London’s Connaught Named World’s Best Bar As Second Lockdown Begins

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  • Bloomberg QuickTake: Now published this video item, entitled “London’s Connaught Named World’s Best Bar As Second Lockdown Begins” – below is their description.

    Just as the U.K. enters a second Covid-19 lockdown Thursday, Connaught, London’s stylish hotel lounge, has been named the World’s Best Bar. It unseated Dante, in New York, which fell to No. 2 from the top spot last year. The irony is that Connaught Bar cannot properly celebrate its victory until Dec. 1, as a new four-week coronavirus lockdown takes effect in the U.K. That brings up a question: How can you name a world’s best bar when the majority of them have been closed for most of the year? Dante, for its part, pivoted to canned cocktails during the pandemic. Indeed, the list represents a virtual reshuffling of last year’s winners. Almost all the bars in the top 20 simply moved up or down a few spots, while the entire list, spread across 23 countries, features just 11 new entries. Winners were announced online in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 5 after the original plans for an extravagant event in Singapore were canceled because of Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions. The second half of the list, Nos. 51 to 100, had already been released online. Organizer Mark Sansom says via telephone the decision to go ahead was made to give the industry a chance to “come together” and for guests to be assured that hospitality venues have worked hard to create safe and secure environments for them to visit after months of closures. “We were met with the overwhelming response that the industry needed something to talk about.” “People are starting to go out again, and the message to consumers is that there are wonderful bars and they need to receive your support,” says Sansom, content editor for the World’s 50 Best Bars. “This isn’t a celebration, but a sober recognition for the bars that have managed to keep going in this difficult time.” “We’ve not let our love and passion for what we do for a living be darkened by what’s around us,” said Agostino Perrone, director of mixology at Connaught Bar, during a press conference following the ceremony. “It’s not an easy life. This year, all of us as a community went through a strange period we’re still going through.” But, he adds, “You always stand up—chin up.” It’s a valuable industry. In the U.S. alone, alcohol sales at bars and other on-premise licensed establishments produced almost $80.5 billion annually in sales and accounted for more than 1.5 million jobs until the pandemic began, according to the trade association American Beverage Licensees. “You can never take away that moment of sitting with friends and breaking bread or sharing a drink,” said Dante owner Linden Pride during a press conference after the ceremony. Pride opened a second location in Manhattan’s West Village during the pandemic, which he says met with “much enthusiasm” from the local community. Stefano Catino of No. 11-ranked Maybe Sammy in Sydney, echoed the sentiment after winning the Art of Hospitality award. “People need to feel the love and attention,” he said of returning customers. The World’s 50 Best Bars is owned and organized by William Reed Business Media, which also oversees the World’s Best Restaurants. The global restaurant awards have been postponed until 2021 after stirring opprobrium for having released Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants regional awards in March, as Covid-19 was spreading globally. The best bars list is compiled from the votes of more than 540 experts around the world, including drinks writers, bartenders, and cocktail aficionados. The voting was based on visits made from January 2019 through March 2020, when most bars were shut in the pandemic. Normally, the voting period encompasses 18 months. Sansom said only a single bar from the original Top 100, Le Sirenuse in Miami, had announced permanently closure and was removed from the list. The rest are either open or planning to reopen. “This is not about our own ego and our own pleasure. It’s about being able to feel the happiness of the people we serve and live through that happiness,” said Renato “Tato” Giovannoni of Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires, winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award and reigning best bar in South America.

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