Spirit Guide: Winners of the 50 Best Bars in Asia 2017

Okay, Okay, we admit it, here at Wanderluxe, we love a good tipple but who doesn’t? It is hard to say no to a good cocktail at the beach club in Bali or even an overpriced whisky boasting Tokyo’s skyline. This is why we know you will appreciate this as much as we do. Here are the most recent list of the World’s 50 Best Bars in Asia for 2017, enough said.

Read this too: How to Throw a Balinese-Themed Party at Home

Asia’s Best Bar/Best in Singapore: Manhattan 

ARBARS08 -Caption: Manhattan Bar clinched the 11th spot at the World's 50 Best Bar Awards 2016. Source: Regent Singapore, A Four Seasons Hotel ##########bar##########SEE CAPTION

Ranking: #1

We’re a little smug that the number one spot belongs to a hotel bar (because you know, we love hotels). Manhattan takes cues from the swanky city back in the golden age of cocktails, bringing some New York glamour to Lion City. On Sundays they have cocktail brunches with unlimited craft cocktails, beers, wines and Bloody Mary. For those we need food with their drink, do ask for their gourmet bar bites such as BBQ braised beef short ribs, Maine lobsters and American oysters.

Address: Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Level 2, Regent, Singapore 249715
Tel: +65 6725 3377
Open from: 5:00 pm – 1:00 am (Sun-Thur), 5:00 pm – 2:00 am (Fri-Sat)

More winners from Singapore: 28 Hong Kong Street (4th),  Operation Dagger (6th),  Tippling Club (11th), Atlas (12th), Employees Only Singapore (17th), Native (20th), Jigger & Pony (21st), The Other Room (35th), Sugarhall (38th). 

Best in China: Speak Low 


Ranking: #2

What’s better than one fantastic speakeasy? It is having three! This multi-level watering hole is, in fact, a speakeasy, masked by a shop selling tools and trinkets for cocktail-making called Ocho. Each setting offers a different kind of cocktail experience. The first bar on the second floor (try to keep up), is casual as its best. But if you slide behind a bookcase at Ocho, down a tunnel and up a staircase, you’ll find yourself at a bar slightly fancier. You’re good here, because only the 32 club members get to access the third bar with rare whiskey and scotch; its secret entrance tucked behind a world map.

Address: 579 Fuxing Zhong Road, Huangpu district, 200025 Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 6416 0133
Open from: 6:00pm – 2:00am (Mon-Thurs, Sun), 6:00pm – 3:00am (Fri-Sat)

More winners from China: The Union Trading Company (#9), Sober Company (#19)

More winners from Hong Kong: Quinary (#7), Stockton (#8), The Pontiac (#16), Zuma (#24), 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana (#26), The Chinnery (#42), Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour (#48)

Best in Japan: Bar High Five 


Ranking: #3

Tokyo loves a good time and if that doesn’t convince you, then take a cue from Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation. The city street lights and all that midnight jazz will make you yearn for an expensive glass of Japanese whiskey, especially so when it is served at Bar High Five. Don’t be surprised by this tiny bar, it didn’t bag itself an award for no great reason. Watch as the head bartender Hidetsugo Ueno, a genius behind the bar, shakes up the most unique cocktails you can dream of. All that, and a sweet view over the Ginza railway tracks. Ichiban!

Address: Efflore Ginza5 Bldg. BF, 5-4-15 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81 3-3571-5815
Open from: 5:00pm – 1:00am (Mon-Sat)

More winners from Japan: Bar BenFiddich (#22), Bar Orchard Ginza (#25)

Highest New Entry/Best in Taiwan: Indulge Experimental Bistro 


Ranking: #5

Taipei comes to life at this bistro where food is tempting and delicious, but drinks are for sure throat wrenching and strong. The latter is the proud work of three-time world champion mixologist, Aki Wang. Cocktails here eloborate and personalised, so much so that you need only mention your mood or preference and a drink will be carefully customised for you. However, if you’d rather have something off the menu, do splurge on their most expensive 1968 Arzerac; featuring vintage French brandy, It is pure magic.

Address: No. 119, Lane 219, Fuxing South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Tel: 02-2773-0080
Open from: 6:00pm – 2:00am (Sun-Thurs), 6:00pm – 3:00am (Fri-Sat)

More winners from Taiwan: East End (#39), Club Boys Saloon (#49)

Best in Thailand: The Bamboo Bar 


Ranking: #13

With no shortage of great bars in Bangkok, let alone Thailand, Bamboo Bar is the place for jazz and fine cocktails. The ‘a Capella’ menu is named as such, to introduce guests to the history of jazz legends not only through music but through their cocktails. Be warned that there is a smart dress code for all guests, but this only means that their patrons will be the most high-heeled in town!

Address: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok,  48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Tel: +66 (2) 659 9000 Ext 7390-4
Open from: 9:00pm-12:00am (Sun-Thurs), 9:00pm-1:00am (Fri-Sat)

More winners from Thailand: Backstage Cocktail Bar (#18), Q&A Bar (#34), Vesper (#40), Teens of Thailand (#46)

Best in South Korea: Alice Cheongdam


Ranking: #15

When a bar is tucked behind an alleyway near Louis Vuitton, you can bet your monogram Montaigne that it will be e spectacular. Look out for a white rabbit sign that leads you down a flower shop. This is where Alice in Wonderland heads to get very drunk on some ridiculously crafty cocktails. Think swing jazz, whimsical decor, disappearing glasses (we’re serious!) and drinks with smokey liquid nitrogen. Even the Madhatter won’t be able to keep up!

Address: Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam, Seoul, 84-20, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2-511-8420
Open from: 7:00pm – 3:00am (Mon – Sun)

More winners from South Korea: Le Chamber (#32)

Best in the Philippines: The Curator Coffee & Cocktails


Ranking: #23

Oozing a strong industrial vibe, their cocktails are contemporary but it is their third-wave coffee creations that stand out. Anyone who’s visited can only agree on one thing: the service is impeccable. It’s just as they say at The Curator: “Life’s too short for bad coffee, your liver’s too precious for bad booze and, more importantly, your time’s far more precious for service that doesn’t make you feel like you’re family.”

Address: Palanca Metro Ma, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 916 355 4129
Open from: 7:00am-2:00am (Mon-Thurs), 7:00am-3:00am (Fri-Sat), 7:00am-6:00pm (Sun)

More winners from the Philippines: ABV (#45)

Best in India: Aer Bar & Lounge


Ranking: #37

You couldn’t get a better view of Mumbai anywhere else but at the 34th-floor rooftop of the Four Seasons Hotel. Soak up the sunset with a drink from the Sundowner Collection of cocktails and champagne. Their resident DJ plays nightly sets of upbeat jazz and retro hits to ensure the perfect Bollywood night.


Address: Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, 1/136, Dr. E. Moses Road, 400 018 Worli, Mumbai, India
Tel: +91 (22) 2481-8444
Open from: 5:30 pm – late night

Best in Malaysia: Omakase + Appreciate 


Ranking: #41

O+A’s call to fame, apart from opening its “No Entry” doors smack on speakeasy-bandwagon o’clock, are their thoughtfully crafted cocktails. We say this with love because true romance comes in the form of a ‘surprise me’ blend of spirits. Their omakase menu tends to be seasonal and their ‘From the Malaya Barrel’ is always a winner.

Address: Lower Ground, Ampang Bangunan Ming Annexe, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 2148 0122
Open from: 5:00pm-1am (Mon-Sun)

O&A might have been the only winner from Malaysia, but we absolutely love these bars in Kuala Lumpur

Best in IndonesiaPotato Head Beach Club


Ranking: #43

During the day, it might be a family-friendly lunch venue but when the sun goes down, it is all a different scene. This beach club oozes Bali cool where music, cocktails and a good time is often guaranteed. This is seriously one big Bali house party you shouldn’t miss.

Address: Seminyak, Jl. Petitenget No.51B, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Tel: +62 361 4737979
Open from: 10:00am – 2:00am (Mon-Sun)

More winners from Indonesia: The Night Rooster (#50)

Of drinks and destinations

Diandra Soliano

Our resident Wander Woman with a passion for languages, big cities and bronzer. When she's not listening to The Smiths a little too loudly at the office (after hours!), she can be found singing along to the soundtrack of Les Miserables with her two cats for an audience.

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