What are the 10 biggest bar news stories of 2013? We’ve got the list here…


The end of the year is drawing near, the bars are full celebrating punters and you’re probably working your 13th straight double shift. It’s been a big year for the bar trade with new openings around the country, and that’s what dominated the headlines on australianbartender.com.au. These stories were the most read news stories on the site this year — check out the list below.

1. Announcing all the 2013 Australian Bartender Bar Awards finalists

The biggest news story of the year as always is the nominations for the bar industry’s big night of nights. Click on the heading above to read through the finalists and don’t forget to check out the full list of Australian Bartender Bar Awards winners here.

2. Cafe Pacifico to close after 15 years




“After 15 big years, countless bottles of tequila, and more hangovers than anyone cares to remember, Sydney institution Cafe Pacifico will close its doors this May. Problems renegotiating the lease and leaky ceilings left owner, Phil Bayly with no choice but to move on. “We’re already paying over the market rate for rent,” said Bayly, with rent more than tripling in the fifteen years the place has been open. “We didn’t come in here to set it up and just flick it,” said Bayly.”

3. Mike Enright opening new Sydney bar, The Barber Shop



““I wanted to create an experience,” said Enright, “where you can go and have a haircut, have a shave, and have a cocktail while you’re there.” The barbers will be at the front, “then you go through to the bar which is a timeless, classic style bar,” said Enright. It is the first venture for the trio, going by the name of the Barrelhouse Group, and they’re bringing on board the talent of Will Oxenham to manage the bar. “[Oxenham] has got a really big part to play in all this,” said Enright.”

4. New Woolloomooloo venue Riley St Garage to open in 5 weeks

Bay & Bobby


“Late last year we brought you the news that the Parlour Group (whose venues  include The Stuffed Beaver and the Flying Squirrel) had bought a site in Woolloomooloo’s Riley Street that used to house Westfield boss Frank Lowy’s garage. The beautiful art deco building at 55 Riley Street will play home to the Parlour Group’s latest venture, Riley St Garage. We popped by to see how progress on the site was going, and to chat with group general manager Bay Kilpatrick and Riley Street Garage bar manager Bobby Carey (ex-Shady Pines Saloon).”

5. Announcing the 2013  Australian Bartender Most Influential List Top 100

Check out the full list of the Top 100 here.

6. Tio’s lads to open new tikitastic bar, The Cliff Dive

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“Sydney’s Oxford Street is set to get a fresh injection of tikitastic escapism when The Cliff Dive, a new bar from the boys from Tio’s, opens in late October. Located on Oxford Square in the space which housed the Gaff (and earlier, Rogues), The Cliff Dive is drawing on tiki influence from Australia’s near neighbours in PNG and East Timor.

Owners Alex Dowd, Jeremy Blackmore and Russell Martin are building out the site themselves, with the help of a close group of tradies.”

7. Is your closing time staffies session against the law?

“It’s a widespread and much loved end to the night. You shut the doors, close the bar and then crack a beer for staffies. But, in NSW at least, you could be breaking the law.”

8. This is Bat Country: new bar from Milk & Honey alum to draw on Hunter S. Thompson’s work

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“What? No. We can’t stop here. This is bat country.”

Those words of Raoul Duke — Hunter S. Thompson’s fictional literary alter ego — open the 1998 movie, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and have inspired the name of a new bar opening in Randwick: Bat Country.

“When we started talking about the concept,” said Collin Perillo, bar manager and partner in the new bar, “we thought it would be pretty obscure, actually. We thought it would be an inside joke between friends, a bit of bar chat we’d give to our customers.”

9. Baxter Inn’s Jason Scott teams up with Jamie Webb in new Brisbane bar



“One half of the Swillhouse Group, Jason Scott (Shady Pines Saloon et al) is partnering with Jamie Webb (Cabiria, Peasant) in a new saloon-style music hall in Brisbane. “It’s called Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall,” said Webb. “We are a country music hall with free music and a democratic door policy.””

10. Mezcal: the hit of the summer? New bar coming to Bondi…

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“A new bar in Bondi hopes to cash in on the popularity of the primal agave spirit, mezcal. They’ve got on board ex-Cafe Pacifico and El Topo agave nut Brett Harris and the venue will be called Mr Moustache.

Owners Regina Bueno Ros and Bildo Saravia hope to bring the Mexico they know and love to our shores — along with a pile of mezcals they’ll be distributing to trade, too.

“Mexico is a place of contrast,” said Saravia, “we like to think that we’re so sophisticated and this and that but then you see how things work there and its not so sophisticated.”


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