Cover The winners of the Tatler Dining Bar Awards 2022 (Photo: Anna Koustas/Tatler Dining)

The inaugural Tatler Dining Bar Awards revealed its Top 10 Bars and Best of the Year winners at a ceremony taking place at the first edition of the Hong Kong Cocktail Festival

Taking place on the final night of a vibrant Hong Kong Cocktail Festival taking place in KIN Food Halls, the Tatler Dining Bar Awards 2022 brought together the best of Hong Kong's bar and drinks industry for a night of celebration amidst adversity. The culmination of two years of planning—during which time the city's nightlife economy changed beyond recognition—the Awards mark a first in the history of Tatler Dining, in recognition of the important role that bars and mixology play in Hong Kong's gastronomic landscape.

Following the format of our annual Tatler Dining Awards, the Bar Awards are split into two sections. The Top 10 Bars is an unranked collection of the year’s most interesting, impactful and inspiring bars. They are chosen by the Tatler Dining team with the help of the reviewing panel and the voting panel, which consists of industry leaders and tastemakers. We also invited the drinking public to cast their votes in a public ballot, the results of which we factored into the final outcomes. After a thorough process of nominating, vetting, and voting, we have arrived at the final list.

Meanwhile, the Best of the Year Awards honour the bars and people who have made the drinking scene flourish against all odds and in spite the challenges of the past few years. This year's winners and nominees have demonstrated incredible resilience to earn a spot in the running for each of our awards.

Without further ado, read on to find out the full list of winners and nominees for the Tatler Dining Bar Awards 2022.

Top 10 Bars

Argo

With a firm foot in the future, this bar offers thoughtful and precise cocktails that are also a hell of a lot of fun. A stunning list of groundbreaking spirits sourced from around the world, and an awe-inspiring interior complete the package.

The Aubrey

Nestled in the Mandarin Oriental, this charming and transportive bar offers a quasi-European take on the izakaya. A solid beverage programme provides insight into the burgeoning world of Japanese shochu and awamori.

Bar Buonasera

This outpost of an Osaka-based bar attracts a loyal following for delicately crafted cocktails by head bartender Nick Tse and wife Ayako Miyake. The bar provides an intimate space for anyone to experience the magic of Japanese mixology, while serving as a training ground for bartenders looking to learn the ritualistic ways of the Japanese cocktail bar.

COA

A widely-recognised pioneer in promoting agave spirits in Asia, COA serves creative cocktails that are sophisticated with minimal garnish—letting the bright flavours speak for themselves.

Darkside

Last year, Darkside launched one of Hong Kong's most delightfully presented cocktail menus that took inspiration from the phases of the moon. In the process, they showed the capacity to think big and surprise while staying true to their core identity.

Mizunara: The Library

This gentle and sophisticated bar features a considerable library of whiskies, as well as a sizeable selection of classic cocktails and seasonal Japanese specials that whisk guests away to Japan time and time again.

Penicillin

Featuring closed loop production and a penchant for experimentation, Penicillin is certainly Hong Kong's most innovative in terms of sustainable mixology, with passionate staff who are always eager to educate.

Quinary

A decade old and still going strong, it’s no exaggeration to describe this bar as a stalwart of the Hong Kong bar scene, with a signature cocktail that is a modern classic in its own right.

The Old Man

Featuring a programme of innovative cocktails inspired by Ernest Hemingway that are continuously being refined and reworked, this bar serves big, unusual flavours that are best suited to those with an open mind.

The St. Regis Bar

Last but not least, this hotel bar is a perfect escape from the city, thanks to an Art Deco-inspired design. The cocktail list is extensive, creative and delicious, and pays homage to the history of Hong Kong’s tramlines and New York’s subway, while lovers of the Bloody Mary will find no less than three versions to enjoy here.

Best of the Year Awards

Rising Star: Taki Li, The St. Regis Bar

An emerging talent with great potential, who has made a serious impression with their work in the industry.

Having worked at some of the city’s top hotels, Hong Kong-born Li is currently a senior bartender at Hong Kong's The St. Regis Bar. Trained in multimedia design, she combines a keen visual awareness with precise technique and a warm style of service, marking her out as a force to be reckoned with not only within bartending, but hospitality at large.

Best Interior Design: The Aubrey

A venue that makes the best visual impact and an unforgettable first impression.

Designed by Singapore-based Silverfox Studios, this bar has often been described as eccentric. Its distinctive interior embodies an old world charm with opulent design elements that embrace the 19th-century movement of Japonisme. Original ukiyo-e woodblock prints line the walls, and inside, bespoke furniture contends with glamorous fixtures that are sure to whisk drinkers away to a bygone era. The design theme also changes as one walks through the space, from an omakase bar to a curio lounge; while the views of Central district certainly lend a sense of gravitas to each occasion.

Best Service: Darkside

A bar where the staff impress with their depth of knowledge, attentiveness, and professionalism.

Upon entering Darkside, you’ll always be greeted with a warm smile. The bar service is swift and knowledgeable and bartenders are able to anticipate guests' needs, switching from the Forgotten Classics menu to the thoroughly contemporary Moon Menu to suit each drinker's tastes. If you're lucky, they might even sneak you a piece of the housemade dark chocolate or two.

Initiative of the Year: One Penicillin One Tree, Penicillin

Dedicated to a venue or brand that has demonstrated quick thinking and creativity in response to the problems that face the industry and wider society today.

Penicillin has dedicated itself to shining a light on the environmental impact of your average cocktail. Drawing attention to this issue is their signature cocktail, the One Penicillin One Tree, which changes with the seasons (currently it's comprised of white chocolate whisky, strawberry brine, and coconut kefir) but always provides a climate-positive way to imbibe. Each order also results in a native tree being planted in Indonesia's Kalimantan forest every time. You can truly have your cocktail and drink it too.

Impact Award: The Daily Tot x Women For Women Negroni Month

In recognition of a venue or brand that has made an impact on the way we perceive the bar industry as a force for good.

Negroni Week has always had a charitable aspect to it, but in 2021, The Daily Tot went further by hosting an entire month dedicated to raising funds for the Women For Women Initiative to benefit women in Afghanistan during a very difficult period of turmoil. Timely and effective, The Daily Tot's initiative should serve as a blueprint for other bars to do good while making great cocktails.

Best Local Drinks Producer: N.I.P Gin

A brewer or distiller based in Hong Kong that successfully translates the essence of the city into delicious products that can be enjoyed by everyone.

The founders of N.I.P Gin, Nick Law and Jeremy Li, not only jumped through all the regulatory hoops of setting up a distillery, but also went as far as building their copper still by hand. Since launching, their gin has become one of the most recognisable bottles locally, and they’ll never let an opportunity pass to create special seasonal editions like a Catnip Gin and a gold-flaked Chinese New Year gin.

Best Food Programme: The Shady Acres

A bar that spares no effort with its food menu, as judged by a combination of creativity, execution, variety, flavour, and pairing potential.

Offering some of the most satisfying bites anywhere in Soho, The Shady Acres is well-known for its Impossible Cheeseburger and Leftover Bolognese Jaffle that consistently win over our midnight cravings.

Best Drinks Programme: COA

A bar that best showcases a combination of creativity, execution, aesthetic, and flavour in their drinks menu.

COA is consistently full every night thanks to a concise but deeply loved menu of approachable cocktails. The drinks are tasty, but more importantly, they manage to educate guests on a drinking culture from halfway around the world, hooking many drinkers on the qualities of agave-based spirits since it opened its doors in 2017.

Best New Bar: Argo

The best new drinking spot that opened in the past 18 months

The past 18 months have been the toughest-ever period to operate a bar in, never mind opening one from scratch. However, Argo has been applauded regionally for pulling off a project that would be highly ambitious in scale and vision even during normal times. Since opening in August 2021, it has changed the conversation around modernist spirits, and elevated a culture of meme-worthy cocktail drinking thanks to the good humour of the bar team.

Bartender of the Year: Devender Sehgal, The Aubrey

A bartender who has made a significant impact on the drinks scene in the past year with their vision or initiatives outside of the bar. 

Having found his current passion coincidentally during trip to Japan, Sehgal has since become one of its most ardent advocates in Hong Kong. His infectious energy would go on to convince one of Hong Kong’s oldest hotels, the Mandarin Oriental, as well as a major restaurant group, Maximal Concepts, to take a gamble on a little-known spirit category. The success of the bar has since inspired a second location in London.

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