Satan’s Whiskers took the title of Best Bar in the UK sponsored by The Lost Explorer at the CLASS Bar Awards 2024, which took place last night at Battersea Arts Centre in London.

The Bethnal Green bar, which also won Best Bar in London & the South East sponsored by Espolon, fought off competition for the night's big award from five other regional finalists. 

Representatives from the UK’s leading bars attended the Awards last night, among a crowd of 600 industry well-wishers.

Judged by the CLASS Collective (a group of 140 bar aficionados from across the UK), the CLASS Bar Awards recognises the talents and achievements of the UK bar scene.

Another big winner on the night was Eve Green and Matt Arnold’s Passing Fancies in Birmingham, taking the votes to win the regional award Best Bar in the Midlands & East Anglia sponsored by Doghouse Distillery and the award for Cocktail of the Year sponsored by Renais Spirits for its Adult Ribena cocktail. The mixed drink is a very loose spin on a Sidecar, with sour honey, blueberry, cognac and kumquat and tastes, according to the bar, a bit like Ribena.

It’s no coincidence that its creator Matt Arnold, who also won World Class GB last year, was also considered by the CLASS Collective as the Bartender of the Year sponsored by Savoia Americano.

In the Best Bar in Scotland & NI category sponsored by Disaronno Velvet, Panda & Sons from Edinburgh starred, with voters impressed not only by the bar’s warm hospitality and vintage vibes but its 2023-launched menu Transcend, which last year unveiled new sub-zero cocktail-making techniques, earning it Drinks Menu of the Year sponsored by Franklin & Sons.

Owner Iain McPherson, whose Switching and Sous Pression processes are now famous among the global bartender community, earlier this month co-founded the Edinburgh Bar Show. All this - and more - made him a successive winner of the Bar Innovator of the Year sponsored by Hoxton Spirits.

New Bar of the Year sponsored by Wild Turkey went to the second coming of Erik Lorincz’s “five-star tropical bar” concept, Kwãnt. The team is new, the cocktails too – Kwãnt’s list was a finalist for Drinks Menu of the Year – and its bar food was also a winner on the night.

The work of fine-dining chef Joni Ketonen, the Beef Tartare Croustade and Cheddar with brown cheese, carrot, sea buckthorn are the must-orders from Kwãnt’s small plates list – the winner of Bar Food Menu of the Year sponsored by Altamura Vodka.

Elsewhere in London, Connaught Bar made it three wins in a row in the Hotel Bar of the Year category sponsored by Everleaf Drinks. Famed for its gleaming art-deco décor, Connaught Bar’s cocktails artfully bridge classicism with modernism, while its hospitality is elevated to an artform.

Also in the West End, Sophie Bratt won one of the big individual awards for the evening: Bar Manager of the Year. Having been a finalist in the category while at Sexy Fish, the now Nobu Bar manager, impressed the judging panel with her leadership skills and ability to breath new life into a venue.

At nearby Vesper Bar, Giacomo Faure took the title of Front of House Star sponsored by FIOL Prosecco, for his impeccable service standards and floorcraft at The Dorchester’s flagship bar.

Across the city the east London-based group SoCap, which runs bars such as Hackney’s Nebula and Shoreditch-bound Soda & Friends, took the award of Bar Employer of the Year sponsored by Cotswold Distillery for its unique approach to workplace culture, which has included appointing a head of people.

Schofield’s Bar in Manchester was the choice of the CLASS Collective, for the Best Bar in the North sponsored by The Busker. Joe and Daniel Schofield’s bar has period, classy looks – with dark woods and touches of green - and a focus on five-star service making it a favourite across the UK. 

The brothers’ hotel bar Sterling at the Stock Exchange Hotel meanwhile also had success with its prodigious head bartender Yadney Fernandes taking home the award for Emerging Bartender of the Year sponsored by La Hechicera, an award he shared with another promising talent, Anna King from The Guards Bar & Lounge at Raffles Hotel at The OWO, London.

Meanwhile the Best Bar in Wales sponsored by Madri went to Lab 22 in Cardiff. Tani Hasa’s craft cocktail bar above a kebab shop, has cemented its place as Wales’ leading bar in recent years, its success owing to warm hospitality, ambitious menus and knock-out drinks.

Across the River Severn, Ben Alcock’s Filthy XIII in Bristol took the award for Best Bar in the West sponsored by Master of Malt Trade. This everyman-bar combines serious drinks making with unserious vibes.

The Sustainable Practices Award sponsored by Avallen Calvados this year went to Brighton bar Gungho!, which employs ecological mindfulness to everything it does, from seasonal drinks with foraged plants, to low impact ingredients that are used over and over again – Gungho! produces just one caddy bag of waste a week.

Meanwhile the Social Media Presence of the Year award sponsored by Disaronno went to Manolo, which has made a big impact in its first year of business. Manolo’s social media has been a big reason why, establishing it as the quintessential classic cocktail bar in Liverpool, through authentic drinks-led content.

The ceremony climaxed with the Outstanding Contribution Award sponsored by Funkin, which went to Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne, two industry figures who have lit up the UK bar scene over the best part of two decades. Between them they have worked across the likes of Milk & Honey, The CLASS Bar Awards, DrinkUp London, London Cocktail Week and the all-new Pinnacle Guide.

Hamish Smith editor of CLASS and co-host of the CLASS Bar Awards, said: “This year felt like a return to form for London, which seems to be in a flourish of regeneration – it took some of the big awards of the night, not least Bar of the Year, New Bar of the Year, Bar Manager of the Year and Outstanding Contribution.

“Yet, talent continues to shine across the country, with bars and bartenders from Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool and Edinburgh taking home awards.

“And while we have had 21 winners take to stage at the CLASS Bar Awards this year, all of our 82 finalists have reason to celebrate. Each and every one of them are driving the UK bar industry forwards.”