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The local establishment broke into the World’s 50 Best Bars list for the first time this year, making its debut at a high-placed 17th.
Tel Aviv’s Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar was voted among the world’s top 20 bars at the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards late last night. Last year, Imperial Craft was voted the Best Bar in Africa and the Middle East, but it failed to make the list of the top 50 bars, coming in at a close 56th. This year, however, it scaled up the rankings, coming in 17th, earning it the distinction of being the highest new entry on the top-50 list. The list is chosen by over 400 of the drinks industry's international experts and is considered the ultimate guide to the top bars around the globe. Votes were cast for some 542 bars around the world.
The awards, which were organized by Drinks International Magazine, were announced at an event in London last night. Drinks International told Haaretz that Imperial Craft’s reputation has flourished in the past year, following its performance in last year’s rankings. Over the past year, members of the judging committee were drawn to the Middle East’s best bar to try it for themselves, and were impressed by what they found. "In the last year Imperial Craft has ignited the Tel Aviv cocktail scene,” said Hamish Smith, editor of the World’s 50 Best Bars list. “Word of the bar's crafted cocktails and warm ambiance has seen the World's 50 Best Bars Academy flock to the bar. Some even consider it to be among their favorite bars in the world, which is why Imperial Craft has climbed the World's 50 Best Bars list,” he explained.
“Imperial Craft is probably proving the best drinking experience available in Israel today,” Drinks International stated in a review earlier this year. “Word of this colonially-steeped outpost of discerning drinking is spreading. Globally.” While there are many excellent bars around the world, the bars that make the top 50 list are considered the industry’s top innovators as well as the most hospitable to their customers, Smith explained to Haaretz. "There are hundreds of great bars around the world that excel in drinks creation, hospitality and have created fun, convivial atmospheres for their customers,” said Smith. “The World's 50 Best Bars is the cream of the crop. These are the vanguard bars that have brought something new to the industry - pushing it forward in to new areas, changing the industry forever. They are innovators in terms of ingredients and drinks programs but also have an imaginative and meticulous approach to service and hospitality."
Cocktails at the Imperial Craft include the Spicy India, a drink inspired by chai masala whose ingredients include grated bittersweet chocolate, green cardamom, orange liqueur and an egg yolk, among many others; Flip of a Coin, made from French Cognac and sherry, spices and a Guinness reduction; and Colonel Mustard, based on gin, Campari, orange liqueur, fresh grapefruit and a mustard-cinnamon syrup. The top five bars on the list are in London and New York. London’s Artesian was voted the world’s top bar for the fourth year running, while The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York ranked second.