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Cardiff’s Lab 22 is voted number one cocktail bar in the UK

Tucked away above a well-known bakery, the experimental Lab 22 has jumped up 32 places in two years with its daring drinks menu from award-winning head bartender Max Hayward.

By LLM Reporters  |  February 2, 2022
Lab 22 bar cardiff

Cardiff-based Lab 22, known for inventive cocktails, has been voted number one in this year’s coveted Top 50 Cocktail Bars list. Tucked away above a well-known bakery, the experimental Lab 22 (pictured above) has jumped up 32 places in two years with its daring drinks menu from award-winning head bartender Max Hayward.

Also situated in the Welsh capital is Pennyroyal, a new entry at number 36, known for its friendly neighbourhood vibe and bold, eccentric cocktails.

Alongside the Welsh entries, a further ten are in the north of England, three in the west, two in the Midlands, three in the south and five in Scotland – leaving London to dominate half of the list.

Lab 22 cocktail
Cardiff-based Lab 22 is known for super inventive cocktails

Number two in this year’s top 50 is Swift Soho, a much-loved regular on the list and in third place is The Connaught Bar, also voted as the 2021 ‘Best Bar in the World’ in The World’s 50 Best Bars.

This year’s highest new entrant is Tayēr + Elementary at number four on the list. Based in East London, it is the crowning work of bartending royalty Alex Kratena and Monica Berg. A venue of two parts, Elementary is an industrially styled casual all-day spot where cocktails are prepared in seconds, thanks to a draught system, served without garnish or affectation in identical squat glasses, allowing the liquid to do the talking. Through the partition at Tayēr, the drinks are equally impressive, with a daily carousel of new seasonal recipes being made in an open kitchen-like theatre.

This year’s special awards were presented to Bar Ikigai in Birmingham for Newcomer of the Year, Little Mercies in London for the Sustainability Award, Three Little Words in Manchester for Bar Team of the Year and Déjà vu in Hereford as the One to Watch.

Swift Soho in London
Number two in this year’s Top 50 is Swift Soho in London

Top 50 Cocktail Bars publisher Christopher Lowe said: “London has always been seen as a global leader for cocktails but as you’ll see from the 2022 list, other major cities across the UK are now catching up. Our newly launched website will help cocktail connoisseurs discover the best of the UK bar scene with many of these very much still under the radar.”

This year’s winners were announced during the list reveal on Tuesday 1st February at One Night Records, in London, hosted by Aidy Smith, who said: “I am absolutely honoured to present this year’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars and in doing so, celebrating the beating heart of drinks discovery. Without mixology, the world would never be able to discover drinks in such a unique and beautiful way.

“It’s this passion that sets bars and teams apart with a collective love and thirst for taste exploration. After two harrowing years I can’t wait to get stuck in and honour some truly incredible people making some truly spectacular creations. Let’s do this!”

The Connaught Bar
The Connaught Bar, also voted as the 2021 ‘Best Bar in the World’ in The World’s 50 Best Bars, took third spot this year

The Top 50 Cocktail Bars 2022 list is as follows:

  1. Lab 22, Cardiff
  2. Swift Soho, London
  3. The Connaught Bar, London
  4. Tayēr + Elementary, London
  5. Satan’s Whiskers, London
  6. Bramble Bar & Lounge, Edinburgh
  7. Three Sheets, London
  8. Oriole, London
  9. Panda and Sons, Edinburgh
  10. Speak in Code, Manchester
  11. 🔶🟥🔵, London
  12. Disrepute, London
  13. Nightjar, London
  14. Homeboy Bar, London
  15. American Bar, London
  16. SCHOFIELD’S BAR, Manchester
  17. Opium Cocktails & Dim Sum Parlour, London
  18. Coupette, London
  19. Artesian, London
  20. Scarfes Bar, London
  21. Trailer Happiness, London
  22. Lucky Liquor co., Edinburgh
  23. Happiness Forgets, London
  24. Jake’s Bar & Still Room, Leeds
  25. Little Mercies, London
  26. The Absent Ear, Glasgow
  27. The Milk Thistle, Bristol
  28. Berry & Rye, Liverpool
  29. Laki Kane, London
  30. Filthy XIII, Bristol
  31. Lyaness, London
  32. Roland’s Leeds, Leeds
  33. Gungho!, Brighton
  34. Hacha, London
  35. The Hideout, Bath
  36. Pennyroyal, Cardiff
  37. Couch, Birmingham
  38. Bar Termini, London
  39. Below Stairs, Leeds
  40. Hey Palu, Edinburgh
  41. Public, Sheffield
  42. Hedonist, Leeds
  43. Present Company, Liverpool
  44. The Pineapple Club, Birmingham
  45. Publiq., London
  46. Ojo Rojo, Bournemouth
  47. L’ Atelier du Vin, Brighton
  48. Callooh Callay, London
  49. Mother Mercy, Newcastle upon Tyne
  50. The Cocktail Trading Co, London