On Tuesday February 6th the top bars in the UK will join together to celebrate the industry at The Underglobe. The Top 50 Cocktail Bars list will be revealed for 2024 as well as the specialist award categories including One to Watch, Sustainable Bar of the Year and the brand-new Rising Star, but who is in the running?
One to Watch
Atelier Coupette, Soho, London
Sister venue to Top 50 Cocktail Bar alum, Coupette, this bar is a living laboratory for drinks experimentation with all serves being slightly smaller than you’d expect so drinkers can taste and try more drinks without the risk of overindulging. The reduced sized drinks also comes with a smaller price tag making it a favourable venue for quality drinks in Soho.
Opened just a few short months ago the bar is a place for the team to experiment with drinks with the word Atelier meaning ‘workshop’ in French. The drinks are paired with a range of small plates inspired by Nouvelle cuisine.
The neighbourhood bar nestled in Margate serves locals with an array of fun and exciting fruity drinks, long brunches and satisfying bar meals. The bar is no stranger to accolades making the Top 500 Global Bars in 2020 as well as being awarded Cocktail Menu of the Year by The Times.
Daisy - named for the family of classic cocktails best known for the Margarita (Spanish for Daisy) - began as a summer pop-up on Margate Harbour Arm before opening their permanent location in 2021 Since then, Daisy has made a name for itself through its unique approach to mixology.
Nobu London Portman, Marylebone
The famous global brand houses a boutique hotel in London’s Marylebone which is also home to a chic cocktail bar serving classics, house specials and unique concoctions to locals, hotel residents and drinks aficionados.
The current Passport menu focuses on Chef Nobu himself and his travels across the world. The bespoke cocktail menu takes inspiration of his travels across the world. Each cocktail is inspired by a place and a spirit that resonates with that particular country.
The Pearl at Park Hill, Sheffield
Another Top 50 Cocktail Bars alum, Bench, opened the doors to The Pearl at Park Hill only a few months ago. The bar serves a monthly changing menu meaning the drinks can highlight the best ingredients of the season which are paired with small plates and bar snacks.
The Pearl is the first local to open on the storied estate, Park Hill, since the closure of the four estate pubs: The Scottish Queen, The Link and of course The Parkway Tavern and The Earl George. The ‘Pearl’ being an amalgamation of the latter two pubs.
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Red Light, Manchester
As the first of its kind, Red Light is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ bar scene, welcoming a diverse clientele in a straight-friendly atmosphere. At the heart of their concept is the commitment to exceptional drink craftsmanship.
Red Light pride themselves on offering a meticulously curated selection of cocktails that both honour classic mixology and introduce innovative twists. their menu is designed to appeal to a wide range of palates, ensuring that each guest finds a drink that resonates with their personal tastes.
Sustainable Bar of the Year
Below Stairs, Leeds
When planning to reopen after Covid the Leeds bar started looking into their sustainability efforts kicking off things with a seasonal menu, with a sustainability slant. Their approach was to choose 12 ingredients (for example strawberry, mushroom and dandelion), that would remain the same, but used differently depending on the season.
Focusing in on reducing waste alongside looking at their cleaning products, single use plastics, recycling and reusing even looking at their banking. The bar now take an approach of engaging with economic, ecological and sociological sustainability.
Christina’s, Shoreditch, London
Sustainability is not just a buzzword or a recent initiative for this hotel bar, it's deeply ingrained in their DNA and influences every aspect of their establishment. Taking a more holistic approach, the bar sees one of the core pillars of their sustainability initiative as responsible ingredient sourcing, meticulously curating a list of local artisans and small-batch producers who share their values.
Their cocktail menu is a showcase of their sustainability ethos. Each cocktail, from the Fig Leaf Colada to the Coastal Margarita, embodying their commitment to using locally sourced and foraged ingredients.
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Little Mercies, Crouch End, London
Two-time winner of the sustainability award, this bar continues to improve their efforts throughout the bar and kitchen. Most recent developments have included switching to 20l jerry cans for bourbon and rye and working with the local community to utilise food waste. The neighbourhood bar would have saved 10 tonnes of glass and therefore 10 tonnes of CO2 emissions by the end of this year.
Owner Alan Frost encourages other bars to ‘start small, stop trying to hit zero waste in first week. Little things that will make small improvements’.
Top 50 Cocktail Bars is partnering with Bar-Fabric, a next-level advocacy platform from the team at Brown-Forman, to launch the Rising Star Award, a new way to celebrate an individual in our industry who exemplifies our shared values.
Bar-Fabric is designed for hospitality leaders of today and tomorrow. At Bar-Fabric we believe that individual development can support the growth of the industry as a whole and that a thriving hospitality community is key to personal progression.
This award aims to recognise emerging talent in the industry by supporting and educating. We’ve had two rounds of judging already with the final stage taking place in London on 15-16th January 2024.
Your final five are…
Anna King - Raffles London at The OWO, London
Lina Otremba - Milk, Reading
Oscar Perry – Murder Inc., Soho, London
Patrick Saleh – Present Company, Liverpool
Zidan Azad – Passing Fancies, Birmingham