Goa’s Bar Tesouro, emerged as India’s Best Bar for 2021 in the annual 30BestBarsIndia ranking which was revealed at a glittering awards ceremony at Gurgaon’s Le Méridien earlier this week. Tesouro’s history-making debut at the top of the list pushed New Delhi’s favourite bar Sidecar to second position. Sidecar had topped the inaugural 30BestBarsIndia 2019 ranking and had gone on to be declared the 16th best bar in Asia and the 47th ranked bar in the world. Another big upset of the evening was when Copitas, the bar at Four Seasons, Bangalore, unseated The Bombay Canteen to claim the 3rd rank. The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai (4), Lair, New Delhi (5), Hoots’, New Delhi (6), Comorin, Gurgaon (7), PCO, New Delhi (8), AER – Four Seasons, Mumbai (9), and Raahi – Neo Kitchen & Bar, Bangalore, (10) roundup Top 10 list. 

Lair

The 30BestBarsIndia rankings, which is organised by MW magazine jointly with Tulleeho, the country’s leading bar training company, are based on a nationwide poll involving more than 200 jury members consisting of bar enthusiasts, beverage industry professionals, and liquor connoisseurs. The three-month polling exercise started with a long list of more than 500 bars spread across 15 cities. The ranking of the Best Bar Team and the Best Bartenders was based on a poll of a technical jury of 20 industry veterans. 

Tesouro (which means treasure or treasury in Portuguese), is a rambunctious bar in the otherwise serene Colva beach in South Goa. Over the last two years, it has gone on to become one of the most talked about drinking holes in the country, much loved for its cocktails including the famous Midnight Brekkie (made using gin, vermouth, watermelon, peanut butter, and strawberry compote). The bar was founded by Donovan Vaz, scion of a Goa liquor distribution family, who quit his racing car career to become a restaurateur, along with mixologist Arijit Bose. 

The Bombay Canteen

Besides its coveted top rank, Tesouro won big in other awards categories, including honours for the Best Independent Bar, Best Designed Bar, Best Bar Team, and the Best Cocktail Menu. Copitas, Four Seasons Hotel (Bangalore) won the Best Hotel Bar Award, and Byg Brewski Brewing Company (Hennur, Bangalore) won the Best Microbrewery/Taproom Award. Navjot Singh from Lair (New Delhi) was honoured with the Best Bartender Award, while Comorin (Gurgaon) took home the honour for the Best Restaurant Bar. 

Copitas

Elephant and Co (Pune) and Bira 91 Limited Release Taproom (Bangalore), won the People’s Choice Best Bar Award and Best Microbrewery/Taproom Award, respectively, emerging as the two public favourites. Additionally, The Writer’s Bar, Welcomhotel By ITC Hotels, The Savoy (Mussoorie) won the Best Vintage Bar Award, while the famed Delhi bartender Yangdup Lama was honoured with the Industry Legend Award. The award for the Best Pandemic Response by a bar, specially introduced this year, was won by  the Olive Group.

Bar Tesouro’s ascension is part of the surging popularity of Goan bars over the last few years. As many as four others including Escobar, Miguel’s, Gunpowder, and For The Record Vinyl Bar made into the Top 30 bars list for 2021. Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore each have six bars each in the list. Kolkata has four, Gurgaon three, and Pune and Hyderabad have one bar each.