Second Annual North America's 50 Best Bars Reveals its List

The list of North America’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, was announced at a live awards ceremony on May 4, 2023 at Hacienda Los Picachos in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This represents the first time the awards ceremony was staged in Mexico and salutes its presence on the global cocktail scene. The annual ranking features bars from across the North American continent, including the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

New York City’s Double Chicken Please is crowned No.1 as The Best Bar in North America and The Best Bar in Northeast USA, sponsored by Perrier, with Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy ranking No.2 and claiming the title of The Best Bar in Mexico, followed by New York City’s Katana Kitten at No.3. 

Toronto’s Civil Liberties (No.12) wins the title of The Best Bar in Canada for the second year in a row, while Puerto Rico’s La Factoría, at No.24, retains its title of The Best Bar in the Caribbean. Overall, the USA leads the list with 28 bars, with Mexico fielding 14, Canada boasting seven and the Caribbean celebrating one top bar.  The full list of North America’s 50 Best Bars 2023 can be found here.

The brainchild of GN Chan and Faye Chen, Double Chicken Please is a groundbreaking New York City bar with an ingenious cocktail program based on the concept of “hacking design.” Here, cocktails are deconstructed then reassembled in new, playful and creative ways. At Double Chicken Please, drinks are inspired by food and food is inspired by drinks, creating surprising, delightful and unexpected sensory experiences. Their mind-boggling cocktails, like the Key Lime Pie and Cold Pizza, leave their guests delighted and utterly perplexed as to how these unique flavors are so accurately transmogrified into liquid works of art. Last year, the bar burst on the global stage at The World’s 50 Best Bars, coming in at No.6 and earning the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award, as well as placing at No.17 on the inaugural list of North America’s 50 Best Bars. 

Mark Sansom, Content Director for 50 Best, says: “We commend Double Chicken Please and its visionary founders, GN Chan and Faye Chen, for reaching the peak of cocktail excellence on the North American continent. Double Chicken Please is truly pushing the boundaries of flavor in cocktails and doing so with staggering creativity and precision, not to mention a wonderful sense of humor, humility and always flawless hospitality. This remarkable achievement did not come overnight. The duo persevered through the very challenging days of the pandemic, never once compromising their original vision for cocktails inspired by food dishes, even though their dream bar’s very viability was at risk. They not only survived but thrived, sending joyful shock waves through the New York City drinks community that have reverberated across North America and globally. We congratulate GN, Faye and the team at Double Chicken Please for this deserved accolade, as well as all the other fantastic bars on this year’s list.” 

Elisa Gregori, Perrier Global Business Unit Director, says: “Since its presence on the tables of the best bars and hotels in the 1800’s, Perrier has always had deep historic roots with the North American continent. Today, Perrier is proud to be the leading partner of North America’s 50 Best Bars and excited to be able to return for a second edition in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It’s our honor to recognize the hard work, creativity and innovation of the talented bartenders, mixologists and professionals who continue to elevate the international bar scene daily. Having our roots in the French café society, we’re proud to commemorate and shine a spotlight on the exceptional talents behind the awarded North America’s 50 Best Bars. The entire Perrier team is grateful to the bar community for the hard work and dedication that goes into creating unforgettable experiences for all who enter your doors. We raise our glass to you, congratulations!” 

USA: The Big Apple Accounts for a Lion’s Share of Top U.S. Bars A stalwart of the craft cocktail movement, New York City continues to field a lion’s share, 12 of the 28 U.S. drinks listees, including the continent’s highest achievers. They include Double Chicken Please (No.1), Katana Kitten (No.3), Dante (No.6) and Overstory, winner of the Nikka Highest Climber that jumped 27 spots to No.7. These notable watering holes are joined by last year’s No.1 winner, Attaboy, now at No.13, Employees Only (No.14), Mace (No.18), new to the list Martiny’s (No.29) and Maison Premiere (No.39), The Dead Rabbit (No.44), Clover Club (No.46) and new listee Milady’s (No.50). Other mixological hotbeds across the U.S. include New Orleans’ Jewel of the South, which bounced up 24 spots from last year to rank No.5 and earn The Best Bar in South USA, with Cure ranking No.36. In the Windy City, Chicago’s Kumiko (No.8) was named The Best Bar in Midwest USA, with new entry Milk Room ensconced at No.38. 

Los Angeles’ Thunderbolt lands at No.10 and again wins the title of The Best Bar in West USA. Also representing the West are Las Vegas’ Herbs & Rye at No.27, San Francisco’s new listee Pacific Cocktail Haven at No.28, Los Angeles’ Death & Co at No.30, Phoenix’s new-to-the-list Platform 18 at No.48 and San Diego’s new entry, Youngblood, at No.49.

In Washington, D.C., Service Bar (No.33) is joined by Allegory (No.45), a new entry that garnered the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu title. Other U.S. bars on the list include Miami’s Sweet Liberty (No.34), Honolulu’s Bar Leather Apron (No.41), as well as Denver’s Yacht Club (No.42), a new listee that also earned the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award. 

Mexico: Mexico City Continues Its Leadership, Fielding 8 Bars of Mexico’s 14 Now firmly established as a global cocktail destination, Mexico City accounted for more than half of the best bars in Mexico. Handshake Speakeasy (No.2) retains its position and is again named The Best Bar in Mexico, with Licorería Limantour at No.4. They are joined by Baltra Bar (No.16), list newcomer Rayo (No.17), Hanky Panky (No.20), Café de Nadie (No.25), Kaito del Valle (No.26) and new listee Brujas (No.47). That being said, cocktail excellence is rippling through the bar scene across the formidable Latin American nation. Playa del Carmen’s Zapote Bar places No.11, Guadalajara’s El Gallo Altanero comes in at No.21, Oaxaca’s Sabina Sabe secures No.22, Tulum’s Arca finishes at No.23, Oaxaca’s Selva ranks No.31 and Tijuana’s new listee, Aruba Day Drink, arrives at No.40.

Canada: The Most Northerly Nation on the Continent Boasts 7 Bars, Including 3 Newcomers Toronto’s Civil Liberties (No.12) earns The Best Bar in Canada for the second year in a row. It is followed by list newcomers Bar Pompette (No.15), also in Toronto, Botanist Bar (No.19) in Vancouver, B.C. and Atwater Cocktail Club (No.32) in Montreal. These bars surged ahead of list veterans Cloakroom (No.35) in Montreal, as well as Toronto’s Mother (No.37) and Bar Mordecai (No.43).  The Caribbean: All Eyes on Puerto Rico Puerto Rico’s La Factoría (No.24) is once again crowned The Best Bar in the Caribbean as the sprawling complex of six drinking dens celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Special Awards:  Among the glamorous evening’s highlights, New York City’s Manhatta was presented the Campari One To Watch, an accolade given to a bar outside the main list that the 50 Best team believes has the ability to break into the ranking in future editions.  Allegory (No.45) in Washington, D.C., earns the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award. The pioneering menu allegorically tells the story of Civil Rights Activist Ruby Bridges as seen through the lens of Alice in Wonderland. Any bar on the North American continent was eligible to enter this award, which is graded by a panel of Academy Chairs. The Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award was introduced in 2021 and rewards innovation, design, drinks craft and idea communication. 

Julio Cabrera of Miami’s Café La Trova (No.9) receives the laurels as Roku Industry Icon. For this award, all 260 members of the voting Academy are asked to name the person who has done more for the progress of the bar industry than any other individual. The Cuban-born bartending legend is credited with transplanting the island nation’s proud cantinero-style to the U.S., where it has taken root and flourishes at Café La Trova in a high energy, modern guise.

Mexico City’s Rayo earns the London Essence Best New Opening title at No.17, as the bar that enters the list in the highest position of any that have opened during the voting period. Rayo celebrates Mexican and global spirits in cocktails that tell stories. Its name is inspired by the legend of the goddess Mayahuel, who took the form of an agave plant. When struck by a lightning bolt (rayo), it released a liquid that, when fermented, became pulque. 

Denver’s Yacht Club, owned by Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges, nabs the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award, which is bestowed on a bar that demonstrates the strongest commitment to sustainability. The Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award is independently adjudicated by 50 Best’s audit partner, the Sustainable Restaurant Association. 

Additional special award winners announced in the run-up to the May 4 event included Vancouver’s Botanist Bar, which was feted with the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award and Christine Wiseman of Bar Lab Hospitality in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, was celebrated as the winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award.  


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