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?
theworldclassclub.com

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Europe

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 
socialeatinghouse.com

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
fairmont.com/savoy-london/dining/beaufortbar/

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
artesian-bar.co.uk

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
barnightjar.com

Artesian at the Langham in London
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
69colebrookerow.com 

CITY London
BAR Rules
REASON A bar made for kings and queens. AL
rules.co.uk/cocktail-bar

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
hausbar.co.uk

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

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
talesandspirits.com

La Candelaria in Paris
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
buckandbreck.com

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
lfleur.cz

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

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

Dear Irving in New York
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
thejerrythomasproject.it

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

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
barmut.com

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

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

 

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
navynyc.com

Dead Rabbit in New York City
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
pdtnyc.com

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
deadrabbitnyc.com

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
dearirving.com

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
employeesonlynyc.com

The Bellboy in Tel Aviv
The Bellboy in Tel Aviv

The Bellboy in Tel Aviv

MIDDLE EAST

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
bellboybar.com

 

ASIA

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 
dbespoke.sg

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
regenthotels.com/en/Singapore/Cuisine/Manhattan

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
28hks.com

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
sailing-bar.com

Heartbreaker in Melbourne
Heartbreaker in Melbourne

Heartbreaker in Melbourne

CITY Nara
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
narahotel.co.jp/en

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
bar.elixir-k.com

CITY Osaka 
BAR Bar Juniper 
REASON The bar owner has more than 100 kinds of gin from around the world. MK 
bar.kita-shinchi.com/juniper

CITY Osaka 
BAR Tom & Jerry Bar 
REASON There’s a bartender here who is very knowledgeable about new trends. MK
facebook.com/Tom-Jerry-Bar-376443122556830

CITY Osaka 
BAR Bar Hiramatsu 
REASON Mr Hiramatsu is one of Osaka’s legendary bartenders and creates wonderful classic cocktails. MK
facebook.com/barhiramatsu/?rf=135743959904763

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 
facebook.com/BarBenfiddich/timeline#_=_

 

AUSTRALASIA & OCEANIA

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
eaudevie.com.au/melbourne

Tsuyoshi Miyasaki at the Nara Hotel
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
blackpearlbar.com.au/index.html

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
thebaxterinn.com

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
heartbreakerbar.com.au

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
racketbar.co.nz

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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ALI REYNOLDS (AR)
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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ARIEL LEIZGOLD (AL)
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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MANOLIS LYKIARDOPOULOS (ML)
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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JACK SOTTI (JS)
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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MICHITO KANEKO (MK)
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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VITEZSLAV CIROK (VC)
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.