We always have a blast organising The Bar Awards around Asia and love seeing the community come together to inspire and be inspired by each other. We’ve enjoyed epic bar experiences, but one thing we never get a chance to do is vote and share our opinions (in the the interest of objectivity throughout our nominations and voting system). Now that we have announced and celebrated our region’s bartenders, bars and communities, we get a chance to relax and reflect on the past year. For your bar hopping pleasure, here is a list of our favourite tippling spots to carry along into 2020.
Editor, The Bar Awards
Jigger & Pony, Singapore Award-winning Jigger & Pony is among the World’s 50 Best Bars for good reason; it treads that fine balance between a classic cocktail approach and creative sensibility, combining modern aristocratic sophistication and great service in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere. It is always where I send out-of-towners looking for a great drinking spot but most likely I am there with them, *hic.
Editor, The Bar Awards
The Pontiac, Hong Kong ‘Ponty’, as many affectionately call it, is a place I hold close to my heart. It has all of the makings of a great bar. Drinks are great, the price is right and the hospitality is warm and welcoming. I find myself easily drawn in like a moth to a flame – on the more exciting evenings, it is actually a huge bonfire crackling with character and charm. Because of its central location, you will always find a familiar industry face knocking back a beer or two. This is the bar that I have made many new friends, shed tears but have shared more laughter and good times. It is definitely my favourite bar in Hong Kong and most likely, as we approach 2020, of the last decade too.
One of my recent regular haunts for dinner and several whisky highballs is #Miyagisays (and yes, it is spelled with a hashtag). They describe themselves as a “Japanese mamak,” which is true to its description. When I’m not in the mood for cocktails or beer, #MiyagiSays is my go to place for affordable whisky highballs (they go at about MYR 11 each during Happy Hour!). There’s also live music later int he evening.
Backdoor Bodega is a real speakeasy – it took me quite a while to find their f#&@ing backdoor entrance but that only adds to charm. Lead by two amazing bartenders, Ooi Foo Giap and Koh Yung Shen (who both made the Top 4 for the 2019 awards and Shen took home the Bartender of the Year title), everything just feels right… Good drinks, good vibe, fun crew. One thing you must try is their twist on the JungleBird, I am sure Jeffrey Ong (the inventor) would be proud.
JungleBird is my favourite bar in Kuala Lumpur. I love the energy from the team, especially during their more vibrant evenings. Loli, Joshua and Divy leads the awesome team and I always look forward to one of their cocktails and sharing a conversation with them. Their dedication to rum is also a huge plus, and I don’t mind a tipple or five whilst editing photos.
There are not many bars in Hong Kong (or the world, for that matter) that has dedicated their entire concept to ice. I’m talking about their own “ice suite” with Clinebell freezers, saw bands and a walk in freezer that is precisely set at negative 18 degrees. What is the best way to enjoy the crystal clear ice? In tall drinks, of course. Order a highball or a gin tonic and admire the clarity.
Located near Victory Monument BTS, Saxophone is a Bangkok institution for jazz music and revelry. Don’t expect craft cocktails or haute cuisine here; instead, indulge in some of Bangkok’s most talented musicians amidst a relaxed, fun ambiance.
Why is this place so special? My parents used to come here to date, so the concept of Tron Young most likely originated here.
Top Image: Junglebird
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