The Nuthatch on Bedford Street in Middlesbrough town centre may not rank high on the list but comes in for the first time at number 36.
Not only did a bar from ‘Boro’ make it onto the list, but this year’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars are split evenly between London (25) and those outside of London (25), with the north of the UK and England coming off favourably.
More than 10% (7) of the list, in fact, is made up of cocktail bars based in Edinburgh, such as last year’s top bar Bramble, which was ranked number four this year. This means seven of the venues on the Top 50 Cocktail Bars 2019 list hail from Edinburgh, with one more Scottish bar in Aberdeen.
The list was presented by Evening Standard Magazine drinks expert Douglas Blyde, who said: “I really like the fact that there is no limitation as to where the bars are, you’ve gone as far as Aberdeen, it’s so far reaching, there are so many gems that I didn’t even know about but at the same time you haven’t neglected London or sought to escape the M25 and it’s centre.
“It’s a really encompassing and liberating list and it actually makes me want to discover more of the UK. I have to be honest and say that recently I’ve been frightened of leaving London because I’d encounter lots of hard Brexit conjecture, but now I know that in an industry I’m very close to there are these safe havens all over.”
Top 50 Cocktail Bars list
The full list can be found at www.top50cocktailbars.com.
Of the list, which is now in its second year, Top 50 Cocktail Bars editor Nicholas Robinson said: “Last year our list broke the rules, proving there is just as much talent and creativity behind a bar in Newcastle as there is in London.
“Now that talent is moving beyond the big cities and into towns, which is outstanding to see and be a part of.
“People across this country want the sorts of drinking experiences in their home towns and villages that they may have had when visiting the likes of London or any other major city in the UK or the world. It is such a thrill to see bars like the Nuthatch are paving the way for this to happen.”
Diversity of bars
As well as celebrating the diversity of bars across the UK, the top spot on this year’s list was given to highly-deserving Satan’s Whiskers in London.
Sam Mcllwham of Satan's Whiskers said: “It was a really huge surprise. I wasn’t really expecting it. It feels absolutely amazing to get the recognition.
“The next thing for us is to maintain the standards, keep pushing with our core values of using super fresh ingredients combined with classic recipes to make unbelievable drinks in a really wonderful and relaxed environment.
“Events like this are very important especially in a city like London where it can be a bit isolating and everybody can sometimes keep to their own circles and not mix with each other.”
Top 50 Cocktail Bars publisher Chris Lowe said: “We have created Top 50 Cocktail Bars to help people find the best bars – which are often hidden away – across the UK.
“London had more bars listed in 2018 than any other city, but having almost all of the UK’s major cities represented really showcased the explosion of great venues on the cocktail scene.”
As well as the list of the UK’s top cocktail bars, the winners of three specialist awards were announced during the list reveal on Monday 8 July at the Omera near London Bridge station.
The awards and winners were:
- One to Watch: Lost & Found Leeds Club, Leeds
- Newcomer: L’Atelier du Vin, Brighton
- Bar Team: Opium, London
Bars were able to enter the awards themselves, unlike the list which is voted for by hundreds of industry experts, with each of the winners claiming a trophy to go with their prestigious trophies.
Meanwhile, the top 10 Top 50 Cocktail Bars 2019 list is:
- Satan’s Whiskers, London
- Bar Swift, London
- Three Sheets, London
- Bramble, Edinburgh
- American bar at the Savoy, London
- Devil's Advocate, Edinburgh
- Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
- Punch Room (The London Edition), London
- Vice and Virtue, Leeds
- Scarfes Bar, London
Please visit www.top50cocktailbars.com for the full list.