(CNN) – With epidemic travel bans easing in most of the region, the annual Asia’s 50 Best Bar ceremony was held on Thursday evening in front of a live audience for the first time since 2019.
Celebrating the region’s best bars and the people behind them, the 2022 event was held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.
As always, it was a contest between Hong Kong and Singapore for the top spot, with last year’s winner, Coa, taking first place for the second year in a row.
The Hong Kong bar, set in a candle-lit space with industrial-style interiors, is named after a machete-like device used for agave pruning – a plant from which Mexican wine is distilled from mescal and teak. Both of these spirits are found primarily in coana cocktails, including La Paloma di Oxaca, grapefruit-spiced mezcal, and Mexican wine made from teak.
Singapore’s Jigger & Pony, ranked second in the city’s Amara Hotel, was ranked second. Named after the double-cond measuring device used by bartenders, it offers a menu of 24 cocktails – many of them classic drinks such as Yuzu Whiskey Sour, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Yuzu Marmalade, St. Germain, Lemon and Egg White.
Bloody Beef Maria Cocktail from Hong Kong Bar Koa.
Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022
Four Seasons Hong Kong-based Argo ranks third on this year’s list. Its unique cocktail menu includes drinks fueled by spirit innovations such as AI-produced gin and molecular-aged whiskey.
Meanwhile, the only bar in the top 10 that is not based in a big city, Tesoro opened during an epidemic in Kolwana beach village in Goa, India. Number four on this year’s list are cocktails made with Goan-Portuguese design elements and fine rum, craft gin, agave spirit and local Goan-distilled spirit Fanny.
Tokyo’s Bar Benfidich was ranked fifth, Taipei’s Andalus Experimental Bistro was ranked sixth, while Seoul’s Charles H was ranked seventh this year.
Although Singapore has missed out on the top spot, it still has more bars in the top 50 than any other city. Eleven places in the 2022 Asia list are city-state based, including No. 8 this year, MO Bar and the previous number one, Manhattan, which is No. 9 this year.
Bangkok’s new BKK social club, located on the Chao Phraya River for four seasons, has emerged in the top 10 list.
Part of the 50 Best Bars Brands in the World, owned by William Reed Ltd., the list of Asia is based on the votes of the 50 Best Bars Academy in Asia, made up of members from the region’s bar industry, media and mixology experts.
“Asia Bar has shown significant resilience and growth despite the challenges of the last two years, and we are proud to showcase talent and creativity across bars across Asia,” said Mark Sensom, Asia’s 50 Content Director. Best Bars, in a statement.