The World's 50 Best Bars: Under the numbers

and the Academy clearly agree it delivered. Meanwhile, Licorería Limantour and Little Red Door in fourth and fifth place are both nine-time members of The World’s 50 Best Bars, but the top five is new territory for both. Time will tell whether they’ve found their summit.  
Double Chicken Please is the hot bar in New York right now. For visitors to the city – particularly for NA50BB and BCB Brooklyn – this was the bar everyone was talking about and in GN Chan the bar has a figurehead known to the community. To make landing inside the top 10 though, is up there with the best debuts in the list’s history. Meanwhile, refined dives Two Schmucks (making its third appearance) in seventh and Katana Kitten (with four lists) in ninth are both bartender bars, co-owned by well known figures – Masahiro Urushido and Moe Aljaff respectively. They are both safe bets to be top 10 finishes for future lists, barring unforeseen developments.  
Which takes us to 10th, where Alquímico lands, after an absence last year. Led by Jean Trinh, the Bartenders’ Bartender 2022, this farm-to-glass bar has inspired many. Its absence in last year’s list could probably be put down to how severely hampered travel to South America was in 2020 and some of last year. We might see Alquímico’s 2022 placement as a better indication of its future direction – upwards.
The spread
The top 10 has more of an international feel than ever before, and more cities were represented in the 50 than last year – 26 to 23. But while this broadening of excellence trend is visible, within it there has also been a return to form for New York, the cocktail capital for 2022 with six bars on the list (its highest since 2019), and London, which reclaimed some of its lost ground to claim five spots. As we discussed on these pages in 2021, this year saw more global travel and, while the destinations are now more varied, it was a boon for the two bar hubs on either side of the Atlantic.  
While gains have been made also in Mexico City, which is increasingly becoming a powerhouse bar scene, there have been losses in Asia. Here, Covid restrictions have limited travel: Singapore’s share shrunk by four bars, Shanghai’s by three. In total, Asia’s number halved from 16 to eight. Australia suffered a similar fate, with two bars dropping out. These places were shared around Europe (rising from 17 to 20), North America (from eight to 12), South America (from three to five) and Africa & The Middle East (from two to three).  
Indies vs hotels
In 2018, the top five of the list was: Dandelyan, American Bar, Manhattan, The NoMad and Connaught Bar. It was peak hotel bar – a time of grand concepts, plush bars and big budgets winning over bartender start-ups - and it felt like a trend that was here to stay. Well, fast forward to 2022 and there are only five hotel bars in the entire list – just one in the top 10. It’s been a steady development, but collectively independents are now the power. As travel returns to full speed over the next few years and hotels recover their swagger, it’s probable their share of the list will increase.  
The churn
Nineteen bars left the list this year, which, while one fewer than last year’s 20, is considerably more than the five-year average of 15. It is the second largest churn since 2012. What’s more, seven of the 19 to have departed were from the top 30 of 2021’s list – a high proportion, historically speaking – proving that in today’s unstable times, even a top-half finish is scant guarantee of a bar repeating the feat the following year.  
Though, as we said last year, 2021, with its voting period reaching back to the start of the pandemic in 2020, was an outlier list which might then lead to a natural correction. The 2022 list certainly feels less volatile but was still impacted by reduced travel and Covid-related factors restricting performance in Asia, particularly Singapore and China.  

The 19 bars to join the list included five which have appeared before – Alquímico, Swift, Himkok, Carnaval and Employees Only. Having fallen into the 51-100 list in 2021 they were well-placed to bounce straight back. A good number of new entries were familiar too – the likes of Satan’s Whiskers, Red Frog, L’Antiquario and Tropic City are all over five years old. While for some 50 Best status is acquired within a year or two of opening, for most it’s a slower burn – something for aspiring bar owners to consider if recognition doesn’t come instantly. To think Satan’s Whiskers features in its first 1-50 list and it turns 10 next year.