The Best Bar in Asia Is Hong Kong’s Coa — Again

Singapore and Hong Kong dominated the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list of 2023, but Japan, which fully reopened last year after the pandemic, came in strong.

(Bloomberg) — Coa continued its reign as the best bar in Asia as the Hong Kong watering hole was number one once again on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.

Jigger & Pony in Singapore was No. 2 in the awards announced Tuesday night at a live event in Hong Kong.

It’s the first time since 2019 that the ceremony has been held with all borders in the region re-opened after the Covid-19 pandemic. For the past two years, organizers tweaked the voting rules to acknowledge that people couldn’t travel as widely. Japan reopened its borders to vaccinated visitors in October.

Coa has taken the top spot for three years running. The lounge highlights Mexican cocktails and agave spirits. Earlier this year the team behind it opened The Savory Project, where drinks steer away from the sweet side of the spectrum, and have names like Teriyaki and Thai Beef Salad. 

“Every single drink has a little bit of Asia in it — like our Bitter Melon Collins,” said Coa co-founder Jay Khan. The bar focuses on consistency and constantly bringing in new things, he said, as well as “making sure everybody has a good time.” 

Singapore bars took the most spots on the list with 11, followed by Hong Kong with eight. Seven bars in Japan made the list, including five in Tokyo.

“Asia’s bars continue to push the envelope when it comes to fabulous drinking experiences,” said Mark Sansom, director of content for Asia’s 50 Best Bars. “That is evident from the talent and creativity on display at the bars on this year’s list from cities across the continent.”

Special awards announced prior to the event included the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, which went to Singapore’s Sago House.

Jigger & Pony won the Remy Martin Legend of the List Award, which Jigger & Pony Group co-founder Indra Kantono said “is extra special and showed the consistency and drive of our team, not to simply stay put, but to always improve and stay true.” 

The Altos Bartenders’ Bartender crown, the only peer-voted award in Asia’s 50 Best Bars, went to Beckaly Franks, whose The Pontiac in Hong Kong operates with an all-female team.

“We’re just a bar that that hopefully owns our space,” Franks said. “It’s whatever you want it to be. It focuses on amazing spirits, inclusivity and the female.”

The list of bars ranked 51 through 100 was announced last week, featuring establishments in 22 cities. Names there include Charles H from Seoul at No. 51, Taipei’s To Infinity and Beyond at No. 52 and Franks’s The Pontiac at 53. Singapore’s entries in that list include Ryan Clift’s Tippling Club at No. 63 and The Elephant Room at No. 64, while Kuala Lumpur’s Jungle Bird came in at No. 55 and Tokyo’s Gold Bar took No. 56.

This is the eighth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars. The platform is owned and operated by the UK-based William Reed Business Media, which also produces the World’s 50 Best Bars and Restaurants lists. The rankings are based on the votes of about 260 people that have been identified as experts on Asia’s bar scene.

Here are the winners, with last year’s place in parentheses. A new appearance on the list is marked by an asterisk.

1. Coa, Hong Kong (1)

2. Jigger & Pony, Singapore (2)

3. BKK Social Club, Bangkok, Thailand (10)

4. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo, Japan (5)

5. Zest, Seoul, Korea (48)

6. Tropic City, Bangkok, Thailand (17)

7. Nutmeg & Clove, Singapore (36)

8. Argo, Hong Kong (3)

9. Darkside, Hong Kong (13)

10. Sago House, Singapore (31)

11. Indulge Experimental Bistro, Taipei, Taiwan (6)

12. Vesper, Bangkok, Thailand (19)

13. Cham Bar, Seoul, Korea (28)

14. The SG Club, Tokyo, Japan (21)

15. Analogue Initiative, Singapore (37)

16. Republic, Singapore (12)

17. The Aubrey, Hong Kong (38)

18. Sidecar, New Delhi, India (14)

19. The Cocktail Club, Jakarta, Indonesia (32)

20. Virtu, Tokyo, Japan (*)

21. Manhattan, Singapore (9)

22. Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, Bangkok, Thailand (*)

23. Lamp Bar, Nara, Japan (20)

24. 28 HongKong Street, Singapore (49)

25. Le Chamber, Seoul, Korea (39)

26. Penicillin, Hong Kong (22)

27. Atlas, Singapore (23)

28. Alice, Seoul, Korea (40)

29. Pantja, Jakarta, Indonesia (*)

30. Employees Only, Singapore (*)

31. Quinary, Hong Kong (16)

32. Stay Gold Flamingo, Singapore (*)

33. Mostly Harmless, Hong Kong (*)

34. The Curator, Manila, Philippines (*)

35. The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai, India (*)

36. Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (29)

37. Southside Parlor, Seoul, South Korea (*)

38. Copitas, Bengaluru, India (44)

39. Hope & Sesame, Guangzhou, China (18)

40. Smoke & Bitters, Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka (42)

41. Vender, Taichung, Taiwan (*)

42. Native, Singapore, Singapore (*)

43. The Public House, Taipei, Taiwan (*)

44. Bee’s Knees, Kyoto, Japan (47)

45. High Five, Tokyo, Japan (*)

46. Soko, Seoul, South Korea (*)

47. The Old Man, Hong Kong (*)

48. Living Room, Mumbai, India (*)

49. The Bellwood, Tokyo, Japan (*)

50. Penrose, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (*)

–With assistance from Kate Krader.

(Adds quote from Jigger & Pony.)

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