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India’s first contest declares 30 top bars

India’s ‘30 Top Bar Awards’ announced New Delhi’s Sidecar (L) was adjudged the Best Bar and also won the Best Cocktail Menu and Best Independent Bar awards. Bartending expert and educationist Shatbhi Basu (R) was feted with the Industry Legend award.

‘30 Best Bars India 2019’, the country’s first independent, national, annual ranking of bars and a celebration of Indian bartending talent and growing bar culture in India, recently announced the deserving winners at an awards ceremony in New Delhi.

Organised by Tulleeho and Man’s World magazine, it was backed by a strong intention to give Indian talent global recognition and provide an annual platform to recognise and raise the standard of bars and beverage service in India.

New Delhi’s Sidecar emerged as India’s Best Bar, followed by The Bombay Canteen (Mumbai), Cocktails and Dreams Speakeasy (Gurugram), Comorin (Gurugram) and House of Nomad-Taj Land’s End (Mumbai).

Aer-Four Seasons (Mumbai), Byg Brewski Brewing Co. (Bengaluru), O’Pedro (Mumbai), PCO (New Delhi) and Hong Kong Club-Andaz (New Delhi) rounded up the Top 10 list.

The  House of Nomad-Taj Land’s End won Best Bar Design award; The Bombay Canteen and Byg Brewski jointly won the Best Bar Team award; Toit (Bengaluru) won the Best Microbrewery/ Taproom award; and Aer-Four Seasons (Mumbai) won the Best Hotel Bar award.

Sidecar (New Delhi) also won the Best Cocktail Menu award and Best Independent Bar award. The Harbour Bar at Taj Mahal Palace (Mumbai) won the Best Vintage Bar award.

Mr Varun Sudhakar of The Runway Project by PizzaExpress (Mumbai) was declared the Best Bartender; and bartending expert and educationist, Ms Shatbhi Basu, was the winner of the inaugural Industry Legend award.

Public favourites were Refinery 091 (Kolkata) and Byg Brewski (Bengaluru), which won the People’s Choice Best Bar award and People’s Choice Best Microbrewery/ Taproom award respectively. These awards were based on an open online poll for the public.

Raising the bar

The National Capital Region (Gurugram, New Delhi and Noida) dominated with 10 rankings, followed by Mumbai (9), Bengaluru (8) and Kolkata (3). The bars covered over a dozen Indian cities, including Chandigarh, Jaipur, Shillong, Darjeeling, Pune, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi and Puducherry.

Mr. Vikram Achanta, Co-founder and CEO of Tulleeho said, “This has been a very interesting journey for us. We started with a master list of 450 deserving bars across more than 12 cities in the country to arrive at our list of 30 Best Bars. This attests to the fast growing nature of the bar scene in the country. Some of the winners will easily measure up to the best in Asia.”

Releasing the rankings, Mr. Radhakrishnan Nair, Publisher & Editor of Man’s World said, “Although this was the first edition of the ranking and awards, we witnessed huge participation and attendance from the industry and bar enthusiasts. We hope to make ‘30 Best Bars in India’ the gold standard for the bar industry in the country.”

Others that made it to the top 30 rankings – not already listed above – were Gylt (Bengaluru), Whisky Samba (Gurugram), Thirsty City (Mumbai), The Grid (Kolkata), Someplace Else (Kolkata), Koko (Mumbai), Arbor Brewing Co. (Bengaluru), Perch (New Delhi), Windmills Craftworks (Bengaluru), Sly Granny (Bengaluru), Toast and Tonic (Bengaluru), The Piano Man Jazz Club (New Delhi), Olive Bar and Kitchen (Mumbai), The Reservoire (Bengaluru), Americano (Mumbai), Bob’s Bar (Bengaluru), Ek Bar (New Delhi), Hauz Khas Social (New Delhi) and Roxy (Kolkata).

Ahead of the awards and rankings, 13 leading bars in NCR hosted a week-long Cocktail Carnival in October. The bars curated six special cocktails each for their patrons for the week and offered at a special pricing.

On the eve of the announcement, a special bar takeover was organised where The Bombay Canteen (Mumbai), Off-The-Record (Chennai) and the Bar Masons (Chennai) took over the bar at Together@12th (Le Meridian, Gurugram).

‘30 Best Bars India 2019’ was supported by Beam Suntory, Diageo India, Grover Zampa, Pullman Aerocity, Bacardi India, United Breweries, Svami Drinks, DVKSP, SpeedX Bars, Himalayan Water, MaRS and Sleepy Owl Coffee.