The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023, sponsored by Perrier, were unveiled in Singapore on Tuesday, 17 October. Held for the first time in Asia, the awards celebrate the excellence of the international drinks sector. Milan, Rome, Florence and Naples are all featured in the list but not in the top 10.
The World’s 50 best bars: Barcelona knows better
Located in the heart of Barcelona, new No.1 Sips combines elegant design with cutting-edge technique to create a playful ‘drinkery house’ from Simone Caporale and Marc Álvarez. Drawing on the lessons of their illustrious careers – Caporale was one half of the creative duo that led London’s Artesian to The World’s Best Bar title a record four times, whilst Álvarez spent almost a decade at Ferran and Albert Adrià’s revolutionary elBarri restaurant group – the duo’s disruptive approach to creative mixology shines through in innovative haute couture serves at pret-a-porter prices.
Other bars in the top five are New York’s Double Chicken Please (No.2), Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy (No.3), Barcelona’s Paradiso (No.4) and Connaught Bar (No.5) in London
“Seamlessly translating contemporary innovation and technical precision into a playful cocktail programme, accompanied by the warmest hospitality, Sips is a worthy winner of The World’s Best Bar title. We extend our congratulations to each bar on this illustrious ranking. We have once again seen the number of cities represented increase, and hope this ignites the spark of wanderlust for cocktail-lovers around the world.”William Drew, Director of Content, 50 Best
Italian bars in the list
At. N. 21 there is the bar Drink Kong in Rome
‘Unique’ is an overused description, but not in the case of Drink Kong. This bar on a leafy square a short ride from Rome’s city centre combines 1970s futurism, King Kong and Japanese inspirations, in a jet-black, neon-lit nightclub-like space that combines multiple rooms and ambiences. Throughout, this is the place to be seen, with ’gram-friendly spots drawing in snap-happy punters, as much as cocktail enthusiasts who come for some of the most innovative cocktails in the city. The latest menu uses graphical shapes to communicate flavour, along with three flavour descriptions and only the spirit or liqueur listed as ingredients. While it feels a little like you’re ordering blind, Drink Kong has earned the trust of its customers. Its cocktails always deliver – and that’s regardless of how busy the bar is or what time of night you wander in.
Freni e Frizioni
At. N. 33 there is Freni e Frizioni in Rome
In this most ancient, classical of cities, Freni e Frizioni is something different. A city centre bar set in a former mechanic’s workshop (the name translates to ‘brakes and cutches’), whose contents frequently leak out on to the courtyard that surrounds it. With crowd-pleasing as much as connoisseur-pleasing cocktails served from dusk to perilously near dawn, there’s no more popular place in town. The vibe here is punk, with young and hip grungy types filling the high-ceilinged workshop and tables outside, but there’s a nod to tradition, with aperitivo and classic cocktails the most popular orders. The Phi-Mex, a twist on the Tommy’s Margarita with mezcal, calamansi, bell pepper, tamarind and agave syrup – is currently the drink of drinks. The buzz feels now, but this is actually no new bar – launched as it was in 2005 – but since the arrival of Riccardo Rossi in 2013 Freni e Frizioni has really climbed the gears. So much so that owners Luca Conzato, Cristian Bugiada and Riccardo Rossi launched its sequel Freni e Frizioni Draft last year – this time with cocktails on tap and pizza.
At. N. 42 the city of Milan with the bar 1930
The term speakeasy is liberally deployed in the bar industry – often describing a venue with dimmed lights and a secret entrance – but 1930 in Milan executes the theme impeccably. With an undisclosed address, decor from Prohibition America and a feeling of exclusivity, 1930 is a speak to speak of. Thankfully, the thematic stylings stop short of the somewhat limited drinks repertoire of Prohibition-era speakeasies, with its current menu Europe using some of the most progressive and interesting spirits from all over its native continent. Tomatina, inspired by the Spanish city of Valencia, uses Brandy Lepanto, rye bread, red wine vinegar, cucumber gum syrup, tomato and pepper shrub. This intimate bar successfully balances a detailed theme with world-class drinks, and given its popularity and fame within the industry, a seat can never be guaranteed. Befriending owners Flavio Angiolillo and Marco Russo is your best chance of getting in.
At. N. 44 there’s the bar named L’ Antiquario in Naples
Naples’ cocktail scene is growing fast thanks to local bar entrepreneurs and bartenders like Alex Frezza, co-owner of L’Antiquario. A speakeasy style of venue, it focuses on offering the best Italian hospitality with an award-winning team. Tucked behind a wooden door, with its red velvet sofas, the cocktail bar is wrapped in a floral wallpaper. The drink list Napoli Capitale pays tribute to the city, its traditions and the artists who left their mark on the most popular districts and streets. It is the case of Andy, a calvados- and vodka-based cocktail with roasted banana and a touch of champagne dedicated to Wharhol, the father of pop-art. Classic recipes are also a must at L’Antiquario, like the merry-go-round of Negroni, with three renditions of the most consumed classic cocktail at the world’s best bars – the Umami, with tomatoes and shiitake infused dry vermouth, the Garden mixed with a peach and rose gin and the Corretto, with Arabica coffee notes.
At. N. 46 the city of Florence with Locale Firenze
Locale Firenze is a bar, but one that has much architectural importance to its hometown. The building it inhabits is Palazzo Concini, which dates to as early as the 1200s – and it’s been flawlessly restored lending Locale Firenze an unparalleled setting. The centuries-old chandeliers, mirrors and antique furniture are juxtaposed with modern details such as green walls, hanging balloons and an impressively high bottle rack dominating the bar area. The seasonal drinks list speaks to the team’s deep relationship with the ingredients they use, with a low-waste approach and lab techniques at play. Bar manager Fabio Fanni’s minimalist cocktail list features Nocciolo, a signature drink made with fruit stone homemade liquor, a blend of rum and scotch, and sweetened with sherry. The seasonal menu includes Zolfini, local bean spirit served at a room temperature, with a dorayaki-style cake, beans gelato and olive oil to freshen the palate
*Source for copy and pictures: World’s 50 Best Bars