(CNN) — With the easing of pandemic travel restrictions across much of the region, the annual Asia’s Top 50 Bars ceremony took place in front of a live audience for the first time since 2019 on Thursday evening.
Celebrating the region’s best bars and the people who support them, the 2022 event was held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.
As usual, it was a showdown between Hong Kong and Singapore for first place, with last year’s winner Coa retaining the top spot for the second consecutive year.
The Hong Kong bar, set in a candlelit space with industrial-style interiors, is named after a machete-like tool used to harvest agave – the plant from which mezcal and tequila are made distilled. Both of these spirits feature prominently in Coa cocktails, including La Paloma de Oaxaca, which features a mezcal and tequila blend spiked with grapefruit.
Singapore’s Jigger & Pony, located in the city’s Amara Hotel, took second place. Named after the double-cone measuring device used by bartenders, it offers a menu of 24 cocktails – many of which are fresh interpretations of classic drinks such as the Yuzu Whiskey Sour, made with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, yuzu marmalade , St Germain, lemon and egg white.
The Bloody Beef Maria cocktail from Hong Kong Coa bar.
Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022
Hong Kong-based Argo came third in this year’s list. Its unique cocktail menu includes drinks powered by spirits innovations like AI-produced gin and molecularly aged whiskey.
Meanwhile, the only top 10 bar not based in a major city, Tesouro opened during the pandemic in the seaside village of Colva in Goa, India. Number four on this year’s list, it features Goa-Portuguese design elements and cocktails made with fine rum, craft gins, agave spirits and the local feni spirit distilled in Goa.
Bar Benfiddich in Tokyo took fifth place, Indulge Experimental Bistro in Taipei came in sixth place, while Charles H in Seoul landed in seventh place this year.
Although Singapore missed out on the top spot, it has more bars in the top 50 than any other city. Eleven locations on the Asia 2022 list are based in the city-state, including this year’s No. 8, MO Bar, and former No. 1, Manhattan, which came in at No. 9 this year.
Rounding out the top 10 list is Bangkok’s new BKK Social Club, located in the Four Seasons at Chao Phraya River.
Part of the World’s 50 Best Bars brand owned by William Reed Ltd., the Asia list is based on votes from the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, which is made up of bar industry members, media experts and mixology of the region.
“Asian bars have shown remarkable resilience and growth despite the challenges of the past two years, and we continue to be proud to celebrate the talent and creativity on display in bars across Asia,” said Mark Sansom, chief content officer for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, in a statement.