The inaugural list of North America’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, was announced at a live awards ceremony on June 7, 2022 at Capitale in New York. The new annual ranking features bars from across the North American continent, including the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
New York’s Attaboy is crowned No.1 as The Best Bar in North America, with Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy at No.2 now boasting the title of The Best Bar in Mexico, followed by Licorería Limantour, also in the Mexican capital, close behind at No.3.
Toronto’s Civil Liberties, at No.10, wins the title of The Best Bar in Canada, while Puerto Rico’s La Factoría, at No.12, earns The Best Bar in the Caribbean accolade. Overall, the USA leads the list with 29 bars, with Mexico fielding 11, Canada boasting eight and the Caribbean celebrating two top bars.
North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022 Highlights
- Attaboy, New York, is crowned No.1 at the first-ever North America’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier
- Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy claims No.2 and The Best Bar in Mexico title, with Licorería Limantour, also in the Mexican capital, coming in at No.3
- Civil Liberties, Toronto, at No.10, is named The Best Bar in Canada
- La Factoría in Puerto Rico, No.12, is hailed as The Best Bar in the Caribbean
- The list features 29 distinguished bars from the USA, 11 based in Mexico, 8 representing Canada, and 2 elevating the Caribbean drinks scene
- Drinks pioneer Christina Veira from Torontois celebrated as the Roku Industry Icon
- The Bamboo Room, Chicago, is highlighted as Campari One To Watch
- Zapote Bar, Playa del Carmen, is awarded London Essence Best New Opening
- Bar Kismet from Halifax, earns Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award
- Mace, New York, takes the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu title
Attaboy, New York
Founded in 2012 by cocktail legends Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy, Attaboy, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, carries the torch of Milk & Honey at the iconic bar’s original location on New York’s Lower East Side, where the pair apprenticed under the late Sasha Petraske. The duo reconceived this independent speakeasy in a more down-to-earth fashion, eliminating its reservations-only policy yet retaining its discreet signage, low lighting and exposed brick decor, as well as the absence of any cocktail menu. This necessitates guests having in-depth conversations with the bartenders who create incomparable and bespoke drinks experiences.
Over the years, Attaboy has become an international cocktail beacon and haven of beloved modern classics, like Ross’ Penicillin and McIlroy’s Greenpoint. The bar, which Ross and McIlroy continue to own, along with a Nashville, Tenn. outpost, is currently led by star drink-slinger Haley Traub, the national winner of the 2018 Speed Rack bartending competition. Traub, who brings Midwestern charm and a vivacious personality, oversees day-to-day operations and energizes the highly hospitable bar team. Named on The World’s 50 Best Bars list every year since opening, Attaboy earned the Rémy Martin Legend of the List 2021, a status that winning North America’s Best Bar resolutely reaffirms.
USA: New York Leads, With Strong Contenders Coast to Coast and Beyond
One of the world’s hotbeds of mixology and a cornerstone of the cocktail renaissance, New York doubles down its preeminence, leading the list with 11 bars.
These esteemed drinks destinations include Attaboy (No.1), Katana Kitten(No.4), Dante (No.8), Double Chicken Please (No.17), Amor y Amargo (No.23), Dear Irving (No.26) and Overstory(No.27), which wins the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award. Employees Only (No.30), The Dead Rabbit (No.31), Mace(No.35), which earns Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu, and Clover Club (No.43) round out the list.
Chicago is notably represented by Kumiko securing No.5 and The Best Bar in the Midwest award, and Miami secures a trifecta with Café La Trova nabbing No.6, Sweet Liberty No.14 and Broken Shaker No.32. Other prominent cities include Los Angeles, with its spirited triumvirate of Thunderbolt (No.9), Death & Co (No.34) and Genever (No.50).
Other cities that field top bars include Washington, D.C. with Service Bar (No.18), San Diego with Raised by Wolves(No.19), New Orleans withJewel of the South (No.24), Las Vegas with Herbs & Rye (No.28), Oakland with Friends and Family (No. 33), Denver with its own iteration of Death & Co (No.36), San Francisco with ABV (No.39), Phoenix withBitter & Twisted (No.44), Houston with Julep (No.46) and Portland with Teardrop Lounge (No.48). Far from the mainland but close to the hearts of cocktail enthusiasts, Honolulu’s Bar Leather Apron comes in at No.42.
Mexico: Mexico City Dominates the Region, with 6 of the Country’s 11 Bars on the List
Mexico City contributes more than half of the region’s bars to the list. Handshake Speakeasy (No.2) is namedThe Best Bar in Mexico, and Licorería Limantour (No.3),catapulting the duo to the stratosphere of the list, withBaltra Bar at No.7, Kaito del Valle placing at No.13, Café de Nadie taking No.15 and Hanky Panky ensconced at No.16.
Playa del Carmen’s Zapote Bar ranks at No.11 and win the London Essence Best New Opening award. Cocktail excellence is also cemented in Oaxaca with two bars, Sabina Sabe (No.20) and Selva (No.22), with Guadalajara’s El Gallo Altanero claiming No.21 and Tulum’s Arca securing No.37.
Canada: The Great White North Celebrates 8 Bars on the List, with Toronto Home to Half
Toronto fields half of the list’s bars in Canada, including Civil Liberties at No.10, which earns The Best Bar in Canada. Mother claims No.38, Bar Raval takes No.41 and Bar Mordecai comes in at No.47. Montreal hits a double with El Pequeño Bar earning No.29 and Cloakroom Bar claiming No.45, while Vancouver, B.C.’s The Keefer Bar is ranked No.25, and Halifax’s Bar Kismet securing No.49, picking up the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award in the process.
The Caribbean: Beckons with 2 Top Bars
Puerto Rico’s La Factoría (No.12) is crowned The Best Bar in the Caribbean, with Ernest Hemingway’s Havana haunt, El Floridita, nabbing No.40.
To kick off the ceremony, The Bamboo Room in Chicago was presented with the Campari One To Watch award, which is 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.
Mace, New York, earns the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu. Any bar on the North American continent was eligible to enter this award, which is graded by the global panel of 28 Academy Chairs. The Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu was introduced in 2021 and rewards innovation, design, drinks craft and idea communication.
Christina Veira of Toronto’s Bar Mordecai (No.47) is celebrated as the Roku Industry Icon. For this award, all 220 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. In addition to being General Manager of this community-focused bar, Veira is Toronto Cocktail Week’s Director of Programming and has emerged as a powerful voice for social justice in the hospitality sector.
Playa del Carmen’s Zapote Bar in Mexico clinches the London Essence Best New Opening title at No.11, as the bar which enters the list in the highest position of any that have opened during the voting period. Created and operated by Rosewood Mayakoba, Zapote Bar is a love letter to the Yucatán, its products, culture and people.
Family-owned and operated Bar Kismet in Halifax secures the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award, which is awarded to a bar that demonstrates the strongest commitment to sustainability. With a focus on sustainable seafood, Bar Kismet strives to find creative ways of using up ingredients in new ways to minimize waste from both the restaurant and the bar. The Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award is independently adjudicated by 50 Best’s audit partner, the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Other special award winners announced in the run-up to the event on June 7 included Overstory, New York, which was honored with the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award and Masahiro Urushido of NYC’s Katana Kitten, who earned the coveted title of Altos Bartenders’ Bartender.
North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022 Awards
How the Voting Works for North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022
|2||Handshake Speakeasy||Mexico City|
|3||Licorería Limantour||Mexico City|
|4||Katana Kitten||New York|
|6||Café La Trova||Miami|
|7||Baltra Bar||Mexico City|
|11||Zapote Bar||Playa del Carmen|
|12||La Factoriìa||San Juan|
|13||Kaito del Valle||Mexico City|
|15||Café de Nadie||Mexico City|
|16||Hanky Panky||Mexico City|
|17||Double Chicken Please||New York|
|18||Service Bar||Washington, D.C.|
|19||Raised by Wolves||San Diego|
|21||El Gallo Altanero||Guadalajara|
|23||Amor y Amargo||New York|
|24||Jewel of the South||New Orleans|
|25||The Keefer Bar||Vancouver|
|26||Dear Irving||New York|
|28||Herbs & Rye||Las Vegas|
|29||El Pequeño Bar||Montreal|
|30||Employees Only||New York|
|31||The Dead Rabbit||New York|
|33||Friends and Family||Oakland|
|34||Death & Co (Los Angeles)||Los Angeles|
|36||Death & Co (Denver)||Denver|
|42||Bar Leather Apron||Honolulu|
|43||Clover Club||New York|
|44||Bitter & Twisted||Phoenix|
The inaugural ranking for North America’s 50 Best Bars 2022 reflects the best bar experiences based on the votes of more than 220 gender-balanced voters, made up of anonymous North American bar industry experts (including bartenders, bar owners, drinks media and well-traveled cocktail connoisseurs) from the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Members of the 50 Best organization do not vote and do not control the composition of the list; that is the collective role of the voting Academy. This means that bars cannot apply to be on the list and no sponsors have any influence on the list.
The Academy is divided into 8 regions: USA Northeast; USA Midwest; USA West; USA South; Canada East; Canada West; Mexico; and the Caribbean. Each region has its own panel of members including a chairperson, called the Academy Chair, except for Mexico and the Caribbean who share an Academy Chair. The Chairs each then select a voting panel, ensuring a balanced selection. In 2022, each North America Academy member will vote for 7 bars, with a maximum of 5 in the home country where they are based. Voters also have the option to vote for a further 2 (or more) bars located outside of their home country (up to a maximum of 7) if they have been able to travel internationally during the voting period.
Voting is carried out individually and strictly confidentially on a secure site and remains confidential before the list announcement. Academy Chairs are not privy to, and have no knowledge of, the votes cast by the voters in their respective regions. They are neither spokespeople for the 50 Best brand.
The list is the result of a poll of more than 220 experts (all within the North American continent), who each cast votes for the bars where they have had their ‘best experience’ during the last 18 months before the voting deadline. The list is a simple computation of votes by North American voters for bars in North America. All bars featured were open for business as of June 7, 2022, when the list was revealed.
Further information on the Academy Chairs and how the voting works is available on the FAQs page here.