Asia is well known for its world class food and amazing sites. However, the bar scene is entering into the upper levels of both quality and skill. To celebrate the recent release of Asia’s 50 best bars here are 14 bars that reach across Asia and are truly amazing.
The Night Rooster, Bali
Being owned by the team behind the local restaurant Locavore, which was voted best restaurant in Indonesia in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017, is a great way to start a bar. The menu is inspired by local produce and has an ever-evolving list of 10 drinks incorporating homemade ingredients. This is truly a must for anyone looking for an expertly made drink while in Bali
If you find yourself in Singapore and looking for an amazing cocktail, then you should tryManhattan. Being named after one of the most famous cocktails in the world is no coincidence as you can enjoy some amazing cocktails here. And while Head Bartender Philip Bischoff will mix you an amazing Manhattan using Michter’s US1 Straight Rye, there are also other great options.
Once a well-kept secret in the busy cocktail scene of Shanghai the Speak Low’s entrance is now known by all. Just slide an unassuming bookcase to one side and you’ll find yourself in a hip speakeasy-style bar. The bottom floor has some very tasty rum-based concoctions, while the second floor is more refined with rarefied spirits and Japanese inspirations.
Having recently increased its size, this is a great place to go with friends to sample some of the best drinks in town. Relaxed lighting and an expansive cocktail list are backed up by an extraordinary 200-strong whiskey list.
Aki Wang, the owner of the Indulge Experimental Bistro, is seen by many in the Asian bar scene as a being at forefront of the cocktail scene in both Taipei and Asia. Combining well-known bar trends with Taiwanese elements has resulted in some astounding results, such as the bar’s signature drink, the Mar-Tea-Ni.
Quinary, Hong Kong
The clue is in the name when it comes to Quinary, with its origin being the number five as its best. Adapting that number to the philosophy of the cocktail bar is easy when you notice that its focus is bringing cocktail pleasure to all five of your senses. The showmanship and centrifuge involved is not to be missed when you next visit Hong Kong.
The Bamboo Bar at MO, Bangkok
The combination of jazz and cocktails is nothing new so it’s no surprise that The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s bar has been opened since 1953. In its long history it has been a sanctuary for anyone looking for great music and amazing cocktails. Also, the amalgamation of music and mixology flows into the menu with drinks being named and taking inspiration from jazz, such as the Tequila-based Ella Fitzgerald.
If you follow the white rabbit signs to a secret door at the back of a flower shop then you will find yourself at Alice Cheongdan, a bar that at first glance looks like a gentlemen’s club in the Gangnam district. However, take a closer look at the menu and you’ll fall into another world with drinks like the Hippity Hoppity, which is presented in a rabbit-shaped tiki-mug.
The Curator Coffee and Cocktails, Manila
Whatever time of day you venture to The Curator Coffee and Cocktails, you won’t be disappointed with great coffee by day and amazing cocktails by night. Care and consideration are taken with every ingredient, be it coffee or spirits. Also with a large open area at the front and a cosy area at the back you can have the best of both worlds.
Janes and Hooch, Beijing
Describing itself as “A modern take on a vintage dive bar” this bar has a striking appearance that lends itself to a speakeasy theme. Exposed brick and polished concrete floors fill the two floors and everything is softened by clean wood panelling. The overall experience is made all the much sweeter with a range of classically prepared cocktails.
Little was known about this cosy little bar until the owner Michito Kaneko was named best bartender in the world in 2015 at Diageo’s World Class competition. With the new fame comes competitions and events, but most nights the award-winning bartender can be found serving drinks in Lamp bar with it unique décor of antique lamps and vintage suitcases.
Aer Bar and Lounge, Mumbai
Covering the entire roof of the Four Seasons Hotel is the stunning Aer Bar and Lounge. Not for the faint of heart, the bar is open to the elements and very high up, but this also leads to some outstanding views, which you won’t get anywhere else. Soft, violet lighting helps the tropical-flavour-filled menu go down very easily.
Many will be tricked by the no-entry sign, but if you venture past the façade you’ll find an amazing omakase-inspired bar. The essence of the Japanese notion of “leave it to you” dining is brought to life behind the bar as the expert bartenders make you a drink of their choosing. All you have to do is sit back in the comfortable surroundings and enjoy.
Abv, Makati City
Finding this well-kept secret can be something of a challenge, but it’s definitely worth it. Venture behind a wooden door in the controversially named burger bar Lazy Bastard, and you’ll be taken down in an antique elevator to a 1920s-inspired bar. With amazing décor and lighting this really is one of the best bars in the city, in which you can enjoy a range of classic or contemporary concoctions from the menu.