The best bar in the world is London's Artesian. At least, it is according to the authoritative annual World's Best Bar Awards. (Or, more precisely, the drink industry supremos that make up the award's academy.)
But I look on bars as a parent looks upon their offspring, so I can't pick favourites. So here are an introduction to the London bars owning the top 10 positions. and my thoughts on why they’ve managed to reach such giddy heights.
The Artesian at The Langham Hotel was once again voted the best bar in the world. The theatre and spectacle of their surrealist inspired cocktail list guaranteed them a top 10 spot – but it’s head bartenders Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale's warm hospitality that ensures they’ve remained at the top for the fourth year running. It’s a destination bar, so put aside the time (and money) for a few cocktails and really soak it all in.
Nightjar is faultless. Its décor and live jazz transport you to a speakeasy of the 1920s. But instead of ducking to hide from Lucky Luciano's hitmen, you'll be escaping the mean streets of Shoreditch – whether these be cereal hatin’ protestors or the swelling number of mindless yobs out on the lash. The cocktail list is extensive, with close to 50 available, all made with a verve and imagination to rival F. Scott Fitzgerald.
5. American Bar
The American Bar at the Savoy is an institution. It was the first proper bar that I visited in London, and despite my ill-fitting suit and general awkwardness they couldn’t have made me feel more at home. It's the perfect place to show off the luxurious and understated brilliance of London to outsiders. Soak up the history and take a sip on bartending at its finest.
8. Happiness Forgets
Happiness Forgets is a bar after my own heart. I probably recommend this place more than any other, and have not – and will not – hear a bad word against the place. If you happen to live around Stoke Newington also check out Original Sin, its sister bar on the High Street.
9. Connaught Bar
The Connaught Bar is an Art Deco masterpiece inside, but it's the modern mastery of bartender Ago Perron that draws in the crowds these days. I've found myself at the Connaught twice in as many weeks and both times were a delight. Its new menu takes inspiration from the best cocktails invented in hotel bars around the world, which is testament to both their modesty and confidence.
Outside the top 10, London can also boast Ryan Chetiyawardana’s innovative White Lyan in Hoxton at 26 and the gorgeous, Tom Dixon-designed Dandelyan bar in the newly opened Mondrian Hotel at 50. Beaufort Bar – the Savoy’s lesser-known cocktail bar – takes 27. And Tony Conigliaro’s superlative 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington comes in at 41.
London is arguably (particularly arguable if you're a New Yorker) the best place in the world for cocktails. If you've not yet been to any of this year's top 50, you've got a lot of potential pleasure in the bank.