London appears to be streets ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to cocktails, at least if tonight’s Class bar awards are to be believed.
At the end of a high-spirited evening, a whopping 13 out of 16 awards were won by the capital’s bars, as the big names in London dominated the evening.
Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Dandelyan at the Mondrian had the biggest night, claiming victories in three categories. It was named bar of year, won drinks menu of the year and its head mixologist, Alex Lawrence, was named bartender of the year.
Bethnal Green’s Coupette also did well, narrowly beating Rich Hunt’s Mint Gun Club to be named new bar of the year. It also claimed new cocktail of the year for its Champagne piña colada, for which it was up against itself, for its Apples cocktail, and the French 75 at Three Sheets in Dalston.
Elsewhere, the American Bar at the Savoy – supposedly the world’s best bar – managed to save some face when it was named the hotel bar of the year.
Tony Conigliaro, the man behind 69 Colebrook Row, Untitled and Bar Termini, was honoured with the lifetime achievement award.
Other London winners included Matt Whiley’s experimental Scout, deservedly earning the title for best bar food menu, while the charming Martin Siska had both his charm and work ethic recognised and claimed bar manager of the year.
The three winners outside the M25 were Thomas Matthews from the Edgbaston in Birmingham, who was crowned emerging bartender of the year; their Brummie neighbour Smultronstalle who picked up the sustainable practices award, and Edinburgh’s Bon Vivant, named restaurant bar of the year.
The Class bar awards, named for the bartending magazine who present them, have proved popular with those on the drinks scene since launching last year. Though purportedly representing bars across the UK, the shortlist itself was heavily skewed toward the capital with 37 out of the 44 shortlisted nominees coming from London, which may explain the dramatic results. They are backed by Drinks International, who also founded the World’s 50 Best Bars list.