Over 800 of Asia’s very best bartenders and drinks industry experts gathered in Hong Kong yesterday (18 July) for the unveiling of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023, one of the region’s most authoritative and prestigious surveys of cocktail tastes and trends. Brought to Hong Kong for the very first time by the Hong Kong Tourism Board in partnership with Asia’s 50 Best Bars, the awards celebrated the continued success of Asia’s thriving bar landscape, while also showcasing Hong Kong’s vibrant bar scene to the region’s top bartending talent.
The event saw industry leaders from the Mainland, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and India gather in Hong Kong for the award ceremony, which saw COA from Hong Kong take out number one spot for the third year in a row.
Jay Khan, owner of COA in Hong Kong, said: “Of the three number ones, this one means the most. Taking out the top spot at Asia’s 50 Best Bars for the third year in a row feels surreal, and I could not be any more proud that it has happened in my hometown. I was born here, I grew up here, Hong Kong means everything to me. I’m very happy to represent Hong Kong. This award is testament to our incredible team, whose passion and hard work continues to not only push boundaries in the world of cocktails, especially as our homegrown bar scene, which champions creativity and diversity, continues to go from strength to strength.”
Mark Sansom, Content Director for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “We are overjoyed to be in Hong Kong to celebrate Asia’s vibrant bar community for 50 Best’s first-ever event in this brilliant city for eating and drinking and we thank our destination partners at Hong Kong Tourism Board for helping to make it happen. Asia’s bars continue to push the envelope when it comes to fabulous drinking experiences and that is evident from the talent and creativity on display at the bars on this year’s list from 17 cities across the continent. Congratulations to Hong Kong and the team at COA for taking the No.1 spot as well as all of the bars on this year’s list.”
Hong Kong has long been a food and drink lover’s paradise, with the city offering all manner of culinary delights. In addition to COA taking out the top spot, Asia’s 50 Best Bars once again recognised the depth and breadth of Hong Kong’s world-class bar scene, with a total of 8 homegrown bars featuring on the 2023 list. Stalwarts Argo (no. 8), Darkside (no. 9), The Aubrey (no. 17), Penicillin (no. 26) and Quinary (no. 31), once named among Asia’s best, The Old Man (no. 47) made to the list again after a year’s absence, while newcomer Mostly Harmless (no. 33) made its list debut, signifying the ever-evolving nature of Hong Kong’s bar scene.
The gender and ethnic diversity of Asia’s bar scene was also reflected on the winner’s list, especially with Hong Kong’s Beckaly Franks of The Pontiac (no. 53) receiving the peer-voted Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award for Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023.
The arrival of Asia’s 50 Best Bars in Hong Kong reinforces the position of the city’s bar scene as one of the most exciting in the world. The backdrop of Hong Kong’s thriving bar scene contributed to the resounding success of the event, as the event brought with it a week-long celebration of the region’s drinks landscape with citywide activations and bartender guest shifts by leading industry figures from internationally renowned bars across Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. This year’s results also ensure Hong Kong’s world-class bar scene stays firmly in the spotlight, thanks to the city’s rich mix of traditional and progressive, envelope-pushing institutions that offer something for every taste and style all year round.