This year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars have just been announced, and three bars from the Philippines made it to the list: The Back Room at number 50, OTO at number 47, and The Curator Coffee & Cocktails at number 37. These results mark the country’s best showing on the list so far.
Makati-based bar The Curator, although down from number 25 on last year’s list, retains its title of Best Bar in the Philippines for the third consecutive year. This year’s results also mark The Curator’s fourth time to be named one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars. Meanwhile, this is The Back Room’s first time to be included on the list—a particularly impressive achievement given that the bar only opened in September 2018.
“I still can’t believe it. We really weren’t expecting it immediately. It’s one of our goals but not within less than a year of opening. I have a very young team. Being included in the list now means we really have to work harder moving forward,” said The Back Room’s head bartender Aldrin Ivan Ancheta who was present at the awarding ceremony at the Capitol Theatre in Singapore.
The Curator co-owner Jericson Co was also present at the awards, expressing his support for the two other Filipino bars that made it to the list: “So proud! It makes life easier if there’s a colocation among us and that everyone has their voice being showcased. So we hope this continues.”
The top spot this year went to Hong Kong’s The Old Man (number 5 last year), ousting Singapore bar Manhattan. An homage to writer Ernest Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1952 novel, The Old Man serves inventive cocktails such as a butter-fat-washed gin and a beeswax-infused bourbon.
Launched in 2016, Asia’s 50 Best Bars are based on votes from more than 200 industry experts across Asia.