Most exciting bar openings of 2020By Owen Bellwood
Despite the challenges of 2020, some of the industry’s leading bartenders continued to unveil impressive venues over the last 12 months. We’ve scoured the globe to find the most exciting openings of the year.
Despite lockdown measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in one of the most challenging years in memory for the global on-trade, the sector has still welcomed a host of exciting new bars throughout 2020.
Across the UK, US, Australia and Singapore, drinkers have been treated to new venues, including those from acclaimed bar owner Ryan Chetiyawardana and Dutch duo Tess Posthumus and Timo Janse.
The past year has also seen the launch of a new Sherry-focussed venue in Wales, North Carolina’s latest craft cocktail den and a Canadian bar that celebrates the aperitivo culture of Italy.
Click through the following pages to discover our list of the world’s hottest new bar openings of 2020.
Silver Lyan – Washington, US
Award-winning bar owner Ryan Chetiyawardana opened his first US outpost in February – Silver Lyan.
The “opulent” cocktail den opened in the Riggs hotel in Washington DC, and is said to “re-imagine the traditional hotel bar”.
While Silver Lyan is currently closed for indoor drinking, cocktails from its menu can be delivered to drinkers at home. Through the Silver Lyan at Home platform, drinkers can sample serves such as the Project Manhattan, which combines Westward Whiskey, Laird’s applejack, vermouths and blackcurrant, and the Beeswax Old Fashioned, made using Scotch whisky, Beeswax and Lyan bitters.
Address: 900 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Dutch Courage – Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Since October, bartenders Tess Posthumus and Timo Janse have been mixing up killer cocktails at their second venue, Dutch Courage.
The duo behind Amsterdam bar Flying Dutchmen Cocktails opened Dutch Courage in celebration of the local drinking culture, with a menu of native beers, liqueurs, spirits and creative cocktails. Dutch Courage has a focus on genever and offers 150 different genevers from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany, showcased through an extensive range of genever-based cocktails.
The Dutch bar is also home to the “first cooled kopstootjes-automatiek in the world”. The machine is a traditional Dutch vending machine, which has been customised to serve three samples of genever, each paired with a beer.
Address: Zeedijk 12, 1012 AX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Double Dealer – New Orleans, US
Opened early in 2020, Double Dealer is a lively basement-level bar and lounge in the heart of New Orleans.
Accessed through an unmarked side entrance of the Orpheum Theatre, the Double Dealer is made up of four distinct rooms, each offering innovative cocktails and live entertainment.
The Double Dealer’s cocktail programme, curated by bar director Miki Nikolic, features drinks such as The Shining Pyramid, made with Tequila, prickly pear purée, maraschino, hibiscus syrup and lime juice, and Cables of Cobweb, which combines rum, grapefruit shrub, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters.
Address: 129 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
Vermut – Cardiff, UK
Vermut opened in the Welsh capital Cardiff in February, serving up a curated selection of Spanish Sherry, wines from Montilla-Moriles and vermouth.
The Welsh bar has been modelled on casual late-night venues found in cities like Madrid. It has the capacity to hold 30 people and offers drinkers a varied selection of Sherry and vermouth, as well as a creative cocktail menu.
While the bar is currently closed due to the UK lockdown, the team behind Vermut can be found serving ‘a little bit of Spain’ at sister venue Curado Deli, where drinkers can pick up a range of Sherries and vermouths.
Address: 2 Guildhall Place, Cardiff CF10 1EB, UK
Kings Cross – Sydney, Australia
Sydney’s Kings Cross Distillery opened its doors in October, offering drinkers the chance to sample creative cocktails made using gin distilled on-site.
Kings Cross Distillery serves an array of refreshing cocktails, from the Impeachment, which boasts smoky peach flavours that “burst out of the bubble”, to the Pepperation Makes Perfect, a gin Old Fashioned with savoury flavours.
Alongside creative cocktails, guests can sample small plates with a “Mediterranean vibe”, such as boquerones, garlic prawns, albondigas and chorizo a la plancha.
Address: Shop 8, Ground Floor, 127-133 Macleay Street, Potts Point NSW 2011, Australia
Corpse Reviver – North Carolina, US
The duo behind North Carolina-based Durham Distillery opened the doors to Corpse Reviver Cocktail Bar & Lounge.
Inspired by modern gin bars, Corpse Reviver Bar & Lounge is named in honour of the classic gin cocktail and its setting in a former coffin shop. The bar offers a “stylish and luxurious setting” in which to enjoy cocktails that highlight Durham Distillery’s Conniption American Dry Gin and Conniption Navy Strength Gin.
While Corpse Reviver Bar & Lounge is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, drinkers in North Carolina can order cocktails to-go from the bar. The takeaway offering includes kits to make the bar’s signature Corpse Reviver cocktail, as well as the Tiki Cafe, which combines the flavours of coffee, orange, mint and cinnamon.
Address: 715 Washington Street, Durham, NC 27701, USA
Baccarat Bar – London, UK
Luxury London department store Harrods opened the doors to its first stand alone bar, Baccarat, in July.
Harrods’ Baccarat bar features a menu created by bar manager, Cameron Attfield, which consists of 16 signature drinks based around the concept of ‘Refraction and Clarity’. The interior, which was designed by Fabled Studio, pays homage to crystal house Baccarat.
The venue can accommodate 23 guests, offering drinkers a chance to relax in an “intimate and idyllic, yet safe environment”. However, due to the current UK lockdown, Baccarat is currently closed to drinkers.
Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, UK
Capo and the Spritz – Vancouver, Canada
Open at Vancouver’s Opus Hotel in October, Capo and the Spritz is a neighbourhood restaurant and cocktail bar, which serves up Italian-inspired aperitivo cocktails.
Featuring a beverage programme developed by Diageo World Class 2017 winner Kaitlyn Stewart, the venue is divided into two distinct areas. Capo is a neighbourhood pizzeria that serves traditional Italian pizzas given a modern twist. The Spritz is a 22-seat cocktail bar that strives to offer warm hospitality with drinks that celebrate the aperitivo culture of Italy.
Capo and the Spritz is also currently offering a click-and-collect service for its menu. Drinkers in Vancouver can order starters, pasta, pizza and a selection of wines to collect from the venue.
Address: 350 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1R2, Canada
Barbary Coast Ballroom – Singapore
Opened in February, Singapore’s Barbary Coast Ballroom boasts “lush, opulent interiors” as well as a menu of “thoughtful and creative drinks suited to all palates”.
Inside, the walls are adorned with patterned wallpaper while chandeliers and vintage furniture fill the room. For a more intimate setting, Barbary Coast Ballroom also offers two VIP booths with Champagne on demand at the push of a button.
Highlights on the bar’s cocktail menu include Three Graces, made with Sage Pisco Encanto, Fernet Hunter, Madagascan vanilla acid and rhubarb bitters, and the Tommy Tomate, which combines tomato-infused Mezcal Vida, kaffir-infused agave and lime.
Address: 16 North Canal Road, Level 01 and 02, Singapore, 048828
Bergamo’s – New York, US
Opened by Company You Keep Hospitality, Bergamo’s is a New York cocktail lounge serving expertly-crafted drinks and small plates.
The sprawling 8,530-square-foot space offers seating for 275 guests and was designed by Shop Architects. The bar boasts a “striking” vaulted ceiling with custom-made tiles, jungle-motif wallpaper and “eclectic vintage furniture”.
Drinkers at Bergamo’s can sample the Devil in White, made with Manhattan Moonshine, Dolin Blanc and chocolate bitters, and the Mezcalero, which combines Montelobos Mezcal, Suze, Cointreau and Cocchi Americano Bianco.
Address: 26 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA