Why do hotel bars dominate the top of “The World’s 50 Best Bars” list? It’s the atmosphere baby!
Each of the world’s top five bars is located in one of the world’s most celebrated hotels. Coincidence? Hardly.
In each instance, the hotels have strived to design unique spaces that enchant guests, often by drawing on the history of their locale.
How the world’s best bars are selected
For the past decade, trade publisher William Reed has helped produce “The Worlds 50 Best Bars” to celebrate the world’s top drinking destinations. More than 500 writers, bartenders and other “experts” cast seven votes to determine the winners based on their best bar experiences over the preceding 18 months. At least three of the bars must be outside their country of residence.
The voters are selected to ensure representation of destinations worldwide William Reed says shared a certain level of “development and sophistication.” Europe is represented by 150 voters, followed by 140 voters based throughout Western Hemisphere with the balance coming from Asia.
In a world obsessed with metrics and transparency, William Reed has allowed “The World’s 50 Best Bars” to remain a gloriously subjective exercise. Voters identities are kept secret and they are not required to use common criteria when making their selection. They are simply asked to name the seven bars they enjoyed most.
William Reed also publishes The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
The bar/hotel connection doesn’t surprise Hotel Management magazine, which has covered the hospitality industry for 140 years. In their article on the 2017 edition of the Top 50 bars list, the publication described noted all the bars as destinations in their own right.
In its coverage, Travel + Leisure noted that the dominance of bar hotels shows how successful hotels have been at transforming their bars from stuffy lounges “where businessmen gather for a drink before going to bed” to places locals go to find “the best parties in town. The experience isn’t just the cocktail,” the magazine reported.
So, without further ado, the winners were:
2018’s top bar is Dandelyan, located in London’s Mondrian hotel. Walking into the bar is like slipping aboard an Art Deco luxury cruise liner, where you’re greeted by lavender leather banquettes, velour lounge chairs, deep green walls, and an exquisite dark green marble bar. Of course, the tables are mirrored. The unique sense of style will follow you right to your room. Designer Tom Dixon had his hand in both the bar and the guestrooms. Think 1920s transatlantic liner meets Hollywood glamor with a floral-inspired cocktail list.
Not one to rest on his laurels, the creative genius behind Dandelyan recently announced plans to close it March 15 after a four-year run that including winning many prestigious awards, so he and his team can keep it fresh.
2. American Bar
It took the top spot the previous year, but currently, American Bar, located in London’s Savoy Hotel, claims the number two ranking. Old meets new here. You may be coaxed to try a just-created mix by your bartender, but you’ll be surrounded by celebrity portraits made by British photographer Terry O’Neill. Magic and mixology comingle when you’re handed a cocktail menu inspired by the celebrities portrayed, which are served on coasters designed to look like a camera shutter.
Described as a quixotic combination of Art Deco and traditional Edwardian architecture, The Savoy Hotel has been closely associated with London’s theater scene for much of its 130-year history.
Manhattan, located in the Regent Singapore Hotel, was awarded the honor as the third best bar in the world for 2018. The bar used leather and colors to transport guest from Singapore to the unmistakable glamor and sophistication of the Big Apple’s Golden Age. You can get playful with a boozy milkshake, or pay a visit to the American Whiskey Embassy - a separate room housing more than 200 rare and collectible bottles.
The bar helps round out the Regent Singapore Hotel, which was designed to reflect the mix of ethnicities and aesthetics and colonial heritage of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
4. NoMad Bar
This watering hole shares the name of the boutique New York City hotel where it’s located. NoMad Bar is a rambling space filled with dark wood, greens, and golds. It’s hard to tell where the NoMad bar begins and ends because one side spills into a library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Yet in another direction, you come across green booths that face an arching bar that always bustling.
5. Connaught Bar
Located in an eponymous hotel in the Mayfair neighborhood of London, the Connaught Bar rounds out the top five bars on the list. Cubist art punctuates walls textured in platinum silver leaf. It’s time travel, and you’ve just landed circa 1920. The cocktail menu consists of concoctions created since the bar opened a decade ago.
You could say that The Connaught is a boutique hotel designed around an art collection. More than 3,000 pieces can be found throughout the hotel. Guest rooms and signature suites offer 21st Century amenities whimsically mixed with a royal history ranging back to 1815.
So why are the best bars located in hotels?
It’s more than the recipe for the martini – or any cocktail for that matter. We don’t drink with our eyes closed. Hotels – especially boutique hotels – understand how to communicate purpose through design. It is why hotel bars tend to be the only place where patrons are just as satisfied by their surroundings as the concoction in their frosty glass.
Beachwood Custom specializes in sourcing top quality custom furniture and finishes for boutique and premier hotels. Why not contact Beachwood Custom today to see how we can help your hotel bar become one of the best in the world?