For the latest example of a completely subjective, completely defenseless selection, see this list of 50 best bars. Debatable itself would be a list of the 50 best bars in Baltimore (a 2015 list which was itself subjective, and, since it came from Baltimore magazine catering to a suburban audience, also included a selection of bars in Annapolis to count as best in Baltimore).
This “best of” list, though, attempts to list the top bars in the world.
Even if you look at their full lost of 100 bars, this is an absurd exercise.
Using a rough estimate of a bar for every 1,000 people on the planet, there would be seven million bars to review. Seven million. What could their sampling rate be? How large a staff and how many hours of discussion would it take to discuss even 0.01% of those bars?
So right from the start you know this list is just nonsense. Then consider that of the bars listed, close to a third can be found in just three cities (New York, London, and Singapore). Certainly wealthy metropolitan cities with discerning clientele. But you can see the bias right from those numbers.
Delhi and Mumbai are two of the largest cities in the world. Indians drink plenty of whiskey. There is a growing economy with a emerging young professional class. But not one bar on this list. Preposterous. It cannot be representative in any way.
I found the list because blogger Scott Roeben of Vital Vegas tweeted about it.
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) October 8, 2018
So one Las Vegas bar made the list (Herbs & Rye). I have not been to every bar in Las Vegas. Generously, I have had drinks in maybe 40 or 50 different Las Vegas venues. Herbs & Rye is not one of them.
It looks nice enough. Its reputation is good, and its operator has just opened a steakhouse, Cleaver, that I want to visit on the basis of its pop art alone:
I miss steak. Saving that until I feel comfortable eating out again. In the meantime, here’s some cleaver pic.twitter.com/SWAvwsN7WP
— Marc (@MeltzVegas) April 23, 2020
So we can give Herbs & Rye the benefit of the doubt that it is a worthy candidate.
But is it clearly finer than the rooftop bar at the Waldorf Astoria (formerly the Mandarin Oriental), Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan, Hyde at Bellagio, or any of the other lush watering holes on the Strip? Better than Commonwealth, Downtown Cocktail Room, or any and all of the other innovative craft cocktail bars downtown? More distinct than Frank’s Tiki Room, the Peppermill Fireside Lounge, or any of the other diverse Las Vegas bars?
Of course not. You could make arguments for any of those places. Meaning this list is just plain silly.
But they put it out there anyway, and it worked. I read it. I wrote about it and linked to it. But it is an arbitrary mess and we all know it.