COA OF HONG KONG NAMED ASIA'S BEST BAR DEFYING COVID DOOM
By Susan Lewis
Coa of Hong Kong retained its title as Asia’s Best Bar at the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022 ceremony held in Bangkok last week.
The bar has been selling bottled cocktails to customers to survive Hong Kong's Covid measures which see all pubs and bars shut since early January this year.
Singapore’s Jigger & Pony again took second place, that means the top two positions were unchanged from the 2021 list, while new entry Argo from Hong Kong took third position.
Coa was launched in 2017 by bartender-owner Jay Khan with a focus on agave spirits. It first entered the list in 2019, winning the Highest New Entry Award at number 12, before climbing to third in 2020, and winning top position last year.
This year Coa became the second bar to top the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars in consecutive years, matching Manhattan (2017 and 2018).
In Coa’s candle-lit, industrial-style space, spirit enthusiasts can taste rare-varietal mezcal and other unsung agave-based liquors, plus signature cocktails such as the grapefruit-spiked mezcal and tequila blend, La Paloma de Oaxaca, which is the only cocktail that has been on the list since the bar opened.
This particular drink was canned and sold (including a pouch of worm salt) in huge numbers in Hong Kong as part of a successful programme that kept the bar going through the city’s various lockdowns.
“We could not be happier that Asia’s 50 Best Bars returns to a live event format this year and that the community can experience much-needed connection and conviviality once again," said Mark Sansom, content director for Asia’s 50 Best Bars.
"Asia’s bars have shown remarkable resilience and growth in spite of the challenges of the past two years, and we continue to be proud to celebrate the talent and creativity on display in bars all across Asia.
"Congratulations to Jay Khan and the team at Coa for holding onto their top position after another tumultuous year for Hong Kong.
"Coa’s winning cocktail of an Agave-spirits- forward menu, expertly-crafted menu and a complete understanding of the guest experience has again proven to strike a winning chord with our voting academy.”
The list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022, sponsored by Perrier, featured 14 new entries and bars spanning 16 different cities across Asia.
The awards is voted by a panel of 250 industry experts from the region, including bartenders, bar owners, drinks writers, educators and cocktail aficionados.
The inclusion of Smoke & Bitters in Hiriketiya marked Sri Lanka’s debut in the top 50.
Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022:
1. Coa (Hong Kong)
2. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)
3. Argo (Hong Kong) – highest new entry
4. Tesouro (Goa)
5. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo) – best bar in Japan
6. Indulge Experimental Bistro (Taipei) – best bar in Taiwan
7. Charles H (Seoul) – best bar in South Korea
8. MO Bar (Singapore)
9. Manhattan (Singapore)
10. BKK Social Club (Bangkok) – best bar in Thailand
11. Sober Company (Shanghai) – best bar in Mainland China
12. Republic Bar (Singapore)
13. Darkside (Hong Kong)
14. Sidecar (New Delhi)
15. No Sleep Club (Singapore)
16. Quinary (Hong Kong)
17. Tropic City (Bangkok)
18. Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou)
19. Vesper (Bangkok)
20. Lamp Bar (Nara)
21. The SG Club (Tokyo)
22. Penicillin (Hong Kong)
23. Atlas (Singapore)
24. Aha Saloon (Taipei)
25. Bar Trench (Tokyo)
26. Hoots’ (New Delhi)
27. Tippling Club (Singapore)
28. Bar Cham (Seoul)
29. Bar Trigona (Kuala Lumpur) – best bar in Malaysia
30. Home (New Delhi)
31. Sago House (Singapore)
32. The Cocktail Club (Jakarta) – best bar in Indonesia
33. The Pontiac (Hong Kong)
34. The Wise King (Hong Kong)
35. Jungle Bird (Kuala Lumpur)
36. Nutmeg & Clove (Singapore)
37. Analogue (Singapore)
38. The Aubrey (Hong Kong)
39. Le Chamber (Seoul)
40. Alice (Seoul)
41. Memento Mori (Tokyo)
42. Smoke & Bitters (Sri Lanka) – best bar in Sri Lanka
43. Asia Today (Bangkok)
44. Copitas (Bengaluru)
45. Union Trading Company (Shanghai)
46. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok)
47. Bee’s Knees (Kyoto)
48. Zest (Seoul)
49. 28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)
50. Speak Low (Shanghai)
(the writer can be contacted at: email@example.com)
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