TOTC’s best new international cocktail barsBy Annie Hayes
Tales of the Cocktail has whittled down the bar industry’s most acclaimed newcomers to 11 Spirited Awards nominees in a bid to name the Best New International Cocktail Bar.
Earlier this week the New Orleans-based spirits and cocktail festival named its top nominees for each of the 24 categories in the 2017 Spirited Awards – spanning bar teams, spirits ambassadors, cocktail products and beyond.
One of the most hotly anticipated categories is arguably Best New International Cocktail Bar. From grand Art Deco-inspired destination bars to neighbourhood café-slash-cocktail hangouts, all styles are considered, with the most creative and inspiring offerings securing the top spots.
The selection this year is truly global, with venues in the likes of Singapore, Brazil, France, Greece and Spain stepping into the spotlight – though it’s worth noting that US bars are recognised in a separate American section of the awards.
Click through the following pages to discover Tales of the Cocktail’s top 11 international cocktail bars in the running to win the Spirited Award.
Blackbird at The Dark Horse, Bath, UK
The Dark Horse, 7a Kingsmead Square, Bath, BA1 2AB
The brainchild of former Hendrick’s gin and Sailor Jerry rum brand ambassador Louis Lewis-Smith, this unassuming subterranean cocktail den prides itself on its local influence. The menu is seasonal and focuses on fresh and local products and ingredients wherever possible: English liqueurs and spirits, fruits and herbs sourced as close to Bath as possible – many of which are foraged from hills surrounding the city. It doesn’t stop there; aprons are handmade by a designer in Bristol, the sound system by Naim in Wiltshire, and furniture sourced from antique dealers in Bath, and built by a local artisan carpenter using timber sourced from Box.
Danico, Paris, France
6 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris
Parisian bartender and owner of New York City bar Mace, Nico De Soto, returned to his home turf with chic craft cocktail spot Danico a little over a year ago. Located inside in the heart of the Saint Germain district, the bar is part of Italian trattoria Daroco and features 12 cocktails made with 12 different spirits. The entire offering housed in Jean Paul Gaultier’s former flagship building – in homage, all the bar staff are clad in nautical striped shirts – and features bespoke wallpaper illustrated by French tattoo artist SupaKitch.
Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore, 188778
The vision of the Parkview Square owners the Hwang family, Atlas is an Art Deco-styled all-day drinking and dining destination that emulates the European grand lobbies of the period. The venue is headed up by head bartender Roman Foltán and maître d’ Carla Davina Soares, formerly of London’s Artesian at The Langham, and serves up a selection of drinks inspired by the Arts Décoratifs. The centrepiece of the grand lobby and bar is The Atlas Gin Collection, assembled in a ceiling-high tower, spanning 1910 London dry gins to modern “craft” gins.
Paradiso, Barcelona, Spain
Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Another new addition to Barcelona’s bar scene is Paradiso, described as a place to enjoy two unusual bedfellows: cocktails and pastrami. Located behind the fridge door of a pastrami bar, Paradiso gives a whole new meaning to the inconspicuous drinking trend. The speakeasy-style venue has received widespread acclaim for its inventive serves, exciting presentation, and intimate atmosphere.
Swift, London, UK
12 Old Compton Street, Central London, Soho, ￼W1D 4TQ
In late November 2016, cocktail duo Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson joined forces with Rosie Stimpson and Edmund Weil, of Nightjar and Oriole, to launch Swift on the former site of celebrated Lab Bar. The venture is split into two distinctive areas – on the top floor a bright, buzzy Art Nouveau era-inspired standing bar, championing a core section of aperitifs with a focus on Martinis. Downstairs beholds and a dimly lit leather-clad dark spirits-centric den serving up traditional cocktails with a contemporary twist, as well as a whisky library.
Guilhotina Bar, São Paulo, Brazil
R. Costa Carvalho, 84 – Pinheiros, São Paulo – SP, 05429-000, Brazil
It’s no secret that 2016 was an influential one for São Paulo’s cocktail scene – rounded off with the launch of Guilhotina Bar in mid-December. The key focus for bartender and consultant Márcio Silva – one of three co-owners – is to curate a “delicious and unpretentious experience” for guests at the rustic, industrial-style venue via a selection of cocktails priced very reasonably at 29 reais (US$8.70).
La Commune, Paris, France
80 Boulevard de Belleville, 75020, Paris
The team behind Parisian speakeasy Le Syndicat are back at it, this time with a Punch-centric bar inspired by recipes from Africa, India and the West Indies. The former was celebrated for championing the rich heritage and complexity of French spirits, and La Commune is no different. The bar revisits the classic cocktail with fresh garnishes, ingredients, aesthetics and spirits through this concurring theme: think calvados, Armagnac, Champagne and elderflower liqueur.
The Distillery, London, UK
186 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LA
Created by Portobello Road Gin founder Ged Feltham alongside directors Jake Burger, Tom Coates, Del Jones, and Paul Lane, The Distillery is pipped as the “world’s first” gin hotel. The venue houses Portobello Road Gin’s distillery, three luxury hotel rooms, a Spanish-inspired bar and kitchen, tasting room, ground-floor bar, private dining room, off-licence, artifacts museum and The Ginstitute gin-making experience.
Odori Vermuteria di Atene, Athens, Greece
Skouleniou 2, Athina 105 61, Greece
The latest outpost by The Clumsies team, made up of Lefteris Georgopoulos, Thanos Tsounakas and George Kaisaris, is a tribute to the vermouth bars – or Vermuterias – that once filled Torino in Italy, and is set to be Greece’s first. Odori pits itself as an “innovative all-day bar” that serves eight signature classic cocktails and aperitivo with interchangeable vermouths and Greek spirits to create an “overwhelming, clarifying and inventive” drinks catalogue. Translated, the name Odori represents the scent of the herbs used in Italian cuisine.
Three Sheets, London, UK
510b Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AB
Opened in September 2016 by brothers Noel and Max Venning, Three Sheets is a neighbourhood café-slash-bar in hip Dalston. Max recently left the position of operations manager at Tony Conigliaro’s Drink Factory, overseeing 69 Colebrooke Row, and opening Bar Termini, while Noel formerly ran Manchester-based Crazy Pedro’s, after stints at Trof and the Deaf Institute. The bar specialises in cocktails, offering a succinct seasonal menu of nine drinks that rotates weekly.
Dr. Stravinsky, Barcelona, Spain
Carrer dels Mirallers, 5, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona’s already thriving bar scene received a welcome boost with the recent opening of Dr. Stravinsky. The venue boasts compelling and curious cocktail recipes with a focus on fusing mixology and gastronomy; cutting edge techniques that allow maximum control over drinks creation; unique and artistic glassware; and warm, highly experience bartenders. Exciting things are sure to come in the future. We suggest you book in a visit, pronto.