Best Bars In The World To Be Honored At Tales Of The Cocktail…

Written by bathchronicle.co.uk

A Bath bar puts the city on the map for cocktail making with its nomination in two world-class categories.

The Dark Horse is in the running for best international cocktail bar in the Spirited Awards.

Meanwhile Blackbird, its atmospheric two-room annexe which used to be owner Louis Lewis-Smith’s office, is nominated for best new international cocktail bar.

This is the category that the underground Dark Horse reached the final four in last year, six months after it opened in Kingsmead Square, which Mr Lewis-Smith lauded as “an incredible achievement”.

“We’re all a bit blown away by the nomination to be honest,” he said. “We never expected to be back this year for ‘the big one’.”

The Dark Horse, cocktail bar in Kingsmead Square

Mr Lewis-Smith has 19 years’ experience of working in the drinks industry and said he has visited all of the 11 nominees in the best international category apart from The Everleigh in Melbourne, Australia.

Singling out Black Pearl, also in Melbourne, for praise, he said: “It was absolutely fantastic, the quality is spot on in every aspect.

“Bramble is one of my favourite places,” he added of the nominated Edinburgh cocktail bar.

“I adore the place, I really hope they win.”

Mr Lewis-Smith said he holds next to no hope that his bar which opened in December 2015 can lift the title.

“Edinburgh and Bath are the two little cities on there. It’s great to put Bath on the list,” he said.

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Blackbird opens to the public on Friday and Saturdays and on Sunday vinyl music nights are held.

It also plays host to a monthly whiskey club and is available for private hire.

“The nomination came as a massive surprise to all of us, mostly because we deliberately don’t talk about Blackbird and barely anyone knows it’s there,” Mr Lewis-Smith said.

Gins on the bar of Blackbird, an annexe to The Dark Horse

“We want it to be populated with a small number of people who are in the know and appreciate it.”

He added: “You can’t have a great bar without great guests, so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all our wonderful patrons who give The Dark Horse its soul.

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“Thank you for coming on this journey with us and for being awesome.

“A doff of the cap is also due to our management team, Clem Fandango and Dan Neale.

“We have absurdly high standards at The Dark Horse and it’s Clem and Dan that work so hard to maintain them, day in day out.”

Mr Fandango said: ““Our whole team work extremely hard to ensure that every guest in The Dark Horse gets a memorable experience unlike any other bar, and that they feel at home and looked after.

“My thanks are to that amazing team and our lovely customers.”

Founded in 2007, The Spirited Awards recognise the best and brightest professionals within the cocktail and spirits industries.

More than 1,000 nominations were made across the 24 categories.

Inside The Dark Horse, cocktail bar in Kingsmead Square

“To receive a top 10 nod for the Spirited Awards is a monumental accomplishment,” said Ann Tuennerman, founder of Tales of the Cocktail which run the awards series.

The top four in each category are being announced tomorrow (Friday, June 16).

Each finalist will be invited to the awards ceremony on Saturday, July 22 at the Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans.

Best international cocktail bar

1862 Dry Bar (Madrid, Spain)

Black Pearl (Melbourne, Australia)

Bramble (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Le Lion • Bar de Paris (Hamburg, Germany)

Le Syndicat, organisation de défense des spiritueux français (Paris, France)

Licorería Limantour (Mexico City, Mexico)

Little Red Door (Paris, France)

The Dark Horse (Bath, UK)

The Everleigh (Melbourne, Australia)

The Gibson (London, UK)

This Must Be The Place (Sydney, Australia)

Best new international cocktail bar

ATLAS (Singapore)

Blackbird at The Dark Horse (Bath, UK)

Danico (Paris, France)

Dr. Stravinsky (Barcelona, Spain)

Guilhotina Bar (São Paulo, Brazil)

LA COMMUNE (Paris, France)

Odori Vermuteria di Atene (Athens, Greece)

Salmon Guru (Madrid, Spain)