Praising the bar

Words by
Jemima Sissons

13th March 2016

Where do the world’s leading mixologists like to drink and relax when they’re off duty? Six of the best raise their glasses to their favourite drinking spots

Last year saw the publication of Where Chefs Eat, which provided a fascinating insight into where our tastemakers like to dine. But what about barmen? The Diageo World Class final in Cape Town, which sets out to find the world’s best barman, offered the ideal opportunity to grill the top six finalists (see below). At the end of a gruelling week, the winner was announced as the dapper Michito Kaneko of Japan. So where do the top mixologists like to drink on a rare night-off?



CITY London 
BAR Blind Pig
REASON Kyle Wilkinson and Gareth Evans are two absolute “lads” I grew up with in Nottingham. They run a beautiful- looking bar in Soho and don’t take anything too seriously when it comes to booze. AR

CITY London 
BAR American Bar & Beaufort Bar, Savoy
REASON I think Erik Lorincz and Chris Moore are two of the best hosts in the city. AR

CITY London
BAR Artesian, The Langham
REASON The best, most creative bartenders work at the Artesian. The style, in which drinks are made and presented, is excellence itself. VC

CITY London
BAR Nightjar 
REASON Marian Beke and Luca Cinalli are two masters of their craft and make some of the most attractive cocktails in the world. VC

Artesian at the Langham in London

Artesian at the Langham in London

CITY London
BAR 69 Colebrooke Row
REASON What Tony Conigliaro does here is innovative and special. VC 

CITY London
BAR Rules
REASON A bar made for kings and queens. AL

CITY Bristol
BAR Hausbar
REASON It’s where I fell in love with hospitality and cocktails. It’s also the perfect place for a high-quality whisky and there’s a wide range. AR

CITY Amsterdam
BAR Door 74
REASON Old school tradition meets modern cocktails. JS

CITY Amsterdam
BAR Tales and Spirits
REASON It feels like home — it’s warm, cosy, fun and creative. Every time I go, I have to stay until it closes. JS

La Candelaria in Paris

La Candelaria in Paris

CITY Berlin
BAR Buck & Breck
REASON The “kitchen counter” in the middle of a dark room emphasises the bartender and the drinks. AR

CITY Berlin
BAR Rum Trader
REASON Proprietor Gregor Scholl and his personality. AL

CITY Prague
BAR L’Fleur 
REASON Its mixology and champagne concept and its unique “Belle Epoque” atmosphere make it unforgettable. VC

CITY Paris
BAR Experimental Cocktail Club
REASON An incredible atmosphere and friendly mood. I am always excited to return here. VC

CITY Paris
BAR La Candelaria
REASON A very cosy place with excellent design and delicious mescal cocktails. ML

Dear Irving in New York

Dear Irving in New York

CITY Rome 
BAR The Jerry Thomas Project
REASON A classic, old-fashioned speakeasy with jazz music and a beautifully landscaped area. ML

CITY Barcelona
BAR Boadas Cocktails
REASON Founded in 1933, you can feel the history in the air. AL

CITY Barcelona 
BAR Mutis
REASON Built on the first floor of an apartment block, it’s like drinking in somebody’s flat decked out as a bar. AR

CITY Athens
BAR A for Athens
REASON It has a unique view of the Acropolis. The cocktails are made with love and passion ML

CITY Athens
BAR Baba Au Rum
REASON It carries a wide range of rums and has the best tiki cocktails in the city. ML


US & Caribbean

CITY Negril 
BAR Floyd’s Pelican Bar
REASON You can watch the sun go down with a coldish beer or an awesome rum. I go for Zacapa 23 over ice, which is just perfect for sundown sipping. The whole bar is on stilts in the sea — what more do you need? AR

CITY New York 
BAR Navy
REASON It’s a restaurant with a fantastic little bar that sells low-alcohol/wine-based cocktails. I have a lot of happy memories of being in this place, probably due to the low-alcohol cocktails. And the seafood is some of the best I’ve tried. AR

Dead Rabbit in New York City

Dead Rabbit in New York City

CITY New York City
BAR PDT (Please Don’t Tell) 
REASON Another pearl on the New York scene is Jim Meehan and his great bar concept. Pleasant atmosphere and excellent drinks rank this among the top bars in the city and the best in the world. I definitely recommend visiting this bar. Not to mention that the PDT book belongs to the library of every bartender. VC

CITY New York City
BAR The Dead Rabbit
REASON This is the type of bar where I could spend every day. The style as well as the atmosphere is the absolute top of the New York bar scene. VC

CITY New York City
BAR Dear Irving
REASON This spot is my favourite in NYC. Always fun and experiential… every time I get there, there’s always something new. It’s everything that makes me tick. AL

CITY New York City
BAR Employees Only
REASON This bar is located in New York’s West Village and looks like a Prohibition speakeasy. Its name suggests it’s a place that’s just as enjoyable for the staff. Even after quite a long time of being around, it’s still the happiest, most fun and sexiest place in NYC. AL

The Bellboy in Tel Aviv

The Bellboy in Tel Aviv


CITY Tel Aviv
BAR Amiram Pub
REASON The oldest pub in Israel. It’s where I go to get away from my cocktail world and just enjoy fun company. AL

CITY Tel Aviv
BAR Bellboy, Berdichevsky Hotel
REASON It’s my cocktail bar! My most crazy, surreal and innovative creation. AL



CITY Singapore
BAR D.bespoke 
REASON This bar is situated in Singapore, but it’s a classic Ginza-style bar that you would find in Tokyo and it feels just like an English gentleman’s club. MK

CITY Singapore
BAR Manhattan, Regent Singapore 
REASON This grand hotel bar is inspired by the 19th-century “golden age” of cocktails. I was surprised by the number of barrel-aged cocktails. MK

CITY Singapore 
BAR 28 Hongkong Street
REASON Zdenek Kastanek does incredible work in this bar. It’s a beautiful place with excellent drinks and a friendly atmosphere as a bonus. VC

CITY Sakurai
BAR The Sailing Bar
REASON Takumi Watanabe, a Diageo World Class finalist in 2010 and my mentor, has great bartending techniques and an encyclopaedic knowledge of cocktails, and the bar interior is really gorgeous. MK

Heartbreaker in Melbourne

Heartbreaker in Melbourne

BAR Nara Hotel 
REASON Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, who gained third place in the 2013 World Class global final and is another of my mentors, has a deft hand and extensive knowledge of cocktails. Founded in 1909, the hotel is also one of a handful in Japan that is more than 100 years old. MK

CITY Osaka
BAR The Bar Elixir K 
REASON There’s a wide collection of liqueurs, whiskey and brandy. It is a stylish speakeasy-style bar. MK

CITY Osaka 
BAR Bar Juniper 
REASON The bar owner has more than 100 kinds of gin from around the world. MK

CITY Osaka 
BAR Tom & Jerry Bar 
REASON There’s a bartender here who is very knowledgeable about new trends. MK

CITY Osaka 
BAR Bar Hiramatsu 
REASON Mr Hiramatsu is one of Osaka’s legendary bartenders and creates wonderful classic cocktails. MK

CITY Tokyo
BAR Ben Fiddich
REASON Hiroyasu Kayama creates a variety of gin cocktails using many types of herbs grown on his family’s farm as well as a range of syrups, bitters and liqueurs. MK



CITY Melbourne
BAR Eau de Vie
REASON This may be where I work, but in my humble, unbiased opinion, it’s elegant, charming and oozes warmth and passion for what we do. I love sitting at a table and strangers asking me excitedly, “Oooo… what did you order?”JS

Tsuyoshi Miyasaki at the Nara Hotel

Tsuyoshi Miyasaki at the Nara Hotel

CITY Melbourne
BAR Black Pearl
REASON The most clued-up bartenders in town, but all their skill comes second to the finest hospitality you’ll ever receive. JS

CITY Sydney
BAR Baxter Inn
REASON An underground, earthy smell, mingled with whisky and man, hits you as you walk in. You can literally feel the bar team’s personalities fill the room. JS

CITY Melbourne
BAR Heartbreaker
REASON A dive bar with just the right amount of dive: rock and roll, jukebox, pool table, shots and flavoursome beer. But there’s also outstanding hospitality, quality products, and care in the drink making. When I first visited, I thought: “I could have the night of my life in this bar.” JS

CITY Melbourne
BAR Loch & Key
REASON These guys very much know how to look after you. Every time I visit there is so much love. Love for what they do, for their guests in the bar and for one another. JS 

CITY Auckland
BAR Racket
REASON There’s a rude, obnoxious vibe here, but it’s all tongue in cheek. Have a thick skin and be prepared for a rum-fuelled night. These guys are masters at what they do. JS

CITY Auckland
BAR Mea Culpa
REASON Offering true Kiwi hospitality, this has been flying the cocktail flag in Auckland for a long time. It’s a tiny place with most of their produce home-grown and you can really taste it in their drinks. JS


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Hawksmoor Spitalfields, London, UK

Reynolds kicked off his career while studying at Nottingham University, before honing his skills at Bristol’s Hausbar. One of the movers and shakers on the London bar scene.

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Bellboy, Tel Aviv, Israel

This entrepreneurial mixologist is behind Israel’s first cocktail bar — 233. His charismatic charm has drawn in the punters to Bellboy since 2014. Expect a Mad Hatter-style vibe in this convivial bar

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Theory Bar & More

While a student earning extra cash as a waiter, Lykiardopoulos decided to become a mixologist. The Theory Bar & More is noted for its rare gins and rums.

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Boilermaker House and Eau de Vie, Melbourne, Australia

Sotti’s interest was piqued when he came across his grandfather’s old cocktail books. These two bars are some of the city’s more sophisticated hot spots.

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Lamp Bar, Nara, Japan

Kaneko began his career aged 20, before opening a bar in his hometown at 30. “When I heard my name, I was in total shock,” he remarked on being named the winner of Diageo’s 2015 World Class final.

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L’Fleur, Prague,
Czech Republic

With a jaunty 1920s vibe, this bar is moody and subterranean with an excellent champagne list. Signature cocktails include Soldat, a punchy mix of Absinthe, date and citrus.