An open letter to Asia's 50 Best Bars

Updated: 16 Jul 2018 | By:

The results for the Asia’s 50 Best Bars were announced earlier in May. The accolade started by you, the original World’s Best Bars debuted in 2016 with the purpose of showcasing the best and most innovative talent in the drinks industry in this region.

In 2018, you introduced “The Best Bar in [Country]”, which is allocated to the top ranked bar of that country on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ list. Junglebird at No.38 was the farthest top of the list for bars in Malaysia, and was named The Best Bar in Malaysia; Atlas (No. 4) for Singapore, Indulge Experimental Bistro (No.2) for Taiwan etc, you get the gist.

For one I don’t disagree that these bars on the 50 list are great, they deserve to be there selected by their peers who have frequented the bars and even worked with the teams occasionally during guest shifts. These guest shifts create bonding, forge friendships and are a great asset in promoting each other. These activities cost money and not all bars are up to getting on the world stage, most bars focus on making local customers happy.

The 2018 list is a compilation of votes from "almost 200 professionals in the industry across the region based on their experience over a period of 18 months". Each voter gets 7 votes in total, out of which at least 3 votes must go to bars located outside of their country of residence. Based on this understanding, when it comes to “The Best Bar in Malaysia”, my question is, is the list of votes based on Malaysia and Malaysia alone? To this the answer is “no”, because there is only one list for Asia.

Then the next question is: what’s the ratio in the panel? To this, the reply from you is:

“We don’t reveal the precise ratio, but there is a spread throughout the continent which reflects the level of the bar scene in each area, as well as population, economic development and culture.”

So the answer is we don’t know.

To be giving away an award that claims to be the best of a country, is a big responsibility. With results not coming from the country itself and no number to back it up is not only misleading, it is irresponsible of the organiser. If this is the only way you can think of to get sponsors, think again of what the awards actually mean and if you are actually helping the outlets or hurting them.

So Asia’s Best Bars? Great. The best bar of my country? You haven’t done your homework yet. So please, stop calling your awards The Best Bar in [Country].


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