London's Connaught Bar had taken the crown for two years in a row - only the third bar to have done so in the awards' 14-year history. Set against a shimmering backdrop of silver, platinum pink and polished pistachio, the bar delivers immaculately tailored drinks. Inspired by English Cubist and Irish 1920s art, late designer David Collins produced a gem of a London bar and the excellent team serve up a cocktail menu, which is a fusion of tradition and innovation using exclusive vintages and limited edition Champagnes, spirits and liqueurs. You cannot fail to be dazzled by the meticulous attention and exacting precision to all the details that goes into making what you sip. Priceless.
Tayér & Elementary - 8th.
The opening follows Monica Berg's work with the award-winning Himkok in Oslo and comes three years after Alex Kratena left the four-time winner of The World’s 50 Best Bars, Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel. The site on Old Street in East London is the redevelopment of an old post office comprising three spaces: two bars - Elementary and Tayēr - and a creative studio called Outthink. Elementary, which is visible from the street through floor-to-ceiling windows, opens up into a more casual space with ingredient-led seasonal cocktails served from taps whereas Tayēr is more abstract, indefinable space - and houses a U-shaped counter bar and a daily changing menu of cocktails.
Satan's Whiskers - 28th.
This unassuming Bethnal Green bar, complete with a bizarre collection of taxidermy, smartly modish setting with vintage booze posters and a much-lauded hip-hop soundtrack, may look like a dive from street level but it is in fact one of the city’s best classic cocktail bars. Opened by a team of bartenders who worked at London institution Milk & Honey, the drinks here are served with that same reverence to fresh produce, good ice and spirits who’ve had to fight for their spot in the speed rail. Expectworld-class drinks and a raw-garnish bar thrown in for good measure. They also make the most delicious bottle cocktails to take away with you.
A Bar with Shapes for a Name - 35th
The London bar that goes by a trio of Bauhaus-influenced primary-color shapes—a yellow triangle, red square, and blue circle—also called A Bar with Shapes for a Name (“Shapes” for short), is an artistic vision conceived by bartender Remy Savage. Through its design and drinks, the bar aims to challenge its guests to reimagine what a bar is or should be. This minimalism inspires the bar’s concept, both in its bare-bones studio-esque design, with unembellished mahogany tables of various heights with chairs and stools, and in its drinks. The bar’s menu features just 12 cocktails: six classic cocktails and six developed by Savage and his team.
Scarfes Bar - 41st.
Named after famed political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, this palatial wing of the Rosewood London hotel is a triumph with great cocktails attached. The bartenders at Scarfes Bar are true connoisseurs of their craft, from advising on beers and matching wines to preparing specially-curated cocktails, some of which are poured from a stunning silver urn that takes centre stage on the long wooden bar. Interiors by Martin Brudnizki include the bar’s roaring fire, cosy velvet armchairs and sofa seating, bookcases filled with over 1,000 antique books (hand-picked by a Portobello antique dealer), and low-key lighting. Live jazz, soul and blues most nights completes the old-world ambience.
Raising a glass...