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5 Scottish pubs named in top 50 cocktail bars for 2023 - including best team

London's Satan's Whiskers was voted number one cocktail bar in UK, with London cocktail bars dominating the list but Scottish bars were named in the Top 50.

Published: February 8, 2023

The Top 50 Cocktails bars in the UK for 2023 have been announced at an awards night in London.

East-London bar, Satan’s Whiskers, was voted number one in this year’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars sponsored by Franklin & Sons.

Located in Bethnal Green, the unassuming cocktail bar has jumped up four places from last year, serving up its ever-changing cocktails to its loyal customers for over a decade.

The team pride themselves on providing excellent service and great music, embodying the ideal neighbourhood bar.

Coming in at number two is last year’s winner, Lab-22, based in the Welsh capital, the standout bar is known for its innovative and daring cocktail menu.

top 50 cocktail bars
Picture: Panda & Sons

While London bars dominated the list, five Scottish cocktail bars made the top 50 in the UK for 2023.

These are: Bramble Bar and Lounge, Panda and Sons, Lunar, The Absent Ear and Hey Palu.

This is the first time that Lunar, based in Glasgow, made the list and the second time for Glasgow's speakeasy, The Absent Ear.

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The team at Hey Palu in Edinburgh were awarded Bar Team of the Year.

Panda & Sons came in the top 10 at number 6, with the bar's six-chapter menu, with cocktails made using sous vide, clarification, and fat washing techniques – amongst others, getting a nod.

At 13, Bramble, also in Edinburgh, is a cosy bar to sip on highlights such as the Grand Central; gin, cacao, vermouth, marshmallow, fizz and the Atlas Stone; whisky, hibiscus, dark beer, plum and bitters.

Edinburgh’s Hey Palu, ranked at 27 on the list and was noted for serving up classic gin martinis and negronis, but also innovative creations such as the White Strawberry Negroni and the Pink Pigeon Club made using Roku Gin, preserved raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, lemon and aquafaba.

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In Glasgow, at 25, The Absent Ear is a speakeasy inspired by Van Gogh, serving up flamboyant cocktails headed by Rhuaridh Paul.

And at 49, Lunar, is the brainchild of Grunting Growler beer shop owner, Jehad Hatu. A menu of funky cocktails includes the Rattlesnake – a concoction made with house-infused chilli vodka, watermelon syrup and vanilla then topped with soda.

Chris Lowe, publisher of Top 50 Cocktail Bars, said “Whilst London continues to dominate this year’s list, it is very exciting to see other major cities across the UK make their mark.

"The ever-growing interest in cocktails and bartending within the UK means we are spoilt for choice on where to go, and this list allows for the best of the UK bar scene to have a spotlight placed on them – and for consumers to find these hidden gems.”

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Aidy Smith, host of this year’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars event said “It was my absolute honour to join the Top 50 Cocktail Bars family last year and present an awards programme which sits at the beating heart of our industry.

"It’s been a rough couple of years and these people have fought relentlessly to keep the nations spirits high in so many wonderful ways - it’s time to pay a nod to that.

"I’m raring to go and couldn’t be more excited to announce the liquid pioneers of 2023. From the Northern coast of Scotland and the valleys of Wales to the southern tip of England, this Isle is home to some of the best mixology and bar-team talent on the planet and it’s my pride and honour to read each and every name on the list.”

The Top 50 Cocktail Bars in the UK for 2023

1 Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green, London  
2 Lab 22, Cardiff 
3 Tayēr + Elementary, Shoreditch, London  
4 SCHOFIELD'S BAR, Manchester 
5 Swift, Soho, London  
6 Panda & Sons, Edinburgh 
7 Three Sheets, Dalston, London  
8 Speak in Code, Manchester 
9 Bar with Shapes for a Name, Hackney, London  
10 The Connaught, Mayfair, London 
11 Little Mercies, Crouch End, London 
12 Couch, Birmingham 
13 Bramble, Edinburgh 
14 The Pineapple Club, Birmingham 
15 Ojo Rojo, Bournemouth  
16 Disrepute, Soho, London 
17 Artesian, Oxford Circus, London 
18 Hideout, Bath 
19 Nightjar, Shoreditch, London 
20 Present Company, Liverpool 
21 Publiq, South Kensington, London  
22 Scarfes Bar, Holborn, London  
23 Lyaness, South Bank, London 
24 Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum, Chinatown, London  
25 The Absent Ear, Glasgow 
26 Happiness Forgets, Hoxton, London  
27 Hey Palu, Edinburgh 
28 Filthy XIII, Bristol 
29 Homeboy, Islington, London 
30 Soma, Soho, London 
31 Coupette, Bethnal Green, London
32 Passing Fancies, Birmingham 
33 Bar Termini, Soho, London 
34 Seed Library, Shoreditch, London 
35 Murder Inc, Soho, London 
36 Penny Royal, Cardiff 
37 Callooh Callay, Shoreditch, London 
38 Silverleaf, Liverpool St, London 
39 Public, Sheffield 
40 Fox & Chance, Birmingham 
41 Blinker, Manchester 
42 Below Stairs, Leeds  
43 Milk Thistle, Bristol 
44 Gungho!, Brighton 
45 Hedonist, Leeds 
46 Amaro, Kensington, London 
47 Cottonmouth, Nottingham 
48 Tabula Rasa, Leeds 
49 Lunar, Glasgow 
50 Bench, Sheffield 

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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