Bar Awards 2017 winners announced

Bar of the Year – The Baxter Inn. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Last night, on a sunny spring evening, more than 600 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 17th year. Voted for by the bar industry, the Bar Awards are hotly contested and highly prized.

The event, which sold out weeks ago, kicked off with cocktails on the deck, featuring everything from Espresso Martinis to Tropical Island Mules. Guests then moved into the dining room, under the expert guidance of bar industry personality MC Stu Gregor. First up, a series of state awards were presented with venues such as Highball Express in Canberra and Society Salamanca in Tassie getting a nod for their achievements. In addition, a very happy crew from Dulcie’s Cottage in Merimbula, was awarded the title of Regional Bar of the Year. This is yet another addition to the multi-award winning Swillhouse bar portfolio which includes Baxter Inn, Shady Pines et al.

This year saw the introduction of two new awards – one for Restaurant Bar of the Year and one for the Best Sustainable Bar Program. Recognising the massive push by the bar industry to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, this award recognises those bars with who incorporate sustainability as part of their standard operating procedure.  Charlie Parker’s, Merivale’s new cocktail bar in Paddington won the award. Just to give you an example of their commitment to sustainability the bar sources their straws from Western Australia from EFGLO which break down after two weeks in a compost bin and their sodas are made with the recycled elements from their daily prep of citrus, then batched and pulled on tap.

Brisbane operator Jamie Webb had a great year, with his new venue Seymour’s Cocktails & Oysters taking out the award for Bar Food of the Year while Caxton Street stalwart Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall to out the honour of 2017’s Best Live Music Venue. Another multi-award winning favourite from Brisbane – The Gresham – did not go home empty handed. They won the coveted Bar Team of the Year award.

It was also a good year for Melbourne bars. Boilermaker House took home the gong for Best Specialty Beer Venue, Bad Frankie won Small Bar of the Year and Embla won the Wine Bar of the Year award. While multi-award winning Black Pearl was awarded Cocktail Bar of the Year.

Cocktail Bar of the Year – Black Pearl. Photo: Christopher Pearce

The folks from Perth were overjoyed when popular local, Dimitri Rshiladze from Mechanics Institute won Bar Manager of the Year.

Sydney venues made a big splash this year with the Unicorn Hotel in Paddington taking out Pub of the Year, PS40 winning Cocktail Bar of the Year, Eau de Vie winning Hotel Bar of the Year and Oxford Street favourite Big Poppa’s winning Best Bartenders’ Bar. Big Poppa’s co-owner Jared Merlino also took out the award for Bar Operator of the Year, recognising his hard work building his bar portfolio which also includes Kittyhawk and Rum Bar of the Year, The Lobo Plantation. 

The Barber Shop in Sydney’s CBD also took out Gin Bar of the Year while its owner, Mike Enright, one of the most well-loved members of the bar industry, was recognised for his dedication to both the industry as a whole as well as his passion for the gin category.

For the third year running the finals of the Bartender Magazine Bartender of the Year Competition (proudly sponsored by Bacardi & 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 600 industry peers! It was nerve-wracking business.

Bartender of the Year – the TOP 3. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Taking out the top prize was Dan Gregory from Canvas in Brisbane who is about to make a move to Tassie to look at opening a bar down there. In addition to the title of ‘Bartender of the Year’ the folks from Bacardi, De Kuyper & Bartender magazine will also be flying him to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. In second place was Jonathan Carr from Kittyhawk in Sydney and in 3rd place was Jimmy Irvine from Restaurant Hubert in Sydney.

So here they are, the full list of winners from the 2017 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards:

THE WINNERS 

Bartender Magazine Bartender of the Year Proudly sponsored by Bacardi & De Kuyper

3rd Place: Jimmy Irvine, Restaurant Hubert

2nd Place: Jonathan Carr, Kittyhawk

Winner: Dan Gregory, Canvas

 

Cocktail List of the Year Proudly sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin

PS40, Sydney

 

Rookie of the Year Proudly sponsored by The Blend Cocktail Competition by Beam Suntory

Ella Rhodes, Cobbler, Brisbane

 

Best Live Music Bar Proudly sponsored by Jagermeister

Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane

 

Bar Operator of the Year Proudly sponsored by Campari

Jared Merlino

 

Small Bar of the Year

Bad Frankie, Melbourne

 

Wine Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Unico Zelo Wines

Embla, Melbourne

 

Outstanding Contribution Proudly sponsored by Bartender Magazine

Mike Enright

 

New Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Southern Comfort

Above Board, Melbourne

 

Hotel Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin

Eau de Vie, Sydney

 

Cocktail Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Monin

Black Pearl, Melbourne

 

Whiskey Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by The Exchange

Whisky & Alement, Melbourne

 

Best Sustainable Bar Program Proudly sponsored by 42 Below

Charlie Parker’s, Sydney

 

Rum Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Bacardi Rum

The Lobo Plantation, Sydney

 

Bar Team of the Year Proudly sponsored by The Exchange

The Gresham, Brisbane

 

Bar Manager of the Year Proudly sponsored by Chivas

Dimitri Rtshiladze, Mechanics Institute, Perth

 

Nightclub of the Year Proudly sponsored by Bacardi & De Kuyper

The Emerson, Melbourne

 

Best Regional Bar Proudly sponsored by The Blend Cocktail Competition by Beam Suntory

Dulcie’s Cottage, Merimbula

 

Pub Operator of the Year Proudly sponsored by The Exchange

Merivale

 

Best Bar Food Proudly sponsored by Southern Comfort

Seymour’s Cocktails & Oysters, Brisbane

 

Training Program of the Year Proudly sponsored by Bartender Magazine

The Exchange/The Blend, CCA & Beam Suntory

 

Brand Ambassador of the Year Proudly sponsored by Bartender Magazine

Samuel Ng, Four Pillars Gin

 

Restaurant Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Esprit de Figues

Restaurant Hubert, Sydney

 

Best Specialty Beer Venue Proudly sponsored by Mismatched Brewing Co.

Boilermaker House, Melbourne

 

New Pub of the Year

The Dolphin, Sydney

 

The Phil Bayly Award for Tequila Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Altos Tequila

Tio’s Cerveceria, Sydney

 

Gin Bar of the Year Proudly sponsored by Star of Bombay

The Barber Shop, Sydney

 

Best Bartender’s Bar Proudly sponsored by Jagermeister

Big Poppa’s, Sydney

 

Pub of the Year Proudly sponsored by Think Spirits

The Unicorn, Sydney

 

Bar of the Year

The Baxter Inn, Sydney

 

Bar of the Year State Awards

ACT: Highball Express, Canberra

NSW: The Baxter Inn, Sydney

NT: Lazy Susan’s, Darwin

QLD: Cobbler, Brisbane

SA: Hains & Co., Adelaide

TAS: Society Salamanca, Hobart

VIC: The Beaufort, Melbourne

WA: Mechanics Institute, Perth

 

Cocktail Bar of the Year State Awards Proudly sponsored by Monin

ACT: Bar Rochford, Canberra 

NSW: PS40, Sydney

NT: The Pearl, Darwin

QLD: Seymour’s Cocktails & Oysters, Brisbane

SA: Maybe Mae, Adelaide

TAS: Robbie Brown’s, Hobart

VIC: Black Pearl, Melbourne

WA: The Dominion League, Perth