Lonely Planet Writer

Discover the best new cocktail bars around the world

The Spirited Awards are designed to honour the world’s best bars, bartenders and experts in all things cocktail-related. In total there are 25 categories to explore online but international travellers will have something to whet their appetite with this list of the best new cocktail bars around the world (excluding the USA which has its own category). We take a peek so you can put them on the list for the next time you visit. Here they are in no particular order:

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Flying Dutchmen Cocktails

Amsterdam peeks through the Flying Dutchmen’s windows. Photo by: Flying Dutchmen

There was huge excitement in mixologist circles when this bar was announced. The product of two internationally renowned bartenders – who were behind Amsterdam Cocktail Week – and one of them, Tess Posthumus, has also been nominated for Best International Bartender this year.

Hong Kong – The Old Man

This bar is themed after novelist Ernest Hemingway, himself somewhat of a cocktail aficionado and inspiration. They add some unique Asian ingredients, however, including nori dust and coconut yoghurt.

Barcelona, Spain – Two Schmucks

Leave your formality at the door for Two Schmucks. Photo by: Two Schmucks

Despite being a cocktail bar loved by the critics, the vibe here is very informal. The bar itself is a DIY project gone large; it was built by two Swedish friends with recycled materials. The drinks menu changes every month so expect a surprise if you go.

Johannesburg, South Africa – Mootee Bar

A post shared by MOO-TEE (@mooteebar) on

Visitors to this unique spot may find it difficult to pick their poison. Here the ingredients of each drink aren’t on the menu at all, instead, they’re accompanied by a colourful illustration. Each drink is also inspired by a classic story from African folklore.

London, UK – Scout

London’s Scout aims to be a sustainable watering hole. Photo by: Scout

Here the menu changes with seasonal ingredients – some of them foraged – and the entire bar has a zero waste policy. All the ingredients come from the UK and there are even house ferments to try out.

London, UK – The Mint Gun Club

The eclectic globe-trotting decor of the Mint Gun Club.

One for travellers, whether at home or abroad, this bar wants to convey the “excitement of an adventurous, expatriate lifestyle.” It’s inspired by owner Rich Hunt’s own globe-trotting lifestyle, and the drinks name check everywhere from Cuba, Goa and Milan.

London, UK – Waeska Bar at the Mandrake

The Mandrake is filled with colourful decor.

The decor here is colourful with more than a touch of the surreal, with details hidden in every corner. The drinks menu takes heavy inspiration from herbal and botanical ingredients, with sage, basil and hemp oil all making an appearance.

Panama City – The Strangers Club

The Strangers Club in Panama City. Photo by: The Strangers Club

The joint venture of local entrepreneurs and six New York bartenders, this is a bar designed to capture the international flavour of the city. Even the staff are international, with many dividing their time between Manhattan, Panama and Singapore.

Paris, France – Les Grands Verres

Tucked inside the Palais de Tokyo museum, this bar has been making waves not only for its unusual location but its sustainable ethos, using local ingredients and implementing a low waste policy.

Vancouver, Canada – Botanist

The Botanist’s Deep Cove Cocktail. Photo by: the Botanist

With the accompanying fine-dining restaurant designed like a lush oasis in the heart of the city, the cocktail bar itself is fashioned in industrial style. The result is incredible Instagram-worthy cocktails that are expensive but a unique experience.

London, UK – Coupette

Combining French inspiration with a local feel, this bar likes to take specialist flavours and create simple concoctions to show them off. Even the menu features illustrations of French cultural icons.