The Top 50 Cocktail Bars list, sponsored by Franklin & Sons, is compiled by the bar industry, making it a unique list of venues those in the know like to visit. We recruit over 200 industry experts which make up our voting academy, from bartenders and owners, to drinks writers and influencers. This helps us curate an extra special list which has something for every type of drinker.
As well as the core 1 to 50 list of the best bars, we also have a selection of special awards that are judged by an expert panel.
Our voting academy
Our authoritative voting academy is made up of more than 200 industry experts from across the country. These voters are either bar operators, bartenders, drinks writers & influencers, top suppliers, or drinks specialists. Voters are either approached directly or can apply by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Voters represent regions across the UK to avoid any regional bias.
Each academy member has four votes that they cast in order: position 1 being their top choice of bar, descending to number four, which is their fourth favourite choice. One of their four votes must be from the region they represent. If you are a bar operator or bartender, you are not allowed to vote for your own establishment or one that is associated with you.
Top 50 Cocktail Bars community manager, Charli Tomney says “I am constantly amazed at the new and undiscovered talent throughout the UK. We have a real variety of bars, some with a capacity of 24 people some with 300. There are bars with spirit specialities, new bars that have opened just months ago and some female-owned businesses from across the UK.”
Chris Lowe, publisher of Top 50 Cocktail Bars, said: “We have created Top 50 Cocktail Bars to help people find the best bars, which are often hidden, around the UK. having almost all of the UK’s major cities represented showcases the explosion of great venues on the cocktail scene.”
Our self-entry categories of One to Watch and Sustainable Bar of the Year gives bars a chance to put themselves forward to be a part of the Top 50 Cocktail Bars list. The categories will be paper judged before being visited by an expert judge with the winner being announced alongside the list and other awards at the live event in February.
Whether you've been open for six months or six years, the One to Watch category gives all bar a chance of joining our prestigious list. Our sustainability award allows you to highlight the hard work you are putting in to lower your impact on the earth.
Alongside our self-entry categories, a small panel of expert judges also vote on our Bar Team of the Year award which will also be awarded at the ceremony.
How do you get your cocktail bar on the list?
There is no short cut. You have to run a great bar… all of the time! However, if you are doing so but still not getting the recognition you think you deserve, we have put some tips together to help.
- Follow Top 50 Cocktail Bars on social media, engage with us and tag us and use the #top50cocktailbars hashtag on your posts, we’ll reshare it too, and voters and possible customers will then become more aware of your presence and may visit.
- Email us directly. We hold some small events throughout the year and often visit venues too – let us know if we should come and see you.
- Engage with the current top 50 cocktail bars, this could be by visiting or by interacting on social media
- Become a part of the voting academy. It is a great understanding of what to look for and implement in your own bar. Email Charli on email@example.com with a small paragraph on why you should be considered as a voter.
We update our voting academy on an annual basis and review our judging criteria regularly to ensure we can give a credible annual snapshot of the UK bar sector. We recognise that rankings are not beyond criticism and endeavour to accurately represent the industry.
Watch the 2023 event highlights below!