Shanghai cocktail bar Speak Low was recognized again as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars at a ceremony in London yesterday.
The speakeasy on Fuxing Zhong Road, which has been on the annual list since 2016, came in at number 20 this year and was the only mainland China bar to be included.
Owned by Japanese bartender Shingo Gokan, the bar is spread out over four floors, with each floor offering something different. You enter through a bookcase in a bar tools shop on the first floor, and the second floor is home to a casual, upbeat bar. The third floor is a 20-seater venue hidden behind a nondescript door, which you open by locating Shanghai on a map, and the fourth floor is a members-only section for rare whiskies.
Gokan’s other Shanghai venue, Sober Company, also made it to the top of the 51-100 list of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2018, which was released on September 19.
Elsewhere in Greater China, The Old Man in Hong Kong came in at number 10 this year, taking both the Highest New Entry award and the honor of the top bar in China, while Taipei’s Indulge Experimental Bistro placed number 38.
Overall, Asian bars did better in 2017, with venues like Quinary and Lobster Bar, both in Hong Kong, dropping out of this year’s top 50 list. Both Speak Low and Indulge Experimental Bistro dropped 10 places over 2017.
The number one bar on this year’s list is Dandelyan in London, which announced this week that it will close.