The list of India's Top 30 Bars was recently announced and it's time to find out more about the best in the biz. Here's a quick introduction to the top 3 bars around India this year.
India hasn’t always been known as the centre for refined bars and world-class mixology, but in the last decade or so, the drinking culture has seen radical shifts towards a more experimental style. Consumers who once swore by rum and coke or whisky on the rocks are now more willing to push boundaries with their tipples. This newfound sense of alcoholic adventure has been aided by the rise of bespoke cocktail bars across the country which are dedicated to providing unique and thoughtful cocktail experiences to their patrons
With so many new spots popping up every year, it became difficult to segregate the quality bars from ones that were just hopping on the trend, that was until 2019 when the 30BestBars India initiative sprang into action. The homegrown ranking platform uses peer-reviewed surveys of 250+ industry experts from around the country to compile yearly lists of the best bars in the country and award individual accolades for different categories.
Earlier this week, the winners for 2023 were announced in a ceremony in Goa and the best of the best were announced and it came with a mix of old favourites and new faces. Let’s take a closer look at the top 3 bars in India that were deemed this year's leaders.
Image Credits: @sidecarindia/Instagram
Sidecar, New Delhi
No stranger to winning, this is Sidecar’s second year at the top of the 30BestBars list, and one of many accolades it’s won. They also ranked among the Top 50 Best Bars in Asia and in the Top 100 Best Bars In The World. Co-founded and headed by celebrated mixologist Yangdup Lama, Sidecar prides itself on crafting cocktails that have a story. From drawing inspiration from perfume-makers in Kannauj or visiting remote areas to forage for local ingredients to include in their creations, they ensure that each cocktail is unique and showcases a slew of innovative techniques without leaning into the space of being gimmicky. They describe themselves as a ‘Bartender’s bar’ and it’s clear that this approach is translating into results as loyal patrons visit time and again to experience the new and exciting cocktails they dole out.
Image Credits: @cobblerandcrew/Instagram
Cobbler & Crew, Pune
Since they opened their doors in 2022, this bustling bar in Pune has been drawing crowds. Set up by the same team that garnered extensive success with their bistro-bar project Elephant and Co., Cobbler & Crew was designed to be a more refined experience with a quieter space perfect for cocktails and conversation. The bar is headed by Aashie Bhatnagar who in 2023 became the first Indian woman to win World Class India Bartender of the Year and also took home the Best Bartender award at this year's 30BestBars ceremony. They celebrate conscious cocktails with each one tying into each other as well as their overall mission to champion local flavours and a sustainable outlook and was even noted as the most sustainable bar in India.
Image Credits: @lair.newdelhi/Instagram
Lair, New Delhi
Describing itself as a modern-day speakeasy, this Delhi spot offers up immersive mixology and pan-Asian dining in a contemporary setting. Their bar focus is eccentricity with innovation, flavours and presentations that are completely out of the box and invite customers to drink in a new way. They’re no strangers to being featured on this list and have consistently been counted among the top 30 for the last 4 years.
While there are many noteworthy names on this years line-up of the top bars in India, the Top 3 definitely bring their own unique perspective to the country’s drinking scene and all are worth adding to your bucket list.