bars 2022
Tayēr + Elementary, London
Sips, Barcelona (also won Highest Climber Award, previously at number 37 in 2021)
Licorería Limantour, Mexico City (also won the Legend Of The List award as the best performing bar which has maintained its place in the list since 2009, also Best Bar in North America)
Little Red Door, Paris (also won Sustainable Bar Award)
Double Chicken Please, New York (also won Highest New Entry award)
Two Schmucks, Barcelona
Connaught Bar, London (head bartender Agostino Perrone won the Industry Icon Award)
Katana Kitten, New York
Alquímico, Cartagena (head bartender Jean Trinh won the Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2022, also Best Bar in South America)
Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City
Jigger & Pony, Singapore (Best Bar in Asia)
Hanky Panky, Mexico City (Also won the Art Of Hospitality Award 2022)
BKK Social Club, Bangkok (Also won the Best New Opening Award 2022)
Salmon Guru, Madrid
Drink Kong, Rome
Coa, Hong Kong
Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
The Clumsies, Athens
Baba au Rum, Athens
Café La Trova, Miami
Attaboy, New York
Satan's Whiskers, London
Tropic City, Bangkok
Sidecar, New Delhi
Tres Monos, Buenos Aires
Argo, Hong Kong
Maybe Sammy, Sydney (Best Bar in Australasia)
Baltra Bar, Mexico City
Overstory, New York
Dante, New York
A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London
Zuma, Dubai (Best Bar in the Middle East and Africa)
Locale Firenze, Florence
Red Frog, Lisbon
Cantina OK!, Sydney
CoChinChina, Buenos Aires
Galaxy Bar, Dubai
Employees Only, New York
Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
Lucy's Flower Shop, Stockholm
Bulgari Bar, Dubai