News
Handshake Speakeasy in the Colonia Juárez neighborhood of Mexico City. Handshake Speakeasy in the Colonia Juárez neighborhood of Mexico City.

11 Mexican bars among North America’s top 50

Mexico City's Handshake Speakeasy ranked No. 2 on the continent

Eleven bars in Mexico have received spots in the inaugural ranking of North America’s 50 Best Bars, revealed at a ceremony this week in New York City. The list was compiled by William Reed, a multimedia company that focuses on the food and drinks industry and also publishes the World’s 50 Best Bars, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and other lists.

The new regional list places 10 Mexico bars in the top 22, including No. 2, Handshake Speakeasy, and No. 3, Licorería Limantour, both in Mexico City. In all, Mexico City has six bars on the list of 50, with two in Oaxaca and one each in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Jalisco.

This list includes 30 bars in the United States, eight in Canada and one in Cuba, in addition to the Mexican tally. “Today is a big night because everyone at ‘50 Best’ has been planning to release a list celebrating the top bar talent in North America for almost a decade,” said Mark Sansom, director of content for North America’s 50 Best Bars. “As pandemic restrictions are finally being lifted, we think there’s no better time to unveil the awards that tell the story of great bars in this region.”

In addition to Handshake Speakeasy and Licorería Limantour, the other Mexican bars on the list are: No. 7 Baltra Bar (Mexico City), No. 11 Zapote Bar (Playa del Carmen),  No. 13 Kaito del Valle (Mexico City), No. 15 Café de Nadie (Mexico City), No. 16 Hanky Panky (Mexico City), No. 20 Sabina Sabe (Oaxaca), No. 21 El Gallo Altanero (Guadalajara), No. 22 Selva (Oaxaca) and No. 37 Arca (Tulum). 

Licorería Limantour, in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City.
Licorería Limantour, in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City.

Handshake Speakeasy finished behind only Attaboy, a cocktail bar on New York City’s Lower East Side that last year was named the 34th best bar in the world. To enter Handshake, which is located behind the wall of a cigar shop in a mall in the Polanco area, one needs a secret code that can be obtained via the speakeasy’s Instagram page.

Set in a 1920s decor, Handshake Speakeasy has a long, marble bar with copper arches framing the backbar, and its cocktails are “surprising results [that] are achieved through extensive work in the lab, clarifying juices, creating new syrups and infusing cordials,” according the bar’s summary on the 50 best list.

Licorería Limantour, meanwhile, is “an institution in Mexico City’s bubbling nightlife scene” that is “regarded as one of the city’s best party bars.” One of the establishment’s featured drinks is the “Margarita al Pastor,” which is made with tequila blanco, Cointreau, pineapple cubes, coriander, serrano chile, basil, lime juice and sugar. Licorería Limantour has two locations, but the one selected for this list is in Roma Norte (the other is in Polanco).

On the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2021, Licorería Limantour was sixth, well ahead of Handshake Speakeasy in 25th place. Hanky Panky was 12th. The 2022 global list will be announced in October.

According to William Reed, the 2022 North America list was compiled by a panel of 220 experts, including bartenders, owners and journalists in eight regions: Canada East, Canada Northeast, U.S. Midwest, U.S. West, U.S. South, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Mexico is represented in one other small way on the North America list: The artwork for the No. 39 bar on the list, ABV in San Francisco, includes a picture of a can of Modelo.

Here is the full list:

  1. Attaboy, New York, U.S.
  2. Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City, Mexico
  3. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City, Mexico
  4. Katana Kitten, New York, U.S.
  5. Kumiko, Chicago, U.S.
  6. Café La Trova, Miami, U.S.
  7. Baltra Bar, Mexico City, Mexico
  8. Dante, New York, U.S.
  9. Thunderbolt, Los Angeles, U.S.
  10. Civil Liberties, Toronto, Canada
  11. Zapote Bar, Riviera Maya, Mexico
  12. La Factoría, San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S.
  13. Kaito del Valle, Mexico City, Mexico
  14. Sweet Liberty, Miami, U.S.
  15. Café de Nadie, Mexico City, Mexico
  16. Hanky Panky, Mexico City, Mexico
  17. Double Chicken Please, New York, U.S.
  18. Service Bar, Washington D.C., U.S.
  19. Raised by Wolves, San Diego, U.S.
  20. Sabina Sabe, Oaxaca, Mexico
  21. El Gallo Altanero, Guadalajara, Mexico
  22. Selva, Oaxaca, Mexico
  23. Amor y Amargo, New York, U.S.
  24. Jewel of the South, New Orleans, U.S.
  25. The Keefer Bar, Vancouver, Canada
  26. Dear Irving, New York, U.S.
  27. Overstory, New York, U.S.
  28. Herbs & Rye, Las Vegas, U.S.
  29. El Pequeño Bar, Montreal, Canada
  30. Employees Only, New York, U.S.
  31. The Dead Rabbit, New York, U.S.
  32. Broken Shaker, Miami, U.S.
  33. Friends and Family, Oakland, U.S.
  34. Death & Co., Los Angeles, U.S.
  35. Mace, New York, U.S.
  36. Death & Co., Denver, U.S.
  37. Arca, Tulum, Mexico
  38. Mother, Toronto, Canada
  39. ABV, San Francisco, U.S.
  40. El Floridita, Havana, Cuba
  41. Bar Raval, Toronto, Canada
  42. Bar Leather Apro, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
  43. Clover Club, New York, U.S.
  44. Bitter & Twisted, Phoenix, U.S.
  45. Cloakroom Bar, Montreal, Canada
  46. Julep, Houston, U.S.
  47. Bar Mordecai, Toronto, Canada
  48. Teardrop Lounge, Portland, U.S.
  49. Bar Kisme, Halifax, Canada
  50. Genever, Los Angeles, U.S.

With reports from Reforma

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.