Manchester makes the top 10, whilst Liverpool and Leeds also feature

Another day, another top 50 rankings list with the North placing highly. Dry January is officially over and what could be a more fitting way to put it to rest than the announcement of this year’s Top 50 Cocktail bars? Fresh on the tail of the Top 50 Gastropubs and the same week as our very own Hot 50.

This year’s list features 10 bars from the North (up from nine in 2021), with Manchester’s Speak in Code the highest ranked. London dominated half of the list with a further three in the west, two in the Midlands, three in the south and five in Scotland.

We are thrilled to have so many new entries to the list this year, during what has been a particularly hard time for the hospitality industry

The Top 50 Cocktail Bars, now in its fourth year, is voted for by hundreds of experts, bar owners, bartenders and drinks writers from across the country. The list, along with other Top 50 lists for gastropubs and boutique hotels are owned and produced by The Morning Advertiser, an outlet of the business publisher William Reed.

A Track 11 Cocktail Aka A White Negroni At Speak In Code In Manchester
A Track 11 cocktail, previously likened to a white negroni, at Speak in Code in Manchester Image: Speak in Code

Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds in the mix

Leading the charge in what was a London-heavy list, was Manchester’s Speak in Code (10) with Confidentials fave Schofield’s Bar (16) also placing within the top 20. Four Leeds cocktail bars, Jake’s Bar and Still Room (24), Roland’s Bar (32), Below Stairs (39) and Hedonist (42) also placed whilst Liverpool’s Berry & Rye (28) and Present Company (43) flew the flag for Liverpool.

Sheffield’s Public (41) and Newcastle’s Mother Mercy (49) completed a strong northern showing.

Cardiff’s Lab 22 bar topped the list, rising an impressive 32 places up from the previous year, whilst the rest of the top five was made up London bars Swift (2), The Connaught (3), Tayēr + Elementary (4) and Satan’s Whiskers (5). How The Connaught Bar, the previously crowned best cocktail bar in the world 2021, came in third is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Also celebrated at this year’s awards was Manchester’s Three Little Words. The bar took home an award for Bar Team of the Year at the ceremony which took place at One Night Records in London.

An Ulan Bazaar Cocktail At The Cocktail Bar Below Stairs In Leeds
The Ulan Bazaar cocktail at Below Stairs in Leeds Image: Below Stairs

New year, new list

The 2022 Top 50 best cocktail bars list has seen nationwide changes since its previous iteration.

Not a single Manchester bar featured on last year’s list with Vice & Virtue (9), Jake’s Bar (15) and Below The Stairs (39) in Leeds, Evil Eye (20) in York, Jalou (31) in Newcastle, The Nuthatch (36) in Middlesbrough, Berry & Rye (37) and Red Door (48) in Liverpool and Sheffield’s Public (42) the bars flying the flag for the North in 2021.

Top 50 Cocktail Bars publisher Chris Lowe said: “The Top 50 Cocktail Bars list shines a light on the very best in the UK. We are thrilled to have so many new entries to the list this year, during what has been a particularly hard time for the hospitality industry.”  

Simon Thompson, Owner of Present Company in Liverpool said:

“I’m thrilled about it. We opened only a few months before the pandemic hit so it’s been an incredibly tough couple of years. To be named among so many great venues that I love and admire is a great acknowledgement that we’ve been doing something right during the industry’s hardest times.” “Above all else, I’m chuffed for the team. There’s such a dedicated bunch working here that I’m over the moon that they’re being acknowledged for the work they do serving guests day in, day out.”

A big congratulations to everyone that placed in this year’s list and those who scooped an award. Cheers to the North.

The Top 50 Cocktail Bars:

1. Lab 22, Cardiff

2. Swift Soho, London

3. The Connaught Bar, London

4. Tayēr + Elementary, London

5. Satan’s Whiskers, London

6. Bramble Bar & Lounge, Edinburgh

7. Three Sheets, London

8. Oriole, London

9. Panda and Sons, Edinburgh

10. Speak in Code, Manchester

11. 🔶🟥🔵 , London

12. Disrepute, London

13. Nightjar, London

14. Homeboy Bar, London

15. American Bar, London

16. SCHOFIELD’S BAR, Manchester

17. Opium Cocktails & Dim Sum Parlour, London

18. Coupette, London

19. Artesian, London

20. Scarfes Bar, London

21. Trailer Happiness, London

22. Lucky Liquor co., Edinburgh

23. Happiness Forgets, London

24. Jake’s Bar & Still Room, Leeds (15, 2021)

25. Little Mercies, London

26. The Absent Ear, Glasgow

27. The Milk Thistle, Bristol

28. Berry & Rye, Liverpool (37, 2021)

29. Laki Kane, London

30. Filthy XIII, Bristol

31. Lyaness, London

32. Roland’s Leeds, Leeds

33. Gungho!, Brighton

34. Hacha, London

35. The Hideout, Bath

36. Pennyroyal, Cardiff

37. Couch, Birmingham

38. Bar Termini, London

39. Below Stairs, Leeds

40. Hay Palu, Edinburgh

41. Public, Sheffield (42, 2021)

42. Hedonist, Leeds

43. Present Company, Liverpool

44. The Pineapple Club, Birmingham

45. Publiq., London

46. Ojo Rojo, Bournemouth

47. L' Atelier du Vin, Brighton

48. Callooh Callay, London

49. Mother Mercy, Newcastle upon Tyne

50. The Cocktail Trading Co, London