Here’s the 2015 Australian Bar Awards winners

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The Australian bar industry dazzles at the year’s premier awards night!

On a cloudy September day, over 500 bar professionals from around Australia headed down to the picturesque Doltone House at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont for a night of clinking glasses, drinking cocktails and of course, giving out gongs to congratulate the fine efforts of the standouts in the industry. A week of bar industry events culminated in this flagship event that has been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the bar industry and which is now in its 15th year. Voted for by the bar industry, the Australian Bartender Magazine Bar Awards are hotly contested and highly prized.

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After cocktails in the loft bar, with a soundtrack provided by the Brassholes, a six-piece brass ensemble, things kicked off in the dining room, under the expert guidance of returning MC Clarke Gayford. First up, a series of state awards were presented with venues such as Molly in Canberra and IXL Long Bar in Tassie getting a nod for their achievements. In addition, a very happy crew from Pocket Terrigal was awarded the title of Regional Bar of the Year. They just edged out previous winners, Miss Moneypenny’s from Noosa and Heritage Bar from Townsville.

When it came to the national awards, the crew from Swillhouse Group were recognized as the Bar Operators of the Year for their continued stellar effort with bars such as Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice (which also won Specialty Beer Venue), Baxter Inn and Shady Pines. And not to be forgotten, are the boys from Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern in Sydney – all Swillhouse alum – who took out the prize for Bar Team of the Year.

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The team from Lobo Plantation is Sydney’s CBD were there in full force and were ecstatic to take home the prize for Cocktail List of the Year. They were joined in the winner’s circle by another Sydney bar, Bulletin Place, who were recognized as the country’s premier cocktail bar for the third year running, while Czech expat, Petr Dvoracek of The Barber Shop took home title of Bar Manager of the Year. These victories, cement Sydney’s place as the current cocktail capital of Australia.

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But nipping at their heels is some solid competition from Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. Perth bar, Mechanics Institute took home the prize for Small Bar of the Year with uproarious applause from the crowd. One of their fellow west coast dwellers, Andy Freeman, was also given the Outstanding Contribution award for his efforts in the Perth bar scene.

The multi-award winning Black Pearl won Best Bartenders Bar and Rookie of the Year (Will Sleeman) taking their new silverware directly south to Melbourne. Boilermaker House, a newcomer to Melbourne, was also triumphant, winning the New Bar category. For a second year running, Melbourne venue The Emerson took home the late night gong, for Nightclub of the Year.

Sydney dominated the pub awards this year, with Merivale’s hot new venue, Coogee Pavilion taking out New Pub of the Year and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel winning the prestigious Pub of the Year award.

The finals of the Bartender Magazine Bartender of the Year Competition (proudly sponsored by 42BELOW & De Kuyper) were held live on stage between awards. After a grueling day of competition on Monday, 8 of the country’s top young bartenders had just five minutes to prepare their signature cocktail in front of an esteemed panel of judges and 500 industry peers! It was nerve-wracking business. Taking out the top prize was veteran bartender Lee Potter Cavanagh. In addition to the title of ‘Bartender of the Year’ the folks from 42BELOW, De Kuyper & Bartender magazine will also be flying him to New Orleans. In second place was Jenna Hemsworth (Lui Bar) and in 3rd place was Lewis Halls (Black Pearl), both from Melbourne.

Once the awards had wrapped up the partying continued taxi loads of bar personnel heading to Cliff Dive and Henrietta Supper Club for the Bar Awards after party which by all reports was packed to the rafters.

Bartender of the Year
sponsored by 42BELOW & De Kuyper
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WINNER: Lee Potter Cavanagh, Cocktail Cowboys, Sydney

2ND PLACE: Jenna Hemsworth, Lui Bar, Melbourne

3RD PLACE: Lewis Halls, Black Pearl, Melbourne

Rookie of the Year
proudly sponsored by Club Suntory
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Will Sleeman, Black Pearl

Pub of the Year
proudly sponsored by Yenda

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Watsons Bay Hotel, Sydney

Pub of the Year – State Awards
proudly sponsored by Treasury Wine Estates

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ACT: BentSpoke
NSW: Watsons Bay Hotel
NT: The Deck Bar
QLD: Statler & Waldorf
SA: The Wheatsheaf
TAS: The New Sydney Hotel
VIC: The Rochester
WA: The Brisbane Hotel

New Bar of the Year
proudly sponsored by Fever Tree
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Boilermaker House, Melbourne

Best Specialty Beer Venue
proudly sponsored by Yenda
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Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice, Sydney

Nightclub of the Year

The Emerson, Melbourne

New Pub of the Year
proudly sponsored by Pernod Ricard

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Coogee Pavillion, Sydney


Small Bar of the Year

Mechanics Institute, Perth


Bar Manager of the Year
sponsored by 42BELOW & De Kuyper

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Petr Dvoracek, The Barber Shop

Bar of the Year

The Gresham, Brisbane

Bar of the Year — State Awards
proudly sponsored by Fever Tree
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WINNERS:
ACT: Akiba
NSW: The Barber Shop
NT: CHOW
QLD: The Gresham
SA: Hains & Co
TAS: Ash & Besters
VIC: Bad Frankie
WA: Enrique’s School For To Bullfighting

Regional Bar of the Year
proudly sponsored by Club Suntory

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Pocket Bar Terrigal, Terrigal, NSW

Bar Operator of the Year

Swillhouse, NSW

Pub Operator of the Year
proudly sponsored by The Exchange

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Solotel

Best Bartenders’ Bar
proudly sponsored by Disaronno
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Black Pearl, Melbourne

Bar Team of the Year

proudly sponsored by The Exchange
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Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern, Sydney

Cocktail Bar of the Year
proudly sponsored by Pernod Ricard
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Bulletin Place, Sydney

Cocktail Bar of the Year – State Awards
Winners
proudly sponsored by Disaronno

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ACT: Molly
NSW: Bulletin Place
NT: The Deck Bar
QLD: The Bowery
SA: Maybe Mae
TAS: IXL Long Bar
VIC: Black Pearl
WA: Dominion League

Cocktail List of the Year
proudly sponsored by Australian Bitters Company
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The Lobo Plantation, Sydney

Best Live Music Bar
proudly sponsored by Australian Bartender Magazine

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Brooklyn Standard, Brisbane

Wine Bar of the Year

proudly sponsored by Treasury Wine Estates
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Coppa Spuntino, Brisbane

Best Bar Food
proudly sponsored by Yenda

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Varnish on King, Perth

Training Program of the Year
The Exchange

Brand Ambassador of the Year
Sean Forsyth, Bacardi

Outstanding Contribution

proudly sponsored by Australian Bartender Magazine
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Andy Freeman, Perth