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The World’s 50 Best Bars has today unveiled a brand-new award that will celebrate the very best in bar design – The Bareksten Best Bar Design Award. Judged by an esteemed panel of hospitality design experts, bars from anywhere in the world are invited to submit their venues for consideration from today. Entries will close in June and the winner will be announced at The World’s 50 Best Bars ceremony in Singapore on Tuesday 17 October 2023. Bars can nominate themselves on the 50 Best website.

The Bareksten Best Bar Design Award was created to reward bars across the globe for thoughtful and appropriate design and will go beyond style and taste to hit touchpoints of accessibility, sustainability and appropriateness for its market. Each entry will be judged on six key pillars, including innovation, aesthetics, accessibility, ergonomics, ecological compatibility and emotional quotient.

Mark Sansom, Content Director for The World’s 50 Best Bars, says: “Each year, we try to grow The World’s 50 Best Bars ecosystem. In 2023 we have chosen to launch the Bareksten Best Bar Design Award, which is the 50 Best brand’s first foray into design. To help us do this, we have consulted with six of the greatest minds in global bar design, who will be our judges for this award. As it is open to any bar, anywhere in the world, we hope to see some brilliantly designed bars that we’re not yet familiar with thrust into the global spotlight.”

The six internationally renowned judges from the world of hospitality design are:

Alia Akkam – A native New Yorker, experienced drinks and design journalist and self-confessed Europhile, Alia Akkam has called Budapest home since 2015. She is a contributing editor at Beverage Media and Hospitality Design and contributes regularly to Architectural Digest’s AD PRO vertical as well as ICON, OnOffice and Barron’s PENTA publications. Akkam has an affinity for writing about cocktails and bars, as well as interiors, travel, food and culture. In 2020 she published Behind the Bar: 50 Cocktail Recipes from the World’s Most Iconic Hotels and has followed that up with the 2022 release Behind the Bar: Gin. She is also an Academy Chair for The World’s 50 Best Bars.

Anirudh Singhal – After helping launch numerous trend-setting restaurants and bars, Singhal is now the man behind Speedx, a firm built to design hospitality venues from the ground up on the principles of ergonomics and comfort. Now, Speedx has built over 500 bars across India, including all of the country’s entries on The World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars rankings; they are the largest bar design and build company in the country. He has recently launched Haus of Bars by Speedx, an online store giving the public access to professional-grade equipment to create the ultimate home bar.

Bethan Ryder – With over 25 years’ experience in design, interiors and travel journalism, Ryder is an expert in what makes a great bar. Now the executive editorial director at the leading global trend forecasting agency WGSN since 2020, she has previously held senior editorial positions at Elle Decoration, Wallpaper* and Telegraph Luxury and has contributed to numerous titles including Sunday Times Style, The Guardian, Interior Design and the Evening Standard. She has also edited four books on bar, restaurant and club interiors for Laurence King Publishing, regularly chairs talks on design and hosted the House of Tales podcast series.

Paul Semple – Semple is one of two masterminds behind the hospitality-focused interior design studio MSDO, founded in 2020 alongside his lifelong collaborator Matthew Shang. With over 20 years of experience working around the world, including over five years leading the global hospitality team at multinational architecture firm Hassell, Semple has been based in Singapore since 2004. He has overseen and led design projects ranging from opulent retail spaces to large-scale hospitality venues, city hotels, small resort properties and award-winning bar projects. Semple’s client-focused, intimate and joyful creations cement his position as an industry leader in hospitality design.

Scott Baird – Baird is a San Francisco Bay Area native and a hospitality veteran of the region. After years behind the bars of a trio of lauded venues in the US, he founded the creative agency Rococo Cantaloupe, which is built from the ground up to “make drinks, throw parties and create fun”. His company has been behind the successful design revamp of many bars across the US, such as Zeppelin and Moonshot in Nashville. Since 2021, he has owned two bars in the US, with his sights now firmly set on designing and opening a third bar in Mexico City in the future.

Shaun Clarkson – Clarkson has headed up his own eponymous London-based design agency for over 32 years, working exclusively in hospitality, across the spectrum. Known for his diversity of projects and for his vivid colour palette, Clarkson has been involved in brand development for the drinks industry, most notably working with vodka and Champagne brands, creating events around luxury launches. He also has a wealth of experience as an operator, owning bars, cafés and ‘home-tels’ (some of the UK’s most iconic fantasy holiday homes).

Stig Bareksten, Founder and Master Distiller of Oss Craft Distillery, makers of Bareksten Spirits, says: “We are pleased to sponsor this award since design has always been an important element for Bareksten: when I launched my brand, my aim was not only to put all our efforts into enhancing the drinking experience of our customers, but also to impact them visually with our design. Creativity is essential in our work and the more you manage to include it in all elements that are part of it, the higher effect you generate. In the same way, I consider that a bar should not only focus its creativity to the drink proposal but to the whole environment that hosts the experience, indeed the bar design. This is the reason why I believe that Bar Design should also be recognised.”

Any bar can self-nominate for the award and there is no restriction on how long the bar has been open. All entries will be judged anonymously. Entries open on Tuesday 25 April and will close in June. Bars can enter for the award here.

The winner will be announced at a live ceremony in Singapore on Tuesday 17 October alongside the countdown of the list of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023, sponsored by Perrier. The ceremony will be broadcast live to a global audience who are not able to attend in person. Bar and cocktail lovers are invited to join through The World’s 50 Best Bars Facebook page and 50 Best Bars TV channel on YouTube.