In the midst of the pandemic, two PHL bars make it to Asia’s Best Bars list

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YOU may not be able to visit them anytime soon, but two Philippine bars made it to the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars which William Reed Business Media released via Facebook Live last week.

Considering the pandemic, the formerly grand party that would have launched the list was replaced instead with a webcast. Mark Sansom, Content Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Bars said, “Even though we don’t yet know when we will be able to share a few drinks together again, we can almost imagine how sweet the first few moments would be.”

It’s strange to think of bars when several cities are still under lockdown. “We decided that the hard work that the bars and their teams put in over the last 18 months deserves to be appreciated,” said Mr. Sansom. “Today’s list is not a celebration; the objective is one of recognition.”

Mr. Sansom also announced the launch of 50 Best for Recovery, which aims to raise money and awareness to help the hospitality industry get up after the pandemic.

“The hospitality world will come through this crisis. The bonds we’ve forged over the years are too strong to break. The community is too tight to allow a virus to come between us for long.”

The Philippines has two entries on the list this year. Coming in at 45 and 42, respectively, are The Back Room (at Shangri-La at The Fort), and The Curator (in Legazpi Village). The Curator also takes home the distinction of being the Best Bar in the Philippines for 2020. The World’s 50 Best Bars website goes on to say: “Third-wave coffee by day and kick-ass cocktails by night is a winning combination, judging by the popularity of this cool bar. Staff treat ingredients with the utmost respect, whether it’s coffee beans or small-batch spirits, attracting a young, up-for-it crowd of cocktail lovers and caffeine fiends.” (Read more about The Curator and other “hidden bars” at

Jigger & Pony in Singapore earned the top spot at this year’s list. “Its fun-time ethos and relaxed style of hospitality is complemented by an excellent classic drinks list, as the bar goes about its business in a refreshingly old-school way,” said the list.

The complete list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars follows:

1. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)

2. The Old Man (Hong Kong, China)

3. Coa (Hong Kong, China)

4. Indulge Experimental Bistro (Taipei, Taiwan)

5. Atlas (Singapore)

6. Native (Singapore)

7. The Bamboo Bar at Mandarin Oriental (Bangkok, Thailand)

8. Manhattan (Singapore)

9. The SG Club (Tokyo, Japan)

10. Aha Saloon (Taipei, Taiwan)

11. Vesper (Bangkok, Thailand)

12. Sober Company (Shanghai, China)

13. Bar Mood (Taipei, Taiwan)

14. Bar Trigona (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

15. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo, Japan)

16. Quinary (Hong Kong, China)

17. Tippling Club (Singapore)

18. The Wise King (Hong Kong, China)

19. Speak Low (Shanghai, China)

20. High Five (Tokyo, Japan)

21. Bee’s Knees (Kyoto, Japan)

22. The Old Man (Singapore)

23. D.Bespoke (Singapore)

24. Tropic City (Bangkok, Thailand)

25. Gibson (Singapore)

26. Draft Land (Taipei, Taiwan)

27. Room By Le Kief (Taipei, Taiwan)

28. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Hong Kong, China)

29. Charles H (Seoul, South Korea)

30. 28 HongKong Street (Singapore)

31. Rabbit Hole (Bangkok, Thailand)

32. Nutmeg & Clove (Singapore)

33. Backstage Cocktail Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)

34. Caprice Bar (Hong Kong, China)

35. The Pontiac (Hong Kong, China)

36. Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou, China)

37. Junglebird (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

38. The Odd Couple (Shanghai, China)

39. Bar Trench (Tokyo, Japan)

40. Sidecar (New Delhi, India)

41. Bar Orchard Ginza (Tokyo, Japan)

42. The Curator (Manila, Philippines)

43. Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar (Jakarta, Indonesia)

44. Lobster Bar & Grill (Hong Kong, China)

45. The Back Room (Manila, Philippines)

46. MO Bar (Singapore)

47. Alice (Seoul, South Korea)

48. Coley (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

49. Le Chamber (Seoul, South Korea)

50. Bar Cham (Seoul, South Korea)

Joseph L. Garcia