Bartender Mixology

Italy's Remarkable Success at the World's 50 Best Bars 2023: Here are All the Winners

Penelope Vaglini
copertina simone caporale

Five Establishments in the Top 50 and Numerous Italian Bartenders Leading Prestigious International Addresses: Italian Hospitality Masters Once Again Dominate the World's 50 Best Bars Ranking.

On October 17th, Singapore hosted the first ceremony outside of Europe for The World's 50 Best Bars. The ranking, launched by William Reed, is among the most recognized in the  global rankings, and every year it crowns the 50 best cocktail bars in the world distinguished by the quality of drinks, atmosphere, service, and customer focus. The awards event brought together representatives of the international bar industry, who had flown in from all corners of the world to the Lion City, gathering under the stage set up at the Pasir Panjang Power Station.

Barcelonas Sips is crowned No1 in The Worlds 50 Best Bars 2023 sponsored by Perrier at a live awards ceremony in Singapore 14 MB
Barcelonas Sips is crowned No1 in The Worlds 50 Best Bars 2023 sponsored by Perrier at a live awards ceremony in Singapore 5MB

Many were the predictions and bets on who would claim the number one spot, the attendees fanned themselves to combat the heat and enjoyed refreshing cocktails served at the sponsor's bar stations, marked by colorful neon lights, much like one of the city's food courts. After a brief introductory video that summarized the bars in the 51-100 ranking (where Milan's Camparino in Galleria appeared at number 85), it was time for the official countdown. With several new entries and cities making their first appearance in the ranking, Italy had a positive outcome at the end of the evening.

L Antiquario Alexander Frezza

Despite a few drops in position, the four establishments that held positions in the ranking in 2022 (Drink Kong in Rome, 1930 Milano, L'antiquario in Naples, and Locale Firenze) maintained their positions this year, joined by a fifth establishment. This fifth addition is Freni e Frizioni, a street bar in Rome's Trastevere district, led by Riccardo Rossi, a mixologist and partner, which secured the 33rd position. This brings the number of Rome-based establishments in the 50 Best ranking to two.

Freni e Frizioni team
Freni e Frizioni

But the celebrations were doubled because, for the fourth consecutive year, the number one cocktail bar is led by an Italian. Topping the World's 50 Best Bars 2023 is Sips, a venue in Barcelona founded by the Spaniard Marc Alvarez and Simone Caporale, the internationally recognized Italian bartender thanks to his exemplary work at the golden-era Artesian in London, alongside his friend and colleague Alex Kratena.

Sips Marc Simone

Simone Caporale, the italian leading the world's best cocktail bar

A record-breaking bartender, Caporale claimed the top spot at the World's 50 Best Bars for four consecutive years with Artesian and, a few days ago, for the fifth time, thanks to Sips, his entrepreneurial project launched just two and a half years ago.

simone caporale2

Born in Como, the lakeside city was where he took his first steps as a bartender before moving to London and teaming up with Kratena to lead a true revolution in international mixology: a focus on hospitality, elaborate cocktail menus, and drinks served in unusual containers. After leaving The Langham bar in London in 2015, he became a full-fledged entrepreneur, launching the Muyu line of liquors with Monica Berg and his former Artesian companion, following recipes created by the three partners using natural ingredients. He also came up with the idea for the Flavour Blaster, a machine that creates bubbles capable of flavoring and decorating drinks simultaneously. Caporale is also responsible for the Amaro Santoni recipe dedicated to Tuscany and the social-value-driven Canaïma Gin project with Diplomático.

simone caporale
sips 1

His encounter with Marc Alvarez, a mixologist who worked alongside the Adrià brothers for many years, ignited the spark for Sips, a bar with only 35 seats in Barcelona's Eixample district. Here, the counter is a central island that bartenders can use around its entire perimeter to prepare blends where technique and creativity merge, served in dramatic glasses and containers. In the same space, Esencia, a bar within the bar, will open in a few weeks, aiming to offer guests a completely unique drink experience, free from excesses and focused solely on taste, very different from Sips.

sips 3
krypta sips barcellona

Italian bartenders in the World's 50 Best ranking

Among other hospitality professionals who left Italy and now manage or own high-end bars is Giacomo Giannotti, the owner of Paradiso.

Paradiso Giacomo Giannotti
Giacomo Giannotti

The Barcelona speakeasy, hidden behind a pastrami bar, ranks fourth in the World's 50 Best Bars 2023, after reaching the top spot in 2022. In fifth place, we find Ago Perrone, Giorgio Bargiani, Maura Milia, and the all-Italian team at London's Connaught Bar, ranking 15th. Stefano Catino and Vincenzo Lombardo's Maybe Sammy in Sydney is at number 15, with Sarah Proietti always present behind the bar. Federico Balzarini is the beverage manager at Argo at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, ranking 34th.

Connaught Bar team
The Connaught 

Award Winning Italian Bar by 50 Best Bars

Italian hospitality establishments making it into the list of the world's best cocktail bars are located in four different cities. In Rome, Drink Kong, led by the charismatic Patrick Pistolesi, an influential Italian-Irish bartender on the international scene, occupies the 21st position. The bar features a concept that plays with Japanese atmospheres and offers a minimal drink list called "Perimetro e Forma."

Drink Kong Patrick Pistolesi
Drink Kong

Following at number 33 is Freni e Frizioni, a high-volume bar founded by Cristian Bugiada, Luca Conzato, and Riccardo Rossi, which presents a menu focusing on duality by offering two different versions of the same drink. The 1930 in Milan, owned by Farmily Group and managed by Benjamin Cavagna, secures the 42nd position, thanks to a series of cocktails dedicated to Europe and its culinary traditions. Closing the list is L'Antiquario in Naples at number 44, with Alex Frezza delivering an international mixology concept combined with the warm welcome of Naples. Locale Firenze, at 46th place. 

Locale Firenze interior
Locale Firenze

It stands within an old palace dating back to 1200, where the monumental bottle selection and minimal drinks served by the team led by bar manager Fabio Fanni are noteworthy. Not a bad haul for Italy, which is among the most awarded this year, alongside the United Kingdom, the United States, and Mexico.

Wine Reporter

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