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World’s Best Bars 2013: Europe

When it comes to the best bars in Europe, Paris leads the charge, but Berlin, Prague and even Ibiza are providing a host of bibulous adventures for thirsty travellers. Tom Sandham reports.

Dive bar Glass in Paris, part of our World’s Best Bars 2013 rundown for Europe

We celebrated Paris in the last issue of The Spirits Business, and with very good reason since when it comes to pioneering bars, the city is setting stunning standards in Europe. Some newer faces get a mention here and make Paris a necessity for any global drinks traveller in 2013.

But equally interesting might prove Scandinavia, since the continuing success of its culinary scene is casting concentrated light on the epicurean adventures you can enjoy here – and bars seem to be taking advantage. Elsewhere, Berlin is very much a worthy adversary, but Munich too is raising eyebrows.

And Prague is providing a potent mix as well. The full list of our recommended bars to watch next year is detailed on the following pages…

For the full list of all the predictions in our World’s Best Bars 2013 feature, click here.

EUROPEAN BARS TO WATCH: Candelaria/ Glass, Paris

Josh Fontaine, Carina Soto Velasquez and Adam Tsou met at the Experimental Cocktail Club and took a combined affection for quality cocktails and decent eats with them when they set up their first venue, Candelaria. At the front end you’ll find a taqueria serving street-style Latin food in a small space that generates plenty of atmosphere. Head through a nondescript back door, though, and you’ll find an equally intimate environment where the cocktails have earned critical acclaim.

Having succeeded in the first instance, they went on to open highly anticipated second venue Glass in September this year.

This is a touch smarter on the surface but equally relaxed in its approach, bringing a twist on a dive bar concept. Expect frozen drinks machines, cocktails on tap, and a premixed G&T by the bottle to challenge the conventions of formulaic cocktails.

Le Coq, Paris, France

Mentioned in the last issue, this is certainly a bar to watch. Eric Fossard and Thierry Daniel have plenty of experience in the French bar market and have joined forces with Tony Conigliaro for Le Coq.

The British pioneer of science and flavour has picked up a gaggle of global gongs for his drinks and bars, including the highly acclaimed 69 Colebrooke Row in London.

Le Ballroom du Beefclub, Paris, France

A new venue from ECC Français, this bar is situated in the basement of the Beef Club, its new steak restaurant in Paris. The drinks list is modest, with only eight cocktails to keep things simple, and it remains faithful to the stylish décor approach to the company’s other four classic cocktail venues.

Ruby, Copenhagen, Denmark

Ruby is not a new bar, let that be made clear first and foremost, indeed it’s a celebrated one. But it remains a shining gem for the Scandinavians and evidence that the major cities can match quality cuisine with cocktails.

A beautiful townhouse converted into a bar on a number of levels, it has set the bar high for the region. Elsewhere in Scandinavia, Oslo seems to be alerting the discerning drinkers with the likes of Aqua Vitae and beautiful Theatercaféen also capturing the imagination of travelling bartenders.

Black Angel’s Bar, Prague, Czech Republic

This one deserves a mention for pushing the discerning drinks messages in Prague and adding to a growing list of venerable establishments in the city. The precision applied to making the drinks here makes this lower level hotel bar a necessary experience if you’re in town.

Buck & Breck, Berlin, Germany

Germany continues to set impressive standards, and you’ll find some of the best drinks in the world here. Difficult to discover on a busy night, there are only 14 seats around the bar and you’ll need to knock on the door of what looks like a flat or gallery.

Worth persevering, though, and drinks are made with precision and extraordinary flair. Elsewhere in Germany, Munich is on the up and up, with Die Goldene Bar recently earning huge acclaim.

Hidden Bar, Ibiza, Spain

And for something completely different, if you make it out to Ibiza this is a must-see. Run by the multi-award-winning Chris Edwardes who has worked in illustrious bars including the Groucho Club and Atlantic Bar, this is serving up the best holiday drinks known to man.

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