From Private Parties To Paperwork: Here’s How The Luxury World Really Treats Its VIPs

There are very important clients, and then there are very, very important clients. Here’s how to know where you rank in the worlds of wine, watches, cars and jewellery.

By Jill Newman 21/11/2022

On a warm July evening, an intimate group of elegantly attired guests roamed the gilded halls of the Palace of Versailles, sipping Champagne while being serenaded by violins. The unforgettable party included a candlelit dinner prepared by Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut, a display of rare diamond jewels and a fireworks display that illuminated the sky above the palace while an orchestra played in the famed gardens below. If not for the fact that many of the guests jetted in courtesy of their host, Van Cleef & Arpels, one could be forgiven for thinking they’d time-traveled back to the 17th century, when the merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier presented the Sun King, Louis XIV, with jaw-dropping jewels from his trip to India in the very same rooms.

This fairy tale was a quintessentially private affair (strictly no photos) for the company’s top clients, who were invited to celebrate the unveiling of the collection, the Legend of Diamonds—and to indulge in three days of meticulously organised culinary and wine experiences. Before the first cork popped at Versailles, the guests were ferried to private tours and specially prepared menus at Château Margaux one day, followed by lunches at Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and Champagne Perrier-Jouët.

“The story behind the collection is always at the centre of the experience,” says Nicolas Bos, Van Cleef’s president and CEO. In this case, that story revolved around the 910-carat Lesotho Legend, the fifth-largest rough diamond ever mined, which the French jeweller had turned into a glittering array of high jewellery.

For big spenders, these money-can’t-buy experiences have become the norm: This past summer, Cartier flew its premier clients to Madrid for three days of carefully planned activities, including tours of art collections, Michelin-star meals, a gala in the 18th-century Liria Palace where Rita Ora performed and, of course, a first look at its Beautés du Monde high jewellery. Louis Vuitton unveiled its 125-piece jewellery collection at an extravagant dinner at the Dar el Bacha palace in Marrakech for clients, as well as Kylie Minogue and Chloë Grace Moretz. Gucci’s higjewelleryry took pride of place at the 18th-century Villa Albani Torlonia in Rome, which contains one of the world’s premier private collections of ancient and Renaissance art. At the dinner, British singer Sam Smith wowed the small group in the garden.

There have never been more millionaires and billionaires and, consequently, the global smorgasbord of luxury products has never been more in demand. But because what defines this increasingly attractive corner of the economy is a sense of exclusivity, the makers of high-end wines, cars, watches and other collectables have had to up the ante. Just as airlines have their silver, gold and platinum status, luxury houses employ similar, if more discreet, rankings for their most dedicated customers—and the kind of attention (and scrutiny) said clients get depends almost entirely on where they are in that VIP pecking order. In one industry, that might mean strolling down the red carpet for a once-in-a-lifetime event. In another, it may translate to being allowed to apply to purchase a new product, once it has been released.

In any luxury industry, though, the payoff for securing VIP clients, who can spend millions of dollars a year with a single company, is astronomical—and some sectors invest fortunes in wining and dining their heaviest hitters. From the upper echelons of wine collecting, for instance, Cardinale, the Napa Valley winery that produces a single (and much sought-after) Cabernet Sauvignon each year, takes a networking approach to VIP relations, hosting private dinners at the homes of its best customers. These insiders are encouraged to invite friends who may be interested in acquiring rare vintages for their own cellars—a little like a high-stakes Tupperware party.

The wine world is intrinsically convivial, so much so that executives sometimes open the doors of their own homes for private events, too. Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of a winery that produces bottles in Napa, Sonoma and Burgundy, has been known to invite his top collectors to dine at the California hilltop manse he shares with his wife and children. The house centres on an indoor pool illuminated by Baccarat chandeliers, and synchronised swimmers, aerialists and magicians have all been brought in as entertainment. At Boisset’s 50th birthday party in 2019, Joseph Minafra, the lead for innovation and technical partnerships at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, presented the host with a meteorite. Boisset later had chunks of the space rock affixed to bottles of a wine called the Surrealist-Meteor, produced in an edition of just 250, which he offered first to members of his JCB Collectors society, who bought all but a handful of the available bottles, which then sold out in a JCB tasting salon.

So how does one make the journey to Boisset’s hilltop—or any other wine-world apex? Start by landing a coveted spot on a winery’s allocation list. That first rung of the VIP ladder itself requires a certain display of largesse, but once you’re on, you have the distinct privilege of buying cases of wines months before other customers—and at lower prices than you’d pay via your local agent. In some instances, it also means you have access to special bottles that are never made publicly available.

Marcin Wolski

But in the jewellery world, a realm in which the biggest houses produce only dozens of unique pieces annually but the pool of serious collectors is likewise more limited, keeping the VIPs happy takes on heightened importance. “A small number of customers can have a major impact on a jeweller’s business,” explains Robert Burke, a New York–based luxury consultant.

“These houses are doing everything to make their customers feel special and be excited to buy their collections.”
-Robert Burke

“We are in the business of emotion,” says Mercedes Abramo, CEO of Cartier North America. The house’s elaborate high-jewelry presentations for VIPs in glamorous destinations around the world are designed to forge a far deeper connection with clients than a mere boutique visit might achieve. When a client purchases a piece at one of these events, Abramo explains, “they will remember the moment every time they wear it.” Put another way, a bracelet may be far more meaningful when it comes with a personal story—and bragging rights that you bought it as one of a handful of elite guests at a Spanish palace or a château in the South of France.

But what if you’re just getting started on your climb up the ladder of luxury shopping? An entry-level VIP experience might be an exclusive local party. Last fall, Tiffany & Co. took over a $75 million art-filled New York townhouse to showcase its new designs, loose gemstones and the trophies it creates for the NFL, the NBA and the US Open tennis championships. Even the historic Tiffany yellow diamond was on display—and the company invited many elite customers in the Americas to take a look.

You know you’re moving up when you get face time with a chief executive. In September, Tiffany CEO Anthony Ledru hosted around 65 VIPs in São Paulo, Brazil, where guests previewed the newest high jewellery in one-on-one meetings. It was there that Tiffany sold one of its most expensive Bird on a Rock brooches to date. Typically, these pieces, which follow a 1965 design by Jean Schlumberger, are set with large citrines or aquamarine stones—and as a result are relatively expensive (this fall, 1stDibs was offering one for $140,000). But as the São Paulo example featured a fancy intense yellow diamond, its price was in the seven figures.

“I believe the future is more about intimacy, and it’s very hard when you have a very large setting,” Ledru says of the smaller events he stages higher up the VIP food chain. “We believe in small groups where you can truly interact with the clients and really spend time with them.”

Those targeted individuals are treated not only to fabulous trips but also to claims on the most rarefied pieces, which never find their way to the boutiques; they’re presented only to clients with demonstrated buying power and interest. During a Tiffany trip to this year’s Venice Film Festival, one couple made a major purchase—which may be why they were subsequently invited to a high-jewelry event in Dubai, where they happened to acquire an extremely rare red diamond. While Tiffany wouldn’t reveal its price, a similar stone sold for nearly $4.5 million at Christie’s two years ago. The couple met with Tiffany’s design team to turn the stone into a bespoke piece.

The highest echelons of VIP treatment are often marked by this level of collaboration between customers and craftsmen—because there’s nothing quite so exclusive as a one-off you helped design. In most cases, there’s an expectation of privacy around these elite transactions. The automotive world, which generates breathless speculation about who may have commissioned its unique editions, is famously tight-lipped about how it treats its best customers. Bugatti, which produces some of the most expensive cars in the world, makes paying a visit to its headquarters in Molsheim, France, an exercise akin to a papal audience. “We are not a museum and don’t offer tours,” says Cedric Davy, COO for Bugatti of the Americas. “You are only able to visit the factory if you are a customer, and we only receive one customer per day.”

Rolls-Royce isn’t quite so rigid. In the past, it has brought groups of VIPs to its factory in Goodwood, England, where in early 2022 a small gaggle of customers was invited to place orders for its forthcoming electric vehicle, the Spectre, months before the public even knew it existed.

But its top rung is reserved for the likes of car collector Michael Fux. By some accounts, the Cuban-born, New Jersey–based mattress magnate owns over 120 rare cars and has purchased 15 from Rolls-Royce. That devotion has earned him a direct line to the company’s design department and an entire palette of proprietary colours named after him, from Fuxia—his own shade of fuchsia—to Fux Jade Pearl. According to Martin Fritsches, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America, Fux and others of his ilk receiving their commissions warrants “special occasions like Monterey Car Week for public delivery.”

Some high rollers may shy away from such overt displays but still appreciate being courted in an ultra-personalised way that taps into their passions. Boucheron, the French jewellery firm that counts the British royal family among its customers, recently hosted a client and family with an affinity for astrology for a private dinner under the stars at the Côte d’Azur Observatory in France. “To me, there is no point of living a lavish life and dying rich,” says Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, Boucheron’s CEO. “It’s only about gathering extraordinary experiences and loving memories.” Another example in the house’s bag of tricks: an overnight stay in the apartment above Boucheron’s historic Paris flagship store (from the bathtub, you get sweeping views of the Place Vendôme), a privilege bestowed by invitation only five nights a year.

Intimacy on this order grew in relevance in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, when most big events had to be cancelled. In response, Cartier invited select groups of VIPs to Jackson Hole, Wyo., (with the option of flying in on your own plane) for three days in October 2021 to view its Sixième Sens par Cartier high-jewelry collection staged in a modern house. Guests stayed in nearby homes and hotels and followed personalised itineraries that included fly-fishing, a fancy picnic and a horse exhibition. “It was exclusive but still down-to-earth,” explains Abramo, the North America CEO, who spent one-on-one time with each guest. “We were able to engage with clients who don’t want to go to a black-tie gala because it’s not their style.”

These types of elite events are reserved for the VIPs, the ones who spend seven figures on a single piece—and Abramo’s team makes sure the guest list is a mix of people who will be open to meeting others on a similar level. Those not keen on socialising receive a private after-hours showing at their local boutique instead, or a curated selection of jewels brought to their home or office.

Some invitations may be too good to pass up. Earlier this year, Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin threw a serious celebration at the Italian Embassy in Paris. Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and Priyanka Chopra Jonas were there, and Carla Bruni sang. Babin says such events underline the house’s connection to stars of the silver screen, including Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, who were notable Bulgari clients in their time. And having their contemporary counterparts at the dinner table with clients is akin to a live-action marketing campaign. When a celebrity “is wearing a high-jewelry necklace across from you,” Babin says, “you can identify yourself as a potential owner” of the same piece.

Jewellery houses are also adept at determining a client’s spending potential and will take pains to do what’s needed to facilitate the progression to the next level. Lucy Guo, a Miami-based start-up founder and venture capitalist, was a guest at Cartier’s jewellery exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art in May and said the trip gave her a deeper appreciation of the brand. “Cartier really takes care of you and makes you feels special,” she says. Guo and a guest were given a driver for two days to take them to personalised activities, including the gala museum dinner. She returned home having bought a new diamond animal bracelet. Win win.

Marcin Wolski

But while many luxury industries go to significant lengths to cultivate relationships with their best clients, at least one tends to take a contrasting psychological approach: Rather than offering cushy perks or throwing lavish fetes to flatter their best customers, watch companies make them jump through hoops to land the most exclusive products—and convince those clients that the process is an honour. Thanks in part to extremely limited production and an exponential increase in the horologically inclined, very few can waltz into a boutique and skip back out again with something new on their wrists.

You have to work for it: For the crème de la crème of watchmaking, a cross between a college application and an IRS 1040 may also be required.

To get hold of the latest Patek Philippe complications, clients must submit applications. Even being asked if you would like to apply is something of a feather in one’s cap: To be considered for the gatekeeping form, one must start with the brand’s entry-level Calatrava model and climb the ladder to more important pieces over the course of years to prove one’s fealty. The questions on the application can range from why you want to buy the watch to your job title (aka your means of income), and there’s even said to be a contractual promise not to resell it within a certain period.

For its most coveted releases, Panerai goes so far as to evaluate a client’s personality and fitness. To get one of the brand’s five-figure Xperience timepieces, you have to go on the affiliated high-octane adventure trip. One recent model, which included a climbing excursion with renowned mountaineer Jimmy Chin, had collectors clamoring for the chance to pay its $60,000 price tag—but North American brand president Philippe Bonay played hardball.

“We knew that one element [for a successful trip] was a certain level of fitness,” he says. Hear that? It’s the sound of more doors shutting.

On the flipside, in a bid to lure in fresh clientele, Audemars Piguet in 2022 started promising a reserve of Royal Oaks, its best-known and most-coveted model, to newcomers only. But with demand ultra-high, who gets on the first-timer list? “The right way to do it is actually very simple: create and develop a relationship with us,” says outgoing CEO François-Henry Bennahmias, making the catch-22 sound laughably straightforward. “When you don’t know anyone, you have to get known by our people, and eventually things happen.”

So the answer to becoming a VIP seems to be… time. Well, time and connections and taste and money and…

Additional reporting by Mike DeSimone, Jeff Jenssen, Viju Mathew and Paige Reddinger


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Timeless Glamour & Music Aboard The Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Lose yourself in a luxury journey, aboard an Art Deco train from Paris

By Belinda Aucott 03/11/2023

Watching the unseen corners of Europe unfold gently outside your train, window can be thirsty work, right? That’s why Belmond Hotels is once again staging a culinary train journey from Paris to Venice, aboard the glittering Art Deco carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient Express.

To celebrate diversity and inclusion in the LBTQ+ community, another unforgettable train ride is slated for 2 November.

On the journey, ample servings of decadent cuisine will be served and live entertainment will play looooong into the night. Trans-DJ Honey Dijon and Dresden’s Purple Disco Machine are both part of the disco-house line-up.

Passengers are encouraged to dress in black-tie or cocktail attire, before they head to the bar and dining carriages to enjoy their night, where they are promised ‘unapologetic extravagance’,.

Negronis, martinis, spritzes and sours will all be on offer as the sunlight fades.

So-hot-right-now French chef Jean Imbert is also in the kitchen rattling the pans for guests.

Imber puts a garden-green-goodness twist on Gallic traditions. He regularly cooks for the who’s-who. Imbert recently co-created a food concept for Dior in Paris, worked with Pharrell Williams to present a dinner in Miami, and he’s even been invited to Cheval Blanc St-Barth to cater luxe LVMH-owned property.

The young chef is vowing to create no less than ‘culinary perfection’ in motion with his own passion for fresh seasonal produce. There’ll be plenty of Beluga caviar, seared scallops, and lobster vol-au-vents.

“I want to create beautiful moments which complement the train, which is the true star,” says Imbert of his hands-on approach to delectable pastries and twists on elegant Euro classics.

“Its unique legacy is something we take pride in respecting, while evolving a new sense of style and purpose that will captivate a new generation.”

Check the timetable for the itinerary of lush inclusions here.

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Gentlemanly Restraint 

Art and science collide in the the newly released BR03A watch collection by Bell & Ross.

By Belinda Aucott 02/11/2023

In keeping with the brand’s design salute to aviation and military equipment, the pared-back face of the Bell & Ross BR03 Automatic takes its cue from the instrumentation in cockpits. It’s unabashedly minimal and confidently masculine style is set to make it a future classic.

Faithful to the codes that underpin the brand’s identity, the new utilitarian offerings sit within a smaller 41-mm case (a slight departure from the original at 42 mm Diver, Chrono or GMT.) and has a reduced lug width and slimmer hands. The changes extend to the watch movement, which has been updated with a BR-CAL.302 calibre. The watch is waterproof to 300 metres and offers a power reserve of 54 hours.

While the new collection offers an elegant sufficiency of colourways, from a stealthy black to more decorative bronze face with a tan strap, each is a faithful rendition of the stylish “rounded square, four-screw” motif that is Bell & Ross’s calling card.



For extra slickness, the all-black Phantom and Nightlum models have a stealthy, secret-agent appeal, offering up a new take on masculine restraint.

Yet even the more decorative styles, like the black face with contrasting army-green band, feel eminently versatile and easy to wear. The 60’s simplicity and legibility of the face is what makes it so distinctive and functional.

For example, the BR 03-92 Nightlum, with its black matte case and dial, and bright green indices and hands, offers a great contrast during the day and emits useful luminosity at night.

A watch that begs to be read, the the BR03-A stands up to scrutiny, and looks just as good next to a crisp, white cuff as it does at the end of a matte, black wetsuit.

That’s a claim not many watch collections can make. 

Explore the collection.

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First Drive: The Porsche 911 S/T Is a Feral Beast That Handles the Road Like an Olympic Bobsledder

The commemorative model borrows underpinnings from the GT3 RS and includes a 518 hp engine.

By Basem Wasef 23/10/2023

The soul of any sports car comes down to the alchemy of its tuning—how the engine, suspension, and chassis blend into a chorus of sensations. The secret sauce of the new Porsche 911 S/T, developed as a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the brand’s flagship model, is more potent than most; in fact, it makes a serious case for being the most driver-focused 911 of all time.

Sharing the S/T designation with the homologation special from the 1960s, the (mostly) innocuously styled commemorative model borrows underpinnings from the more visually extroverted GT3 RS. Yet what the S/T, starting at $290,000, lacks in fender cutouts and massive spoilers it makes up for in directness: a flat-six power plant that revs to 9,000 rpm, a motorsport-derived double-wishbone suspension, and a manual gearbox. It’s a delightfully feral combination.

Rossen Gargolov

Whereas the automatic-transmission GT3 RS is ruthlessly configured for maximum downforce and minimum lap times, the S/T is dialed in for the road—particularly the Southern Italian ones on which we’re testing the car, which happen to be the very same used by product manager Uwe Braun, Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche’s GT line, and racing legend Walter Röhrl to finalize its calibration. The car reacts to throttle pressure with eerie deftness, spinning its 518 hp engine with thrilling immediacy, thanks to shorter gear ratios.

The steering response is similarly transparent, as direct as an unfiltered Marlboro, and the body follows with the agility of an Olympic bobsledder. Some of that purity of feeling is the result of addition through subtraction: Power-sapping elements including a hydraulic clutch and rear-axle steering were ditched, which also enabled the battery to be downsized for even more weight savings. The final result, with its carbon-fiber body panels, thinner glass, magnesium wheels, and reduced sound deadening, is the lightest 992-series variant on record, with roughly the same mass as the esteemed 911 R from 2016.

Driver engagement is further bolstered by the astounding crispness of the short-throw gearbox. The S/T fits hand in glove with narrow twisties and epic sweepers, or really any stretch that rewards mechanical grip and the ability to juke through hairpin corners. The cabin experience is slightly less raucous than the 911 R, but more raw than the wingless 911 GT3 Touring, with an intrusive clatter at idle due to the single-mass flywheel and featherlight clutch. Porsche cognoscenti will no doubt view the disturbance in the same way that hardcore Ducatisti revere the tambourine-like rattle of a traditional dry clutch: as an analog badge of honor.

The main bragging right, though, may just be owning one. In a nod to the year the 911 debuted, only 1,963 examples of the S/T will be built. Considering the seven-year-old 911 R started life at$295,000 and has since fetched upwards of $790,000, this new lightweight could bring proportionately heavy returns—if you can be pried from behind the wheel long enough to sell it, that is.

Images by Rossen Gargolov

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From Electric Surfboards to Biodegradable Golf Balls: 8 Eco-Conscious Yacht Toys for Green and Clean Fun

Just add water and forget the eco-guilt.

By Gemma Harris 18/10/2023

Without toys, yachts would be kind of sedentary. There’s nothing wrong with an alfresco meal, sunsets on the flybridge and daily massages. But toys add zest to life on board, while creating a deeper connection with the water. These days, there are a growing number of options for eco-friendly gadgets and equipment that deliver a greener way to play. These eight toys range from do-it-yourself-propulsion (waterborne fitness bikes) to electric foiling boards, from kayaks made of 100 percent recycled plastics to non-toxic, biodegradable golf balls with fish food inside. Your on-water adrenaline rushes don’t always have to be about noise and gas fumes. They can be fun, silent, and eco-conscious.

A game of golf isn’t just for land. Guests can play their best handicap from the deck with Albus Golf’s eco-friendly golf balls. The ecological and biodegradable golf balls are 100 percent safe for marine flora and fauna, and manufactured with non-contaminating materials. The balls will biodegrade within 48 hours after hitting the ocean and release the fish food contained in their core. For a complete golfing experience, add a floating FunAir green. From $3100 (FunAir Yacht Golf) and $315 a box (golf balls).

Fliteboard Series 2.0

The future of surf is electric, and Fliteboard offers an emissions-free and environmentally friendly electric hydrofoil. Flying over the water has never been as efficient and low impact, using new technologies with less than 750 watts of electric power. This second series boasts various performance factors for all riding styles. It also features an increased trigger range from 20 to 40 degrees for more precision and control. Fliteboard designed this series for every possible foiling ability, from newbies to wave-carvers. From $22,000.

Manta 5 Hydrofoiler XE-1

Hailing from New Zealand and using America’s Cup technology, Manta 5 offers the first hydrofoil bike. The Hydrofoiler XE-1 replicates the cycling experience on the water. Powered by fitness-level pedaling and assisted by the onboard battery, top speeds can reach up to 19 km per hour. The two hydrofoils are carbon fibre, and the frame is aircraft-grade aluminium. The onboard Garmin computer will relay all the stats. The effortless gliding sensation will accompany you through a workout, exploration or just circling the boat. From $950.

Mo-Jet’s Jet Board

Imagine five toys in one: The Mo Jet delivers just that. From jet surfing, bodyboarding, and e-foiling to scooter diving. This versatile, German-built toy is perfect for those who cannot decide. The Mo-jet uses a cool modular system allowing you to switch between activities. Whether you want to stand, be dragged around or dive, you can have it all. It even has a life-saving module and a 2.8m rescue electric surfboard. Made from environmentally friendly and recyclable polyethene, it also ticks the eco-conscious boxes. Complete with an 11kW electric water jet, it charges in 75 mins, offering up to 30 mins of fun. Adrenaline junkies will also not be disappointed, since speed surges from 0 to 27 knots in 3 seconds. From $18,000.

Silent Yachts Tender ST400

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Osiris Outdoor ‘Reprisal’ Kayak

Kayaks are ideal for preserving and protecting nature, but they’re usually manufactured with materials that will last decades longer than we will and therefore not too eco-friendly. Founded by US outdoor enthusiasts, Osiris Outdoor has created a new type of personal boat. “The Reprisal” kayak is manufactured in the US entirely from recycled plastics (around 27 kgs) that are purchased from recycling facilities. The sustainable manufacturing process isn’t its only selling point; the lightweight Reprisals have spacious storage compartments, rod holders and a watertight hatch for gadgets. Complete with a matte-black finish for a stylish look. From $1100.

The Fanatic Ray Eco SUP Paddleboard

Declared as the most sustainable SUP, the Ray Eco is the brainchild of the Zero Emissions Project and BoardLab, supported by Fanatic. Glass and carbon fibre have been replaced with sustainable Kiri tree wood. And you can forget toxic varnishes and resins; organic linseed oil has been used to seal the board and maintain its durability. This fast, light, and stable board is truly one of a kind, not available off the rack. This craftsman’s love for detail and preservation is another first-class quality of the board. From $10,000

Northern Light Composite X Clean Sailors EcoOptimist

One of the most popular, single-handed dinghies in sailing’s history, the tiny Optimist has undergone a sustainable revival. Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors have teamed up to launch the first sustainable and recyclable Optimist. Using natural fibres and eco-sustainable resins, The EcoOptimist supports a new circular economy in yachting. OneSail also produces the sail with a low-carbon-footprint manufacturing process. From $6000.

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The 50 Best Cocktail Bars in the World, According to a New Ranking

The World’s 50 Best organisation gave the Spanish bar Sips top honours during an awards ceremony in Singapore.

By Tori Latham 18/10/2023

If you’re looking for the best bar in the world, you better head to Barcelona.
Sips, from the industry luminaries Simone Caporale and Marc Álvarez, was named the No. 1 bar on the planet in the latest World’s 50 Best Bars ranking. The organisation held its annual awards ceremony on Tuesday in Singapore, the first time it hosted the gathering in Asia. Sips, which only opened two years ago, moved up to the top spot from No. 3 last year.
“Sips was destined for greatness even before it rocketed into the list at No. 37 just a few short months after opening in 2021,” William Drew, the director of content for 50 Best, said in a statement.
“The bar seamlessly translates contemporary innovation and technical precision into a playful cocktail programme, accompanied by the warmest hospitality, making it a worthy winner of The World’s Best Bar 2023 title.”
Coming in second was North America’s best bar: New York City’s Double Chicken Please. The top five was rounded out by Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy, Barcelona’s Paradiso (last year’s No. 1), and London’s Connaught Bar. The highest new entry was Seoul’s Zest at No. 18, while the highest climber was Oslo’s Himkok, which moved up to No. 10 from No. 43 last year.
Barcelona may be home to two of the top five bars, but London has cemented its status as the cocktail capital of the world: The English city had five bars make the list, more than any other town represented. Along with Connaught Bar in the top five, Tayēr + Elementary came in at No. 8, and Satan’s Whiskers (No. 28), A Bar With Shapes for a Name (No. 35), and Scarfes Bar (No. 41) all made the grade too.
The United States similarly had a good showing this year. New York City, in particular, is home to a number of the best bars: Overstory (No. 17) and Katana Kitten (No. 27) joined Double Chicken Please on the list.
Elsewhere, Miami’s Café La Trova hit No. 24 and New Orleans’s Jewel of the South snuck in at No. 49, bringing the Big Easy back to the ranking for the first time since 2014.
To celebrate their accomplishments, all of this year’s winners deserve a drink—made by somebody else at least just this once.
Check out the full list of the 50 best bars in the world below.
1. Sips, Barcelona
2. Double Chicken Please, New York
3. Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City
4. Paradiso, Barcelona
5. Connaught Bar, London
6. Little Red Door, Paris
7. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
8. Tayēr + Elementary, London
9. Alquímico, Cartagena
10. Himkok, Oslo
11. Tres Monos, Buenos Aires
12. Line, Athens
13. BKK Social Club, Bangkok
14. Jigger & Pony, Singapore
15. Maybe Sammy, Sydney
16. Salmon Guru, Madrid
17. Overstory, New York
18. Zest, Seoul
19. Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, Bangkok
20. Coa, Hong Kong
21. Drink Kong, Rome
22. Hanky Panky, Mexico City
23. Caretaker’s Cottage, Melbourne
24. Café La Trova, Miami
25. Baba au Rum, Athens
26. CoChinChina, Buenos Aires
27. Katana Kitten, New York
28. Satan’s Whiskers, London
29. Wax On, Berlin
30. Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires
31. Röda Huset, Stockholm
32. Sago House, Singapore
33. Freni e Frizioni, Rome
34. Argo, Hong Kong
35. A Bar With Shapes for a Name, London
36. The SG Club, Tokyo
37. Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo
38. The Cambridge Public House, Paris
39. Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
40. Mimi Kakushi, Dubai
41. Scarfes Bar, London
42. 1930, Milan
43. Carnaval, Lima
44. L’Antiquario, Naples
45. Baltra Bar, Mexico City
46. Locale Firenze, Florence
47. The Clumsies, Athens
48. Atlas, Singapore
49. Jewel of the South, New Orleans
50. Galaxy Bar, Dubai

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