Cambodia named in regional Top30 Bar Awards for the first time

In 2023, Cambodia played host to a groundbreaking event, the Top30 Bar Awards, originating from Malaysia. This marked the first time the prestigious awards ceremony ventured beyond Malaysian borders, shining a spotlight on Cambodia’s vibrant bar scene and its talented mixologists, all poised for recognition on both local and global stages.

Heineken Cambodia took the reins as the presenter of Cambodia’s Top30 Bar Awards, which was an extension of the acclaimed Malaysian event. Launched in 2022, the Top30 Bar Awards sought to honor outstanding bars and bartenders while elevating the standards of Cambodia’s burgeoning food and beverage industry.

For Cambodia’s bars and bartenders, this event represented an unparalleled opportunity to garner well-deserved acclaim and establish a presence in international markets.

Alvin Sinclair, the visionary behind the Top30 awards program, expressed his excitement about Cambodia’s potential: “Cambodia is a beautiful country with hospitable people and an array of exceptional bars and talented bartenders, albeit somewhat underrated. The Cambodia’s Top30 Bar Awards will serve as a platform to celebrate the nation’s top alcoholic beverages, including beer and cocktails, giving them the recognition they truly deserve.”

The winners of Cambodia’s Top30 Bar Awards presented by Heineken Cambodia were set to enjoy a host of benefits, including ongoing promotional campaigns to amplify their reach and impact. The journey to the awards night began with the nomination of 150 bars across Cambodia’s urban centers, narrowing down to a final selection of 100 establishments.

An esteemed panel of industry experts then meticulously evaluated the shortlisted bars, ultimately selecting the top 30 finalists. These deserving establishments would be feted at a gala awards ceremony held at the Sofitel Hotel Phnom Penh in March 2023, attended by a diverse audience comprising bar owners, bartenders, influencers, and media representatives.

Alvin emphasized that the Top30 Bar Awards was not about rankings but rather an acknowledgment of each bar’s unique contributions to Cambodia’s culinary landscape. He underscored the program’s commitment to celebrating excellence without hierarchical distinctions.

Moreover, the event wasn’t just about revelry; it also carried a meaningful philanthropic dimension. Proceeds from the Cambodia Top30 Bar Awards would be directed toward supporting the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF), a Cambodian charity dedicated to transforming lives through education, sports, and community development initiatives.

None of this would have been possible without the invaluable support of Heineken Cambodia, alongside exclusive spirit partners such as Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s, as well as other collaborators like Seekers Gin and Giffard.

As an annual affair, the Top30 Bar Awards would continue its journey to other destinations beyond Cambodia, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, and Korea, underscoring its commitment to recognizing excellence across the region’s burgeoning bar scene.

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.