Asia’s 50 Best Bars is an annual list that celebrates the best of the drinks industry in Asia. The list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars provides an annual ranking of bars as voted for by more than 200 drinks experts from across the globe, which also represents the ultimate guide to the Asia’s top bars and drinking destinations.

Three bars managed and even one of them run by the Indian bartenders have been deemed as among Asia’s best in a ranking curated by the region’s top mixology experts and most experienced members of the bar industry.

 

Let’s discover the inspiring stories of these three ‘Indian Startenders’.

 

1. Sandeep Kumar

The Indian bartender is a co-founder of The Wise King, Hong Kong, a highly specialised cocktail bar which embraces the spirit of the 13th century – golden age of culinary and mixology exploration. The Wise King, Hong Kong is a new entrant in the list of Asia’s Best Bars 2019 crowned at the number #18. 

 

Sandeep Kumar has achieved the dream that every bartender wish for in his life – to open his/her own bar. As inspiring for everyone in the indian bar industry, Sandeep Kumar’s recent bar venture in partnership with Joe Villanueva is buzzing all around the world.

Sandeep graduated from St Joseph College, India in 2000 and started his career with the Taj Hotels. He worked as a bartender at Taj Residency in Bangalore for more than 3 years. Soon, he moved to Dubai and gained experience working with Le Meridian Mina Seyahi, Dubai Atlantis and Irterncontiental Doha. His worthy experience and passion got him opportunities to work at Michelin-starred restaurants such as On Dining and Il Milione. He also led the beverage programs for institutes such as China Tang and Howard’s Gourmet. Not 14 years of bar industry experience, Sandeep Kumar is well known as the the two-time winner of the Bacardi Grand Prix National India.

Sandeep Kumar’s strong presence in the industry and hard work is the reason for so much of the fanfare surrounding The Wise King, Hong Kong and its coming under Top 20 in the list of Asia’s Best Bars 2019.

 

2. Devender Kumar Sehgal

The Indian bartender heads 8½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana’s upscale bar since 2013, that has been a constant bar in the the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars and this year bags the 38th number on the list.

Devender Kumar Sehgal originally from New Delhi is a shinning star in the barworld. Mentor of many renowned mixologists and a popular example for the upcoming bartenders, Devender Kumar Sehgal has worked with the Taj Hotels, professional Bar Schools and leaded overseas projects in Singapore and Sri Lanka. He was awarded India’s World Class Bartender of the year 2012 and was amongst the top 40 bartenders who participated in the global World Class finals in Rio Brazil.

He was also the Bacardi Martini Grand Prix India Flair champion in 2009 and was ranked 5th globally in the world finals in Turin, Italy. In 2015, he also won Barcardi Legacy with his signature cocktail, ‘The Optimist’.

Devender Kumar Sehgal is India’s most well known bartenders and is recognised world wide as one of the key people who has been pushing the boundaries of India’s burgeoning cocktail revolution.

Undoubtedly, there are many in the indian bar industry who look upto him for inspiration and guidance.

 3. Ashish Kumar

The Indian bartender is the Head Bartender and Beverage Manager of all the six restaurants and lounges of the Four Seasons, Kuala Lumpur. One of the most recent bar in his hotel, BAR TRIGONA has been a new entrant in the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars ruling on the 40th number and also won the ‘Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2019’. 

Ashish Kumar graduated from the Institute of Hotel Management & Catering, Indira Gandhi National Open University in 2007 and started his career as a Banquet Server during the pre-opening of Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai.  It was in this role that he developed a passion for food and beverage, specifically in the area of classic cocktails. Soon, he moved to the Four Seasons Resort, Landaa Giravaru in the Maldives but the turning point in his life came when he joined the Regent Singapore. It was 2011 that he was appointed as the Restaurant & Bar Supervisor in the Basilico Restaurant & then in 2014, he joined the Manhattan Bar, Singapore as an Assistant Head Bartender(which topped the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars for 2 years in a row & stands like a legend at number #2 this year).

Soon, he switched back to Four Seasons Mumbai & his 10 years of experience made India proud. The most popular rooftop bar of the Four Seasons, Mumbai – AER, was ranked as number #37 in the ‘Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017’ for its upgraded cocktails and house-made specialties.

Ashish being one of the most successful bartenders holds an inspiration for the upcoming indian bartenders in the barworld.

 

The Indian bar industry is yet to grow and posits many challenges even in respect to the serves and bartenders. We are still in the phase of accepting that working in the bar and beverage industry is a profession. But look at these star bartenders making us proud! 
Also, it is disappointing that none of the Indian bars is in the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 but lets hope for the best and till then celebrate the success of our Indian ‘startenders’!