Singapore's Manhattan is Asia's best on World's 50 Best Bars list

Manhattan Bar is located in the Regent Singapore.
Manhattan Bar is located in the Regent Singapore. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ MANHATTAN BAR
Operation Dagger is located in the basement of the junction between Club Street, Ann Siang Hill and Ann Siang Road.
Operation Dagger is located in the basement of the junction between Club Street, Ann Siang Hill and Ann Siang Road. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ OPERATION DAGGER

Singapore cocktail bar Manhattan has been named Asia's best at the 2016 edition of the World's 50 Best Bars Awards, announced in London Thursday  evening (Oct 6).

It is joined on the list by two other Singapore brands - 28 Hong Kong Street and Operation Dagger.

Manhattan, located in The Regent Hotel Singapore, clinched the 11th spot, climbing 24 spots from last year's ranking.

But speakeasy 28 Hong Kong Street fell seven spots, to No. 14.

A brand new entry this year is "secret bar" Operation Dagger, at No. 21. It is located in the basement of the junction between Club Street, Ann Siang Hill and Ann Siang Road,and run by the same group behind bar-restaurant Oxwell & Co. and led by Australian Luke Whearty.

Operation Dagger was voted Best New Bar at the Singapore Bar Awards last year and also made the Top 10 for Best New International Cocktail Bar at New Orleans industry event, Tales of the Cocktail in 2015.

At this year's World's 50 Best Bars, New York's The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, which placed second last year, clinched the top spot, while London's American Bar and Dandelyan came in second and third place, respectively.

Mr Hamish Smith, World's 50 Best Bars editor and deputy editor of Drinks International, describes Manhattan bar as "one of the most exciting bar launches in the last few years."

He tells The Straits Times: "Its ambition to create not only a stylish and beautiful bar interior but also one that takes its drinks seriously is unrivalled around the world - it's a worthy winner of the Bols Genever Best Bar in Asia."

He calls 28 Hong Kong Street an "academy favourite... which is not only a great cocktail bar but a champion for the Asian cocktail scene".

Meanwhile he reveals that new entry Operation Dagger has been on the academy's radar for a few years. "It's great to see it enter the list this year as it's one of Asia's shining stars of the cocktail scene," he says.

Bars which placed from 51 to 100 were revealed in August under the organisers' Bars To Watch 2016 list, with four Singapore bars making the cut: D Bespoke (No, 63), Gibson (No. 65), Nutmeg & Clove (No. 72) and Jigger & Pony (No. 92 ).

Artesian, which was named the "world's best bar" four times between 2012 and 2015, was completely out of the running for the main list, dropping 53 spots to 54.

Located at The Langham hotel in London, the bar took a hit as the duo behind it - Alex Kretena and Simone Caporale - left last year to pursue other projects. They were with the bar for eight years and their departure triggered an exodus of staff.

The bar's 54th place listing was accompanied with a note that said: "With a dozen staff leaving after last year's top-spot finish, Artesian's fall from grace proves it's the team, not the four walls, that make for excellence in hospitality."

The annual list, released by London-based Drinks International magazine, is now in its eighth year. This year, Asian bars have done better than ever before with seven bars in total hailing from Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

The awards are the result of a worldwide industry survey conducted by the magazine, with the final list based on nominations from more than 400 leading figures of the global bar industry.

In March, Drinks International also released the inaugural edition of the Asia's 50 Best Bars Awards, where 28 HongKong Street was named the best bar in Asia. Eight other bars in Singapore also made it to the list, including Manhattan Bar (No. 5), Operation Dagger (No. 7) and and Jigger & Pony (No. 8).

The World's 50 Best Bars 2016:

1. The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, New York

2. American Bar, London

3. Dandelyan, London

4. Connaught Bar, London

5. Attaboy, New York

6. The Gibson, London

7. Employees Only, New York

8. NoMad Bar, New York

9. The Clumsies, Athens

10. Happiness Forgets, London

11. Manhattan, Singapore

12. The Baxter Inn, Sydney

13. Licoreria Limantour, Mexico City

14. 28 Hongkong Street, Singapore

15. Speak Low, Shanghai

16. The Broken Shaker, Miami

17. Candelaria, Paris

18. Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam

19. Nightjar, London

20. Maison Premiere, New York

21. Operation Dagger, Singapore

22. Black Pearl, Melbourne

23. High Five, Tokyo

24. Little Red Door, Paris

25. Linje Tio, Stockholm

26. Central Station, Beirut

27. Lobster Bar , Hong Kong

28. Mace, New York

29. Smuggler's Cove,San Francisco

30. Bar Termini, London

31. La Factoria, Old San Juan

32. Oriole, London

33. The Jerry Thomas Project, Rome

34. Dante, New York

35. Trick Dog, San Francisco

36. ABV, San Francisco

37. The Walker Inn, Los Angeles

38. Nottingham Forest, Milan

39. Aviary, Chicago

40. Baba au Rum, Athens

41. Quinary, Hong Kong

42. Himkok, Oslo

43. Lost & Found, Nicosia

44. Ruby, Copenhagen

45. PDT, New York

46. Bulletin Place, Sydney

47. Bramble, Edinburgh

48. Callooh Callay, London

49. Floreria Atlantico,Buenos Aires

50. Buck & Breck, Berlin

Correction Note: In an earlier version of this story, we said that three bars were on the organiser's Bars To Watch 2016 list. This is incorrect. It should be four bars, including D Bespoke. We are sorry for the error.