The World’s 50 Best Bars for 2023 have been revealed, and one Chicago spot made the cut, for the second year in a row, which makes the place a spot not to miss on the watering holes map of the city.
Establishing the best places to drink in for 15 years
For those unfamiliar with the list, The World’s 50 Best Bars is one of the most prestigious awards on the planet: a definitive ranking of the world’s most outstanding places to drink. The list is updated each year at an awards ceremony, which this year took place in Singapore, and the first time in the awards’ 15-year history that the ceremony has traveled to Asia. The list actually contains 100 places to drink in all over the world, these being split in two – 1-50 and 50-100.
Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States are tied for the most entries on the first 50 list, with five entries each. Mexico City, meanwhile, is the best-represented city on the list, with four bars named.
Taking home the crown was Sips in Barcelona, followed by New York’s Double Chicken Please and Handshake Speakeasy in Mexico City. For the U.S., the five bars honored in the top 50 cover most of the country – three being in New York, one in Miami and one in New Orleans.
The World’s 50 Best Bars for 2023 and the next 50 can be found here.
Two Chicago spots in the best North American bars last spring
Coming back to Chicago, from swanky cocktail bars and craft beer breweries to sunkissed patios and rooftop retreats, we really take the caliber of watering holes on offer in our terrific city very seriously.
With a bar and restaurant scene of such high quality, it should not come as much of a surprise that Chicago establishments have found their way in the top 50 best bars.
Kumiko, the West Loop cocktail bar from acclaimed mixologist Julia Momosé, landed at No. 82 on this year’s rankings. It was also named the eighth best North American bar by The World’s 50 Best Bars this past spring, together with the micro bar Milk Room.
Kumiko, the elegant cocktail temple helmed by renowned mixologist Julia Momosé, has been recognized as one of the best in the world last year also, in the 2022 list of The World’s 50 Best Bars. It was the first time a Chicago spot had made the top 50 since 2018. Kumiko was No. 61 in last year’s rankings, which, as we said, despite its name, honors 100 bars.
“The place to be at this Japanese-inspired venue is in one of the eight seats at the bar, enjoying the sophisticated cocktails of creative director Julia Momose. At the bar or at one of the few tables in the minimalist omakase-style dining room, Japanese ingredients are showcased in the drinks as well as the compact selection of small plates,” The World’s 50 Best Bars wrote this year.
Kumiko – the epitome of elegance, with a menu where maestra works her magic
The site’s presentation of Julia Momose’s Kumiko is outstanding, calling the place “the epitome of elegance”. The refined West Loop space, livened by beautiful wood cabinetry and exposed brick, is immediately transportive, the praise continues. But, it is the menu where the maestra works her magic, channeling the flavors of her Japanese-American heritage. Spirits, available by the pour, bottle or flight, provide a backbone. Imbued saké, shochu, rice whiskey and Japanese whisky populate an impressive bottle list. But the bar team’s formidable skills are on display through the selection of bright and supple cocktails, such as Walk Softly (rice vodka, sake, vermouth and brut champagne) and Sea Flower (gin, blanc vermouth de chambéry, sake, kabosu juice and lime.)
If you find yourself at its lower levels, guests can enjoy a private dining room with a Japanese-inspired menu designed to pair perfectly with cocktails of the highest order. Think wagyu katsu sandos with truffle honey and crisp karaage with kanzuri mayo. Regardless of what floor you find yourself on, Kumiko will satiate your every need.
In Time Out Chicago’s review of Kumiko, critic Maggie Hennessy wrote, “Julia Momosé’s elegant West Loop bar pairs Japanese omakase with bespoke cocktails—and the results are sublime,” while awarding it five stars.
Whether you have a business trip or a vacation, if you come to Chicago you might want to try Kumiko out. And if you are more of the relaxed and chill close to home type of person, you might want to look for a local hangout stop that’s conveniently located close to your hotel, or even better, on top of it. So, whether you’re here for business or pleasure, check out this local guide to Chicago hotels with rooftop bars, which include some of the best rooftop bars in the city.