#746

# ASIA'S 50 BEST BARS 2024: DO THE MATH

17 Jul 2024 By David Fuhrmann-Lim

# The Math For The Voting of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Does Not Add Up In Any Logical Universe. Here’s Why.

So, Bar Leone has just jumped straight into #1 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024. (Debuting at #1, y’all, over every established bar in Asia.) Congrats to them. No surprises there, Hong Kong has a habit of heaving up new bars that are launched right up the charts; remember Coa in 2019? Straight in at #12*.

I’m not disputing Bar Leone’s quality, I’ve not heard of the bar and neither have some of the voting members I’ve spoken to, so more power to them. I’m not jingoistic and couldn’t care less which country has the number one bar. I’ve been championing quality bars in Asia for over a decade through my wallet, website, and word of mouth — nothing about A50BB surprises me anymore.

But I am having a problem with the math for the voting, and would like to explore the numbers:

There are 265 voting members; this fact is confirmed on the A50BB website.

Each member has a maximum of 7 votes; this fact is confirmed on the A50BB website. (They can vote for 5 bars in their home county, and up to 2 overseas bars they have been to.)

So, 265 x 7 = 1,855 total votes.

That’s 1,855 votes across *all the bars* in Asia. (We will keep returning to this number: 1,855.)

If there were only 100 bars in total in Asia (readers, there are not), you could easily average them and say that bar #1 needs only 20 votes to win if everyone else gets 18 votes. I’m not doing the math justice by working this way, so let’s reverse-engineer this. Stay with me.

__Pyramid Scheme__

If the bar at #100 gets 1 vote (I mean, c’mon, the bar at #100 must get *at least* 1 vote, right?), then it follows the bar at #99 must get at least 2 votes. Logically, the bar at #98 must have at least 3 votes. *At least.* You follow me, right? (Assuming no ties at this point, the scenario comes later.)

Work your way to bar #51 (by adding 1 + 2 + 3 + 4…+ 50), and 1,335 votes would have been cast. #BecauseMath

Remember, there are only a total of 1,855 votes. (Assuming there are no ties.)

Bar #50 gets 51 votes

Bar #49 gets 52 votes

Bar #48 gets 53 votes

Bar #47 gets 54 votes

Bar #46 gets 55 votes

Bar #45 gets 56 votes

Bar #44 gets 57 votes

Bar #43 gets 58 votes

Bar #42 gets 59 votes

After bar #42 has collected its 59 votes, the tally is 1,830 votes cast.

Remember 1,855?

1,855 – 1,830 = 25 votes left.

That’s 25 votes left for *all the bars* from #1 to #41!

How does this compute?!!

That’s less than a single vote (1 each) for ALL THE REMAINING 41 bars!

How does that work?!! My brain hurts.

__Tie Tie Tie__

Here is another far-fetched option:

Bars #100 to #46 (that’s 55 bars) all get 1 vote each and are all TIED.

[There’s a complicated method of breaking this tie that I’m not privy to; I’m not part of the inner circle. For the sake of argument, let’s say it happened.]

That’d leave 1,800 votes for the top 45 bars. To win:

Bar #1 would get 80 votes.

Bar #2 would get 79 votes.

Bar #3 would get 78 votes.

So on, Bar #45 would receive 2 votes to beat out all 55 bars tied with 1 vote apiece (yeah!).

Fifty five bars tied with one vote each — is this even possible?!

This calculation is all predicated on there being only 100 bars in Asia (readers, there are more); otherwise, those precious 1,855 votes get spread out even more. Remember, we’re assuming all 265 voting members vote for their maximum of 7.

**But Wait, There’s More**

We can also start from the top, to take this scenario even further:

#1 Bar receives 1,756 votes to become the clear, undisputed winner. The remaining 99 votes (1,855 – 1,756 = 99) give the 99 bars a 99-way tie.

Not impossible, dear readers…mathematically.

Which brings us to the tie-break: how do you sort it? How do you decide one bar is better than another if they both received the same number of votes? Is it public relations, connections, sponsor demands that make a difference? I don’t know, but like you, I’d *love* to know how tie breaks are decided (please don’t say coin toss).

You can devise various permutations, but the essence is that 1,855 votes are just not enough to determine the placement of 100 bars. (You need 4,950 votes for each bar to get a unique number.)

**IT. DOES. NOT. COMPUTE.**

At the point of posting, the PR company was still trying to collate some answer for me (bless ’em). One voting member did not respond to how votes were meted out (whether it was one-bar one-vote, or whether they were ranked according to their preferences: 7 points for favourite bar, 6 points for second-favourite bar, and so on).

One other voting member did let on that maybe, just maybe, there was a higher power committee, inner circle, cocktail cabal, that sat around to decide these things: “So I know for a fact votes only count for small percentage of scores. So whoever those bigwigs are – sitting on panel committee whatever – their votes carry a lot more weight.”

So. If there’s a committee in place to decide matters, placings, positions, then why go through the farcical charade of having 265 “bar industry experts” who are “trusted and well-travelled experts” vote, when in the end, the inner circle will decide?

Do the votes matter at all?

Surely, I’m missing something here, dear readers. If my math isn’t clear or is clearly erroneous, then I’d love to be corrected. Like all of you barflies, we are all looking for that moment of clarity.

And clarity equals credibility.

In the meanwhile, cheers and congrats to all the winners! (Yes, even Bar Leone. I hope to visit one day.)

*I reported it at #3 previously, but it debuted at #12 in 2019. In 2020 it went to #3.

*©Illustration by Noun Project*

## You might be interested in...

## PART 2: THE MATH FOR ASIA'S 50 BEST BARS 2024

The People From 50 Best Responded to My Previous Post About The Math For The Voting. I Asked For Clarification on Tie-Breaks, Distribution of Voters and Weightage. They Responded…Somewhat. This is What Transpired.

## PART 2: THE MATH FOR ASIA'S 50 BEST BARS 2024