These were the biggest bar industry stories from 2017

Story by Sam Bygrave

The end of 2017 is now in sight for those of you currently working through the throngs of festive season drinkers and end of year Christmas parties.

It’s the time of year we like to look back and take a broader view of the year that was, and take stock of 2017’s biggest stories on

The Bar Awards winners, finalists announcement, and the Most Influential List Top 100 stories were huge hits as they usually are, but the biggest story outside that trio was Charlie Lehmann’s opinion piece on the cutting of penalty rates for hospitality. The next biggest was our exclusive profile of Singapore’s Atlas — the grand lobby bar that is an ode to gin and fine service.

We had Sven Almenning penning pieces of advice on opening a bar this year, and his insights on signing a lease and getting the financials right for your budding bar business proved crazily popular.


And then there were the news stories about bars opening: Martin Lange’s Brisbane opening, Savile Row; Speakeasy Group’s Mjolner; the forthcoming Old Mate’s Place from Dan Noble and Dre Walters; and Mike Enright’s The Duke of Clarence, were all in the top 10 most read stories of the year.

But what’s the point in only looking back? There’s a new year around the corner and all the opportunity that comes with it. I was in Berlin in October and sat in on the Global Drinks Forum that is the opening event to Bar Convent Berlin. It’s basically a room of bigwigs from the biggest and smartest drinks industry companies listening to some insightful talks from leaders in brand and strategy. It’s usually the kind of thing I’d avoid at all costs, but this one was fascinating. You can read up on this from our December issue, here.

Finally, a big thank you to all of you who supported Australian Bartender this year. We love what we do, and that’s only made possible by the work you guys put in week after week making the bar scene what it is. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

See you at the bar.

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