Want to try the cocktails in the place voted top of the World’s 50 Best Bar list for 2018? You better get a move on.
Dandelyan, a swanky hotel joint on the south bank of London’s Thames river, was named the best watering hole on the planet at a ceremony in London in October.
Just two days earlier, it announced it was closing its doors for good.
“I’m flabbergasted,” said a dazed-looking mixologist-in-chief Ryan Chetiyawardana shortly after accepting top honors in the bar industry’s equivalent of the Oscars and admitting sheepishly to the assembled crowd he was “killing” his acclaimed venue.
“In a way it’s the most fitting thing,” he added. “We have worked so hard and with so much passion and we’re now at the pinnacle of the industry.”
The closure in early 2019 of Dandelyan, which occupies the ground floor of uber cool but weirdly named Mondrian London Hotel at Sea Containers, will disappoint legions of fans who flock to the low-lit if somewhat brash venue to guzzle signature botanic creations.
‘Innovate and challenge’
But Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr. Lyan, said his 32-strong team would create a new bar in its place – a renewal he hopes will “encourage others to innovate and challenge” in the drinks industry.
Or, perhaps, send customers straight back into the white-jacketed arms of 2017’s best bar award winner and this year’s runner-up, the American Bar at the Savoy.
In contrast to Dandelyan’s brief life cycle, the art deco American Bar has been serving up cocktail classics for more than 125 years.
Despite the imminent closure of its top-rated fancy booze vendor, London’s pre-eminence in the world of mixed drinks remains unrivaled, according to the 2018 ranking. The UK capital claims 10 of the top 50 watering holes, compared to nearest rival New York’s six.
But the cross-Atlantic dominance could face stiffer challenges in coming years. This year’s third place award to Singapore’s chic and regal Manhattan is the latest harbinger of a potentially world-beating cocktail scene in the Asian city state.
Singapore claimed five venues in the top 50, with gin and champagne specialist Atlas at number eight, highest climber Native at 13, list regular Operation Dagger at 23 and 28 Hong Kong Street at number 34.
London’s contingent was completed by decade-old hotel venue the Connaught Bar (also named “Legend of the List”) at number five, Soho venue Bar Termini at six, tropical-themed The Oriole at 17, new apple-obsessed joint Coupette at 18, foraged ingredient mixers Scout at 28, single shot dispensers Three Sheets at 29, tiny Happiness Forgets at 35, and two-year-old Swift at 46.
At number four on the list, New York’s highest ranking bar – and North America’s – is The NoMad, a buttoned-up cocktail venue set in a hotel of the same name. Behind it at nine is cherished Greenwich Village legend Dante, Attaboy at 15, former winner The Dead Rabbit at 16, list stalwart Employees Only at 26 and BlackTail at 41.
Asia’s growing presence on the Best Bars rundown was enhanced by Hong Kong’s Hemingway-themed Old Man at number 10, the list’s highest new entry. Other notable bars from the region included Tokyo’s High Five at 12, and classic Shanghai speakeasy Speak Low at 20.
Melbourne’s beloved Black Pearl was named best in Australasia at number 30, Floreria Atlantico in Buenos Aires took 14th place and the prize of best in South America. Central Station, a railway-themed bar in Beirut, was named best in the Middle East and Africa.
Don’t see your favorite local dive bar on the full list below? William Drew, group editor for the UK-based 50 Best Bars says that while booze vending standards seem to be on the rise around the world, impressing the awards’ 510 anonymous judges takes some doing.
“It’s inevitably a very exclusive list by its nature,” he told CNN. “If your local dive bar became something of a destination for people around the world then it could get on the list. But it needs to be more than the favorite of a few locals. It needs to build a reputation that crosses borders.”
Also, says this year’s winner, Chetiyawardana, it doesn’t hurt to be located in the UK capital.
“London is so much, far and away, the best food and drink city on the planet,” he added.
The world’s 50 best bars
1. Dandelyan (London)
2. American Bar at the Savoy (London)
3. Manhattan (Singapore)
4. The NoMad (New York City)
5. Connaught Bar (London)
6. Bar Termini (London)
7. The Clumsies (Greece)
8. Atlas (Singapore)
9. Dante (New York City)
10. The Old Man (Hong Kong)
11. Licoreria Limantour (Mexico City)
12. High Five (Tokyo)
13. Native (Singapore)
14. Floreria Atlantico (Buenos Aires)
15. Attaboy (New York City)
16. The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog (New York City)
17. Oriole (London)
18. Coupette (London)
19. Himkok (Oslo)
20. Speak Low (Shanghai)
21. Sweet Liberty (Miami)
22. Baba Au Rum (Athens)
23. Operation Dagger (Singapore)
24. Le Syndicat (Paris)
25. Lost & Found (Nicosia)
26. Employees Only (New York City)
27. Central Station (Beirut)
28. Scout (London)
29. Three Sheets (London)
30. Black Pearl (Melbourne)
31. Tales & Spirits (Amsterdam)
32. Linje Tio (Stockholm)
33. Little Red Door (Paris)
34. 28 Hongkong Street (Singapore)
35. Happiness Forgets (London)
36. La Factoria (Old San Juan, Puerto Rico)
37. Pardiso (Barcelona)
38. Indulge Experimental Bistro (Taipei)
39. El Copitas (St. Petersburg)
40. Tommy’s (San Francisco)