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All 18 Mediterranean winners in the World’s 50 Best Bars 2023

The top 18 Mediterranean cocktail bars

In a world where cocktails speak louder than words, this year’s The World’s 50 Best Bars list reveals a Mediterranean saga of flair and finesse. Barcelona’s ‘Sips’ clinched the crown, surging from third to first, while its counterpart ‘Paradiso’ gracefully pirouetted from last year’s pinnacle to fourth. Athens, the spirited underdog, dazzles with four of its bars marking their territory on this prestigious map, a testament to the city’s cocktail renaissance. Making a grand entrance, Paris’s ‘The Cambridge Public House’ debuts as the highest newcomer, while Athens’ ‘The Bar in Front of the Bar’ adds a dash of mystery, further spicing up the Mediterranean’s mixology narrative.

01

Sips []

Sips, birthed in 2021 by bartending virtuosos Simone Caporale and Marc Álvarez, rapidly ascended to acclaim as The World’s Best Bar and The Best Bar in Europe. Designed by Corbero Studio, its pastel decor and unique open layout, sans bar counter, foster a communal atmosphere, blending staff and guests in a shared space. Signature cocktails, like the innovative Primordial and Daiquiri Heliodora, are served in artisan-crafted glassware, exemplifying Sips’ commitment to creative presentation and top-tier mixology. This Barcelona hotspot is not just a bar, but a celebration of artistry in drinks, where every sip is an immersive experience

Sips
C/ de Muntaner, 108
Barcelona
Spain

Photography courtesy of Sips

04

Paradiso []

Paradiso emerges through a pastrami shop fridge, revealing a world where cocktails and creativity converge. Masters Giacomo Giannotti and Margarita Sader have crafted an enchanting realm, blending Art Deco with industrial chic, against a backdrop of exposed brick, velvet and a Carrara marble counter. The wooden interior, resonant with Gaudí’s sinuous style, sets the stage for extraordinary cocktails. Notable is the On Fire, a theatrical milk punch and the Supercool Martini, each a multisensory marvel. At paradiso, art and mixology interlace, creating an unforgettable Barcelona nightspot​.

Paradiso
Carrer de Rera Palau, 4
Barcelona
Spain

Photography courtesy of Paradiso

06

Little Red Door []

Known for its unique entrance through an unmarked red door, reminiscent of Prohibition-era speakeasies, the Little Red Door welcomes guests into a cosy, intimate world. Dark wood panelling, leather banquettes and dim lighting create an inviting atmosphere. As a consistent feature in The World’s 50 Best Bars list, it stands out for its commitment to sustainable bar practices, with a farm-to-glass approach that brings producers and cocktail crafters together. Drinks like Melon, Apple, Holy Basil and Olive are not only creatively named but also crafted using modern techniques, showcasing the bar’s dedication to both tradition and innovation.

Little Red Door
60 Rue Charlot
Paris
France

Photography courtesy of Little Red Door

12

Line []

In Athens, slightly removed from the city’s heart, lies Line, a bar that repurposes a former art gallery into a bastion of avant-garde mixology. The brainchild of Vasilis Kyritsis, Nikos Bakoulis and Dimitris Dafopoulos, Line exudes a mature aura, with its airy, double-height ceiling space, embodying sophistication. Designed by Nine Design, its minimalist yet chic interior marries concrete, metal and wood in neutral tones, punctuated by vibrant colours, offering a warm, textured ambience. Line’s innovative menu showcases house-made creations, from beers and fruit wines to cheeses and breads. Signature drinks like the pisco sour with fig wine and a Negroni with house-made vermouth display clever, effortless mixology.

Line
Agathodemonos 37
Athens
Greece

Photography courtesy of Line

16

Salmon Guru []

Concocted by ’maestro coctelero’ Diego Cabrera, Salmon Guru stands out as a cocktail sanctum since its 2017 inception. Winner of the Highest Climber Award in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019, this Literary Quarter hotspot flaunts three eclectic spaces: a ’60s speakeasy-style area with leather booths and diverse artworks, a manga comic-themed room with a communal table led by Cabrera and an intimate den reminiscent of Asian night markets. The bar’s cocktail repertoire spans from classic masterpieces to fiery chilli-infused innovations, crafted in collaboration with esteemed botanist Pepe Orts. Complementing these libations are gourmet bites like artisanal sandwiches and exquisite desserts, creating a harmonious symphony of tastes and aesthetics.

Salmon Guru
Calle de Echegaray, 21
Madrid
Spain

Photography courtesy of salmon Guru

21

Drink Kong []

Drink Kong in Rome redefines unique with its fusion of 1970s futurism, King Kong motifs and Japanese elements. Set in a leafy square, a stone’s throw from the city centre, this bar captivates with its jet-black, neon-lit nightclub-esque ambience, featuring multiple rooms each with their own vibe. The menu at Drink Kong is a canvas of graphical shapes depicting flavours, accompanied by minimalistic descriptions and listing only the base spirit or liqueur. This intriguing approach, almost like ordering blind, is underpinned by a hard-earned trust; the bar consistently delivers exceptional cocktails, no matter the crowd or the hour.

Drink Kong
Piazza di S. Martino Ai Monti, 8
Rome
Italy

Photography courtesy of Drink Kong

25

Baba au Rum []

In the heart of Athens, Baba au Rum, a vanguard in the cocktail realm, marks 15 years of excellence. Its soul, Thanos Prunarus, is a maestro of hospitality, infusing his passion for art and design into the bar’s fabric. The interior, a tribute to Modernist art, reflects in the inventive cocktail menu. Signature drink, The Glass Tears, a vetiver-laced Gimlet inspired by Dadaist Man Ray, showcases their creative ethos. Rum enthusiasts have a treat with over 400 labels and innovative tropical concoctions on the Rum Society list. The bartender, a mixology wizard, ensures each creation is a visual and gustatory delight. Baba au Rum, blending artistic design with mixology, offers a unique Athenian escapade where every visit is an immersion in style and flavor.

Baba au Rum
Klitiou 6
Athens
Greece

Photography courtesy of Baba au Rum

33

Freni e Frizioni []

A beacon of modernity in Rome’s classical landscape, Freni e Frizioni is a dynamic bar thriving in a former mechanic’s workshop. It spills vibrantly onto a courtyard, becoming a nucleus of nightlife with an ambiance that is distinctly punk, attracting a youthful, edgy crowd. The bar’s cocktail repertoire is both crowd-pleasing and connoisseur-worthy, with the Phi-Mex standing out – a mezcal-based twist on the Tommy’s Margarita, ingeniously blended with calamansi, bell pepper, tamarind and agave syrup. Since 2013, under the stewardship of Riccardo Rossi, the venue has soared, complementing the vision of owners Luca Conzato and Cristian Bugiada.

Freni e Frizioni
Via del Politeama, 4
Rome
Italy

Photography courtesy of Freni e Frizioni

38

The Cambridge Public House [new]

In Paris’ Marais district, The Cambridge Public House, opened in 2019, ingeniously merges the warmth of a local pub with the finesse of a high-end cocktail bar. Founders Hyacinthe Lescoët and Hugo Gallou have elevated the classic British pub, offering Guinness, live sports and delightful sausage rolls. The Cambridge Public House is committed to sustainability, evident in its menu which reflects the bar’s ethos, changes regularly with seasonal produce. A highlight is the continuously reinvented Summer Cup, now in its fifth rendition. This establishment embodies tradition and transition, seamlessly blending its reverence for classic influences with a pioneering spirit, redefining the essence of contemporary pub culture.

The Cambridge Public House
8 Rue de Poitou
Paris
France

Photography courtesy of The Cambridge Public House

42

1930 []

1930 in Milan, Italy, redefines the speakeasy concept with finesse. Discretion is key, as its location remains a guarded secret. The bar’s ambience pays homage to Prohibition America, but with a twist – here, the cocktails are anything but restricted. Among its standout creations is the Tomatina, a nod to Valencia featuring Brandy Lepanto and a unique blend of rye bread, red wine vinegar, cucumber gum syrup, tomato, and pepper shrub. Owners Flavio Angiolillo and Marco Russo have cultivated an atmosphere that’s both intimate and illustrious. Securing a spot in this celebrated bar is a coveted feat, often requiring a personal connection to the owners themselves.

1930
secret location
Milano
Italy

Photography courtesy of 1930

44

L’Antiquario []

L’Antiquario in Naples, Italy, spearheaded by co-owner Alex Frezza, stands as a beacon of Italian cocktail innovation. Concealed behind a wooden door, this speakeasy-style venue features lush red velvet sofas set against floral wallpaper. The bar’s signature Napoli Capitale drink list celebrates the city’s heritage and influential artists. A standout is Andy, a calvados and vodka concoction with roasted banana and champagne, honouring Andy Warhol. Not to be missed are the inventive Negroni variations: Umami with tomato and shiitake infused dry vermouth, Garden with peach and rose gin and Corretto, echoing Arabica coffee’s depth. Classic recipes intermingle with groundbreaking mixology, capturing Naples’ vibrant spirit.

L’Antiquario
Via Vannella Gaetani, 2
Naples
Italy

Photography courtesy of L’Antiquario

46

Locale Firenze []

Locale Firenze, located in Florence, Italy, within the storied Palazzo Concini, is a blend of historic charm and contemporary elegance. Centuries-old chandeliers and antique furniture contrast with modern green walls and playful hanging balloons. Its dominating high bottle rack marries the old with the new. Bar manager Fabio Fanni offers a minimalist yet profound cocktail list, featuring the signature Nocciolo, blending homemade fruit stone liquor with rum, scotch and sherry. The innovative Zolfini, a local bean spirit, is uniquely paired with dorayaki-style cake, bean gelato and olive oil, illustrating Locale’s commitment to low-waste and cutting-edge lab techniques.

Locale Firenze
Via delle Seggiole, 12r
Florence
Italy

Photography courtesy of Locale Firenze

47

The Clumsies []

The Clumsies in Athens, set within a grand townhouse, exudes a sense of homely hospitality. Established in 2014 by Vasilis Kyritsis and Nikos Bakoulis, it quickly gained acclaim for its warm, inviting atmosphere. Perfect as both a brunch spot and a late-night gathering place, its charm lies in playful yet understated drinks. Signature offerings include the classic Mediterranean Gimlet and inventive choices from the Happy Accidents menu, like Catching a Falling Star, a cheddar-infused spicy Margarita. The Clumsies masters the art of making bold, eyebrow-raising concepts both approachable and irresistible, making it a bar where just one drink is never enough.

The Clumsies
Praxitelous 30
Athens
Italy

Photography courtesy of The Clumsies

51

Danico []

Danico in Paris, once the flagship store of fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier, is a cocktail haven where edgy meets elegance. Located behind the bustling Daroco Bourse, its speakeasy-style entrance leads to an ambiance of urban tropical chic, accented with quirky wallpaper, velvet furnishings, and a striking herringbone marble bar. The nautical-striped shirts of the barmen pay homage to Gaultier’s legacy. Mastermind Nico de Soto, also the brains behind New York’s Mace, brings his cocktail wizardry to Danico’s adventurous 12-drink menu. Signature concoctions like La Myrtille, a turbo-charged kir royale with cognac, hazelnut butter and tonka beans, exemplify the bar’s bold yet delicious creativity​​​​​​​​.

Danico
6 Rue Vivienne
Paris
Italy

Photography courtesy of Danico

70

Barro Negro []

Barro Negro, Athens’ first tequila and mezcal bar, is a vibrant testament to Mexico’s rich spirits. Conceived by George Kavaklis and Stelios Papadopoulos in 2019, it’s a space where misconceptions about agave spirits are deftly corrected. The bar’s black clay decor, a nod to Oaxacan pottery, sets a unique backdrop for innovative cocktails like the Los Abuelos, blending mezcal, blanco tequila, olive oil, lime, fennel and herbal liqueur. Acknowledged as the world’s first Paloma Embassy, its Paloma stands out as a refreshing classic. Barro Negro’s ambience, with its upbeat 1980s tracks, mirrors the lively streets of Oaxaca, transporting patrons to the heart of modern Mexico. ​

Barro Negro
loannou Paparrigopoulou 15
Athens
Greece

Photography courtesy of Barro Negro

85

Camparino in Galleria []

Camparino in Galleria, steeped in Milanese history since 1915, epitomizes Italian aperitif culture. Perched in central Milan, its terrace offers mesmerizing views of the Duomo square. This two-level venue skillfully blends historical charm with contemporary chic. Patrons can indulge in a fluffy Garibaldi, inspired by New York’s Dante or a classic Negroni while soaking in the ambiance. Downstairs, Bar di Passo exudes vintage elegance with a wooden bar and chandeliers, and upstairs, Sala Spiritello offers a modern setting for refined food and cocktail pairings, embodying Milan’s fusion of tradition and innovation.

Camparino in Galleria
P.za del Duomo, 21
Milan
Italy

Photography courtesy of Camparino in Galleria

88

Red Frog []

Red Frog in Lisbon, a speakeasy with a modern twist, opened in 2015 and swiftly became a sensation for its mixological innovations. After a brief closure in 2020, it triumphantly reemerged within Monkey Mash Bar, boasting an even more intimate setting. Owners Emanuel Minez and Paulo Gomes curated a best of menu, featuring crowd favorites like the Zeppelin Funk Punch, a creative blend of earl grey, buttermilk and gin. The American Gangster cocktail combines bourbon, maple, cinnamon and cocoa, offering a rich and complex flavor. Accessible through a closet door in Monkey Mash, Red Frog’s green wood-paneled walls, ornate chandeliers and plush couches create an atmosphere of cozy exclusivity, making it a must-visit spot in Lisbon’s cocktail scene.

Red Frog
Praça da Alegria 66B
Lisbon
Portugal

Photography courtesy of Red Frog

98

The Bar in Front of the Bar [new]

A Bar in Front of the Bar in Athens, crafted by mixology experts Alexandros Tselepis, Konstantinos Theodorakopoulos and Simeon Papanikolaou, redefines the streetside bar scene. Renowned for its bold and humorous design, featuring messages like ‘We Serve Humans Too’, it captures the essence of Athenian wit. This outdoor-only venue boasts an ever-changing cocktail menu, emphasizing a zero-waste approach. Located a mere five-minute stroll from Syntagma station, it’s celebrated for exceptional bartending and a unique al fresco drinking experience.

The Bar in Front of the Bar
Petraki 1
Athens
Greece

Photography courtesy of The Bar in Front of the Bar

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