How many bars have you visited? Of those, which would you say were worthy of an award? None? Or, have you never really stopped to think about where a bar grades in terms of global standards? Who really thinks beyond getting the correct drink? If a place gets that right, what else is there?
It turns out; some take things like bar global standards very seriously. The Spirited Awards recently rated Dante in New York The Best Bar On Earth. So if you hit a pokies jackpot and are looking to have a celebratory drink that seems to be the place to do it.
The Spirited Awards judges have the demanding task of traveling around the world checking out drinking venues, and rating them. Do we think they take the job seriously, and don’t just get really drunk and then throw out a random score? We do, as a matter of fact, because you’d be surprised just how much thought goes into grading a bar.
So, what exactly are the Spirited Awards and should you care? The truth is that the average person probably won’t think too hard about how experienced a bartender is. But yes, there is an extremely rigorous set of skills involved. Far more than you might imagine.
Bryan Cranston, who you will know from the extremely popular TV series Breaking Bad, hosted the event in New Orleans. He confessed that he went on a course for top-tier professional bartending, and gained a great deal of respect for just how demanding a job it is. Word is that he suffered multiple cuts on his hands attempting to use a cocktail shaker properly. We’re not a hundred per cent sure how, but do imagine it gave a new meaning to Bloody Mary.
The Spirited Awards have been running for 13 years, and have the sole purpose of recognising outstanding professionalism. The judges pay special attention to not just the drinks, or the skill of the bartender, but also atmosphere, ambience, and a whole lot more. Which is to say; just having an impressive menu won’t make the cut. How well the drink is prepared, how quickly and how friendly the bartender can be are all also considered.
If you’ve been telling your friends how great your local bar is because they give away free peanuts, don’t nominate them for a Spirited Award. Take a glance at some of the winners and you’ll quickly understand why…
Dante has an interesting story, well beyond simply scooping multiple awards. It was originally a coffee house in 1915, located in the then Greenwich Village. Known as Caffe Dante, locals visited to enjoy a cup of coffee, shoot the breeze and maybe have a snack. Amazingly enough the place was reborn in 2015 as Dante, focusing on serving top-tier cocktails and other drinks to those who enjoy the finer things in life. Now, just a few years after being open, the establishment is visited by guests from far and wide.
Dante scooped Best Bar Establishment Overall award for 2019, as well as Best Bar Restaurant. Given that this is the second year in a row it has won best Bar Restaurant, it will now be retired from the category.
Other Notable Winners
Atlas, in Singapore, won Best International Cocktail Bar, as well as Best Spirits Menu. It is so large that it literally requires maps to navigate. The ambience is something out of a gothic-fantasy film, capable of taking your breath away even as you ask for a beer. Does the bar itself stretch up in a column to meet the ceiling? A ceiling that features extravagant, beautiful artworks, awe-inspiring enough to receive an award of its own? Of course.
Trick Dog in San Francisco won Best Cocktail Menu. Meanwhile, a newcomer to the scene won the Best New American Bar. Called Katana Kitten, the place is all but bathed in golden light, and charming atmosphere.
If you prefer something a bit more rustic, the Spirited Awards added a few new categories this year; Timeless Venues. The El Floridita in Havana took the Timeless International Award, recognising that the stunning location has been serving drinks since 1817. No joke; Ernest Hemmingway is known to have paid a visit.
If you think that’s a long track record, the Napoleon House in New Orleans won Timeless American. Established in 1794 and officially serving drinks since 1914, your jaw will hit the ground when you get a glimpse of the interior.
Raise Your Standards
The Spirited Awards are only increasing in popularity. It may not have crossed your mind how your local watering hole rates in the grand scheme of things, but maybe it’s time it did. After all, if Bryan Cranston thinks it’s worth his time handing out awards of this type, you might just tell your local bartender to start putting little umbrellas in the drinks, at the very least.