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On the 6th October 2016, I was lucky enough to be invited to Drinks International’s World’s 50 Best Bars Awards. Famed for being one of the industry’s most eagerly awaited nights of the year, the world’s best bartenders and owners gathered at the beautiful and inspiring Christchurch Spitalfields, London, for one hell of a party.

The stunning venue opened its doors in the early evening and was soon buzzing with the bartending world’s elite, sipping on World Class cocktails from sponsors, including Ketel One and Tanqueray.

As the Global Brand Ambassador for Ketel One, I spend a lot of my time travelling to bars across the world, picking up friends on the way. What’s brilliant about the 50 Best Bars is that it’s probably one of the only events that I’ll ever get these friends in the same room – and so, as you can imagine, the atmosphere was incredible.

So, after a couple of Ketel One and Tanqueray cocktails, the crowd welcomed David Wondrich and Tom Sandham to the stage to present the much-anticipated list and we counted down the Top fifty

Firstly – (if any of you are reading this!) congratulations all the bars that featured in the list. The final fifty is decided upon by a diverse collection of 476 leading bar experts from 57 countries. A staggering 652 venues received votes from the broad panel and with such competition, it’s a fantastic achievement to make the top fifty list.

So, officially, the world’s best bar is The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog in New York! After two years of achieving second place, this incredible venue has finally hit the top spot. Owners Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry have created something very special in Manhattan’s financial district with its 19th century-inspired cocktails that really pack a punch. If you’ve never had the pleasure, ensure your next trip to New York incorporates a stop-off at this little gem.

New York and London bars dominated the top 10, taking up nine of the most-wanted spots. Congrats to The Savoy’s American Bar, Dandelyan, The Connaught Bar, Happiness Forgets and The Gibson for representing London in the top 10. Aside from taking the number one crown with The Dead Rabbit, New York bars Attaboy, Employees Only and Nomad Bar gave the city that never sleeps significant representation at the top.

A special shout-out must go to Athens’ The Clumsies - the only bar outside of these two cities to make the top 10 best bars in the world. Their after-party takeover at another 50 Best Bars inductee, East London’s Callooh Callay (47th), was an awesome combination. I was lucky enough to gain entry and see these two great bar teams in action.

Despite the London / New York domination of the top 10, it was great to see so many different locations and bar styles represented. A special mention goes to a place close to my heart – San Juan’s La Factoria. Having known and worked with owners Leslie Cofresi and Roberto Berdecia for several years, their 35th placing, along with Mexico City’s Licoreria Limantour (13th) and Buenos Aires’ Floreria Atlantico (49th), shows just how much Latin America has embraced cocktail culture.

This year saw 11 new entries, with Scandinavia deserving a shout out after increasing its representation among the elite with two new additions. Congratulations to the amazing Linje Tio from Stockholm and stunning Himkok in Oslo for taking 25th and 42nd place respectively. They join Copenhagen’s Ruby in the list, raising the Nordics representation to three venues.

So, the World’s 50 Best Bars Awards was a fantastic night that showcased the best of the industry. It celebrated those who are pushing the boundaries of what is achievable and I feel inspired to get back behind the bar and get creative! Before I do though, it’s now my urgent task to tick off the new entries to the list that I’ve not yet had the pleasure of experiencing. (That’s a hint for an invite guys…)

To see the full list and region winners, you can find them at Drinks International’s World’s 50 Best Bars website.