Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Why North America’s 50 Best Bars loves San Miguel de Allende

The world of gastronomy has long been celebrated, but what about the realm of cocktails and bars? Get to know North America’s 50 Best Bars, a prestigious ranking that shines a spotlight on the continent’s most exceptional drinking establishments.

We enjoyed chatting with Emma Sleight, Head of Content for North America’s 50 Best Bars, to uncover the story behind these illustrious awards and the vibrant bar scene they celebrate. This year’s award ceremony will be held in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. 

For the second consecutive year, the 50 Best Bars in North America contest will be held in San Miguel de Allende. (North America’s 50 Best Bars)

How did the Best Bars Awards start? What prompted the focus on drinks and bars?

The 50 Best brand is a leading authority in global gastronomy and the international drink scene. It aims to showcase worldwide trends and highlight amazing places to eat and drink, reaching all corners of the Earth. North America’s 50 Best Bars came later, launched in 2022, as a relatively new ranking. It was created to celebrate the best of the region’s drinks industry and spotlight its talent and innovation. North America is undoubtedly a first-class cocktail destination, and the expansion into this region was a testament to the creativity and skill emerging from its drinks industry.

Mexico City’s Rayo Bar obtained 17th place in the 2023 list. (Rayo CDMX/Instagram)

How is the process of choosing the 50 best bars conducted?

The annual ranking is based on the votes of the academy, consisting of 270 gender-balanced anonymous bar industry experts across seven regions within North America. These experts include bartenders, bar managers, drinks consultants, brand ambassadors, drinks writers, historians, and cocktail aficionados. Voting occurs across regions such as the USA Northwest, USA Midwest, USA West, USA South, Canada (East and West), Mexico, and the Caribbean. Each region has its own panel of voters selected by Academy chairs, chosen for their knowledge and reputation in the drinks industry.

Why choose San Miguel de Allende for the Awards ceremony again?

San Miguel de Allende was selected for its burgeoning reputation as a cocktail lover’s destination and thriving hospitality scene. While perhaps less familiar than Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende offers a rich scene of culinary and drinking experiences, perfectly aligning with the ethos of 50 Best to spotlight both renowned and lesser-known destinations. As a UNESCO World Heritage City, it provides the perfect backdrop for celebrating excellence in bars and cocktails.

How does winning this award impact bars and individuals in the industry?

Winning a spot on the list, especially the number one ranking, undoubtedly has an immediate impact on the visibility and reputation of the bar. However, beyond the accolades, the 50 Best Awards aim to foster a sense of community within the industry. Bartenders forge lifelong relationships and friendships through our events, and the awards serve as a platform to champion talent and celebrate the contributions of individuals to the drinks industry.

Can you share more about the upcoming Awards ceremony?

The Awards ceremony will be held on the 23rd of April in San Miguel de Allende. While the list remains confidential until the night of the ceremony, we will live stream the event on our Facebook and YouTube channels, allowing people worldwide to join in and discover the best bars in North America. Last year, we saw a strong representation of Mexican bars on the list, showcasing the diversity and richness of the country’s cocktail culture beyond its capital city.

Handshake Speakeasy, in Mexico City, came third in 2023. (Handshake Speakeasy/Instagram)

As North America’s 50 Best Bars prepares to honor the continent’s top drinking establishments, the excitement is palpable. From the bustling streets of Mexico to the hidden gems of Canada, the bar scene awaits exploration, inviting enthusiasts to raise a glass and celebrate the artistry of mixology. Join the ceremony on the 23rd of April as they will toast to the best in the business and uncover the secrets behind North America’s finest bars.

Camila Sánchez Bolaño is a journalist, feminist, bookseller, lecturer, and cultural promoter and is Editor in Chief of Newsweek en Español magazine.

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