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Winter’s hottest global bar openings

Cold and wet it may be, but one thing you can’t fault winter for is that it always delivers in new bar openings. We’ve rounded up 12 of the biggest debuts from the season.

Sip & Guzzle was one of the many new bars that opened in New York over winter

Winter swept the bar world across all corners of the map; from London to San Diageo, Bangkok and Melbourne.

As always, New Yorkers had luck in spades when it came to new bar openings, while those in Hong Kong have a new destination for first class views and drinks, and Sydney added another Tequila bar to its impressive repertoire.

Keep scrolling to learn about the 12 new spots that should be added to your bar bucket list.

For more recent openings, have a look at our guide to autumn’s new drinking dens, here.

Scales, London


Where: 25 Duke St, London W1U 1DJ

The drinks at Scales aren’t your usual ordinarily-made cocktails – not your usual ordinarily-made cocktails as in founders Din Jusufi and Engji Shala have their own laboratory off to the side of the bar, from where they extract flavours from locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients to produce the menu. Standouts includes clear creations such as the Shiso Apple made with green apple, shiso leaf and Desi Daru vodka.

The space itself is located discreetly under boutique bottle shop Drink With Sasha in Mayfair and with a sleek, intimate long bar, low-lit ambience and the interesting cocktails to boot, it’s already positioned itself as a strong option for date nights in London.

Sip & Guzzle, New York City

Sip & Guzzle

Where: 29 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014, US

Call it a homecoming, bartending veterans Shingo Gokan and Steve Schneider are back in the Big Apple after a lengthy absence running venues around Asia to do what they do best: open another world-class bar.

In this case its Sip & Guzzle, located in Greenwich Village, where Schneider (once of Employees Only New York and now of Employees Only Singapore) mans Guzzle, the ground-floor space inspired by New York saloons of the 1860s, and Gokan (formerly of Angel’s Share in New York, and founder of Speak Low in Shanghai) presides over Sip, the moody upstairs cocktail lair that draws from slower-paced speakeasy venues in Tokyo, as well as Gokan’s own bar in the Japanese capital, The SG Club – decorated with Japanese art commissioned personally by Gokan himself .

Come for creations like the Miami Vice Negroni, the Key Lime Gimlet and the Wagyu beef-topped Old Fashioned, and then come back again and again for everything else.

Stray, Manchester


Where: Eagle St, Manchester M4 5BU

Floor-to-ceiling windows, a stripped-back interior and an intriguing list of cocktails to dig into, Stray presents all the hallmarks of an evening where two drinks quickly turn into six.

New in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, the bar is looking to separate itself from the overcomplicated nature that tends to come with many cocktail venues these days, its proposition; ‘uncomplicated, well-executed cocktails, served in a relaxed setting for anyone who wants to swing by.’

Guests can opt for something more adventurous from the signature ‘Led Astray’ menu like Tomato Margarita, or stick with the classics such as Bloody Marys and Espresso Martinis, and then snare a seat by the window to watch the city go by.

Purple Pit, Melbourne

Where: Shop 2/B1/380 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Maurice Terzini and Joe Jones both have big pedigree in Melbourne’s food and drinks scene by their own rights, so it comes as no surprise that the two combining forces with the opening of Purple Pit has caused a stir.

The pair have moved into the basement of the Gothic-styled building on Collins Street that houses Reine and La Rue above, and have taken the best from both dive bars and the bars found in the grand hotels of Europe (i.e Harry’s Bar in Venice) for their design inspiration – think candle-lit tables and plush armchairs juxtaposed with brash art pieces and a post-punk soundtrack.

While the 1am closing time encourages late nights, it’s the cocktails – ranging from classic Negronis to a half-Martini, half-Champagne creation served with caviar – that set you on your way.

Bar Nena, New York City

new bars

Where: 63 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014, US

Bar or portal to Mexico City, you decide. Underneath West Village restaurant JaJaJa, the same team have created a space to mirror what you might find in Mexico’s capital.

Furnished with low-light fixtures, a terracotta-tiled floor and red banquettes, all illuminated in a warm date night glow, the subterranean bar features an agave-driven cocktail menu inspired by head bartender Gio Maya’s memories of growing up in Mexico City – with influences varying from her favourite after school snack to the sugar fields his grandparents harvested.

The bar also makes a trio of fermented beverages, based on 1,000-year-old recipes native to Mexico – pulque, tepache and tejuino – which guests can sample either in the cocktails or on their own for a low-ABV serve offering a ‘healthier alternative to a night out’.

F*nkytown, Bangkok

new bars

Where: 1, 39 Sukhumvit 37 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Dinner and drinks? F*nkytown on Sukhumvit 37 takes the classic concept up a notch, filtering the flavours of familiar food items into cocktails using local ingredients and closed-loop techniques – see the Roku Gin-based Caesar Salad, infused with olive oil and romaine lettuce syrup, then topped with parmigiano foam and dehydrated prosciutto.

Developed by Pae Ketumarn (who has honed his craft at Sober Company in Shanghai and The SG Club in Tokyo), each cocktail on the menu is presented with a ‘funkiness’ rating out of five, with drinks such as the Carrot Cake (pictured above) scaled at two for those who lean on the less funky side, and the Tom Yum Highball sitting on the bolder end of the spectrum at five.

The bar also looks after non-drinkers with half of the cocktails available in non-alcoholic form and the soundtrack gives the space an energy that’s guaranteed a good time, fuelled on by ’80s disco and naturally, funk.

Avoca, Hong Kong


Where: 38/F, Mondrian, 8A Hart Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Perched on the 38th floor of the new Mondrian Hotel in Kowloon, Avoca boasts shimmering views over Victoria Harbour and beyond for guests on a mission to impress.

Drink those in with zero-waste cocktails like the Clay Pot Negroni and Sesame and Peanut Butter Sour, which bar manager Joe Villanueva creates with culinary techniques and a rotary evaporator, and says are inspired by some of the city’s best-loved dishes.

For drinks with a view, it’s (literally) hard to top this.

Romeo’s, New York City


Where: 118 St Marks Place New York, NY 10009

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou? Excusing the dodgy Shakespeare references, this Romeo has opened on an East Village street well-documented for its legendary nightlife, St Mark’s Place.

Evan Hawkins is behind it, who has a slew of other New York establishments under his belt (he’s worked at Mother’s Ruin, Goodnight Sonny Tao and Broken Shaker), and here he’s serving cocktails in frozen glasses in a setting that’s lit up in neon and bright pink.

The menu is split into three sections – Highballs, The Shaken and The Stirred – with cocktails taking after classics, but with a personal touch. Expect spicy avocado Margaritas and pistachio Mai Tais, nightly screenings of ’90s romance films and much, much fun.

Gaslamplighter, San Diego

Where: 536 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101, US

Fancy cocktails served with caviar? Drunken singalongs that run until 2am? San Diego’s latest bar can do both.

Located in the city’s iconic Gaslamp Quarter, Gaslamplighter mixes the sophistication of ‘classic cocktails with a luxury twist’ with the thrills of karaoke in a flash Art Deco-designed space pulled from the 1920s.

The idea: get a few Negronis topped with 24k gold in you, sign up at the DJ booth and belt your heart out to your favourite tunes on the main stage. A standing ovation after may depend…

Centro 86, Sydney


Where: Basement 86/88 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

In Centro 86, Sydney has another spot to trade rounds of Margaritas and down shots in, and of course, it comes from the usual suspects: Mucho Hospitality Group, which has already brought the city Tequila bars Tio’s and Cantina OK.

This time round, the group has nabbed a 100-capacity basement on Pitt Street and filled it with popcorn machines and, as you would expect, 100 types of Tequila – some of which the team have aged themselves and others with Blue agave plants grown outside of Mexico, such as from Australia’s first commercial-sized agave farm in Bowen, Queensland.

Expect to sample some of world’s rarest Tequilas, including many that you can’t find anywhere else in Australia, and (probably) a headache the next day.

Scarlet Lounge, New York City


Where: 468 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10024

At the end of last year, actor Michael Imperioli – of The Sopranos and The White Lotus fame – opened a cocktail lounge on Upper West Side with his wife, Victoria Imperioli, and restaurateur Jeremy Wladis.

In terms of interior, the team have shot for an elegant look faithful to the Art Deco-era, clad in plenty of plush red and gold, while for drinks, they’ve split the cocktail menu between classics from the roaring ’20s (French 75s and Sazeracs) and signatures (think a Pisco Pink Panther or a rum and Champagne creation called The White Lotus).

Live jazz seduces in the background and there’s also a list of non-alcoholic cocktails with the Imperiolis being non-drinkers themselves. Will you see them there? Who knows, pull up a pew and find out…

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