New York City has the best bars. That's what the second annual North America’s 50 Best Bars Awards confirmed last night by including 12 of the Big Apple’s finest watering holes on their list. Among them was the first place awardee, Double Chicken Please on the Lower East Side.
The winner, which began as a pop-up in 2017 and moved to a permanent space in 2020, made an impressive leap from No. 17 on last year's list to the top spot (though it did place No. 6 in last fall’s World’s 50 Best Bars ranking). The bar’s founders, GN Chan and Faye Chen, create drinks inspired by food dishes—cocktail, not food, menu items include the Waldorf Salad and the Cold Pizza (where tequila, parmigiano reggiano, tomato, and burnt toast, among other things, come together in a glass). These concoctions are served in both a back room, where reservations are hard to come by, or a first-come, first-served front room for walk-ins.
New York City's impressive overall showing on the list comes as little surprise—the city is the unofficial capital of the craft cocktail movement, with a litany of bars known for their inventive drinks and slinky settings. In addition to the top spot, the city is represented by Katana Kitten (No.3), Dante (No.6), Overstory (which jumped 27 spots to No.7. this year), Attaboy, (last year’s No. 1, now at No.13), Employees Only (No.14), Mace (No.18), Martiny’s (No. 29), Maison Premiere (No.39), The Dead Rabbit (No.44), Clover Club (No.46) and Milady’s (No.50). Martiny’s and Milady’s both ranked for the first time this year; and a 13th contender, Manhatta, did not place but was named the Campari One to Watch, meaning the team expects it may make the list in the future.
That’s not to say that other parts of the continent don’t have just as much to be proud of. New York’s biggest competition is Mexico City, which accounts for 8 of Mexico’s 14 places on the list—the top four spots on the list are passed between the two cities like a hot potato. Handshake Speakeasy takes No. 2 for the second year in a row, making it the Best Bar in Mexico, while Licorería Limantour comes in at No. 4. Outside of the nation’s capital, the next highest ranking bar in Mexico is Zapote Bar (No. 11) in Playa del Carmen.
Including the New York City entries, the United States counts 28 total bars on the list. New Orleans’ Jewel of the South is, at No. 5, the highest ranking U.S. bar outside of New York. Kumiko in Chicago is the Best Bar in the Midwest USA at No. 8, while Los Angeles takes No. 10 with Thunderbird.