Singapore stamps its reputation as a serious cocktail destination in Asia with 12 bars securing places on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021 list; new entry No Sleep Club is highest-ever Singapore debutant in the awards’ six-year history.

Singapore continued its winning ways in the latest Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, with 12 Singapore bars claiming spots in the much vaunted awards, up from 11 last year. Jigger & Pony remained Singapore’s top bar at No.2, falling from its pole position back in 2020. Mexican-inspired craft cocktail bar COA of Hong Kong displaced Jigger & Pony to take the ultimate prize, one of 13 bars in China to garner top 50 accolades on the list this year.

But 2021 proved to be the year for small-scale, independently-owned cocktail bars in Singapore, with three non-affiliated establishments rocking to strong debuts on the annual list. Casual gastrobar No Sleep Club – which landed the Campari One To Watch award last year – fulfilled prophecy by rocketing to the No.8 position, the highest-ever new debutant from Singapore in Asia’s 50 Best Bars six-year history. Dual-concept Barbary Coast coasted to the No.29 spot, while dive-y Sago House landed at No.49.

Sago House
Independently-owned cocktail dive bar Sago House opened on an upper floor of a dingy Chinatown shophouse at the start of Singapore’s circuit breaker lockdown in 2020.

The 12 Singapore bars that entered Asia’s 50 Best Bars list this year (vs 2020) are:

  • Jigger & Pony (No.2)/(No.1)
  • Atlas Bar (No.7)/(No.5)
  • No Sleep Club (No.8)/(new entrant)
  • Native (No.14)/(No.6)
  • Manhattan Bar (No.6)/(No.8)
  • Barbary Coast (No.29)/(new entrant)
  • Tippling Club (No.36)/(No.17)
  • The Old Man Singapore (No.42)/(No.22)
  • D.Bespoke (No.39)/(No.23)
  • 28 Hong Kong Street (No.21)/(No.30)
  • MO Bar (No.45)/(No.46)
  • Sago House (No.49)/(new entrant)

The full Asia’s 50 Best Bars list for 2021 can be found here.

Nutmeg & Clove, which came in at No.32 in 2020, fell off the list this year. The cocktail bar was ineligible for consideration, having remained closed for the most part of 2020 due to Singapore’s stringent COVID-19 restrictions, and only reopened earlier this year in a new location.

In a previous announcement, six Singapore bars secured positions in the 51-100 spots on the inaugural extended Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021 list. Gibson, which was No.25 last year, fell to the No.66 spot. Employees Only and The Other Room reenter the list; they were No.41 and No.46 in 2019 respectively, but did not feature in 2020.

There were three Singapore newcomers – casual Haji Lane drinking hole Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall at No.71, while Jigger & Pony Group’s mid-century Japan-inspired Live Twice comes in at No.75. Then there’s revolving pop-up concept Junior The Pocket Bar, which took the No.82 place. Employees Only, Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, and Junior are also independently-owned.

Barbary Coast Ballroom interior
Ballroom, the elegant upper-floor cocktail bar of dual-concept Barbary Coast at bustling Boat Quay.

Also announced earlier was the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021 Michter’s Art of Hospitality award, which was picked up by Mandarin Oriental Singapore’s MO Bar.

“We want to extend our heartiest congratulations to all the bars named in the list. We hope that the announcement of the 2021 ranking – as well as the publication, for the first time, of those ranked from 51 to 100 – will provide optimism and encouragement to all bars as travel routes gradually open up and guests begin to plan their next fine-drinking experiences,” said Mark Sansom, Content Editor for Asia’s 50 Best Bars.

“It is a well-deserved debut win for COA and credit goes to Jay Khan and his team who have proven themselves to be at the heart of the continent’s cocktail culture. The bar serves a perfect blend of subtle agave education, relaxed vibes and a simply fantastic drinks list. This, combined with the great work they have been doing to support their community throughout the pandemic, makes COA a bona fide No.1 this year,” Sansom added.

Next year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars official awards ceremony have been confirmed by brand owners William Reed Business Media to be held in Singapore. “We look forward to holding a physical awards ceremony not only to celebrate and recognise the best in the business when the situation improves, but to bring together bartenders, bar owners, drinks writers and cocktail aficionados from around the world,” Sansom announced.

“We are hopeful that the ongoing vaccine roll-out will allow the bar community to take this opportunity to reunite in Singapore next year,” he added.

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  1. […] “This international recognition is one of the best rewards that we can receive at MO BAR, especially for a hardworking and passionate team that has put in incredible effort towards delivering the best hospitality in these trying times,” Adrian Besa, bar manager of MO Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore, said. Their No. 40 ranking on Top 500 Bars this year comes after MO BAR took the No.45 spot, as well as the Art of Hospitality award, at Asia’s 50 Best earlier this year. […]


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