2019 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards finalists — the best bars, bartenders and operators are here

The 19th annual Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards takes place in September during Sydney Bar Week.

It’s that time again. You, the Australian bar industry, have had your say over three months of voting, and now the results are in: these are the finalists for the 2019 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards.

The Bar Awards is the industry’s night of nights — and one heck of a joint staff party — and it all takes place on Tuesday 17 September, at Doltone House in Pyrmont, as the marquee event of Sydney Bar Week 2019.

To all the finalists: congratulations! We’ll see you in September at the Bar Awards.

The Bartender Magazine Bar Awards has cemented its place as a must-attend event for bar industry professionals. Each September, 650 bar professionals from around Australia head 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.

Tickets are exclusive to finalists and sponsors. Click here to book yours.

 

Take a look at the full list of finalists in the 19th annual Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards below — congratulations to all the finalists.

 

BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Little Drippa

This is the big one. The Bar of the Year offers the complete experience — service, atmosphere, a great concept and well executed drink offering — this bar will see the punters (and bartenders) returning again and again.

Burrow Bar NSW
Cantina OK! NSW
Death & Taxes QLD
Door Knock NSW
Kittyhawk NSW
Old Mate’s Place NSW
Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern NSW
The Baxter Inn NSW
The Duke of Clarence NSW
Tiny’s WA

 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by The Blend

This is the award that recognises the up and coming bartenders in the industry. They must have worked as a bartender for either less than two years come June 1 2019, or be aged 23 and under by June 1 2019.

Amy Hilder Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern NSW
Brittany Rowe Old Mate’s Place NSW
Emma Bernardi Rosenbaum & Fuller NSW
Liam Gavin Door Knock NSW
Lucille Rose Zeta Bar NSW
Max Giudice Tiny’s WA
Sarah Mycock PS40 NSW
Savannah Piper The Boom Boom Room QLD
Tom Hart Burrow Bar NSW
Tristan Robins Savile Row QLD

 

COCKTAIL BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Campari Australia

Getting a cocktail right is no easy task. Finalists for this award must be the kind of bar that uses bottled mixers, employs quality ice and superlative ingredients, with cocktails as their central drinks focus.

Above Board VIC
Black Pearl VIC
Bulletin Place NSW
Eau de Vie Melbourne VIC
Maybe Mae SA
Maybe Sammy NSW
PS40 NSW
Savile Row QLD
Scout Sydney NSW
The Everleigh VIC

 

NEW BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by The House of Angostura

These are the best bars that have opened up in the year since June 1 2018. They have a great focus on service, they break new ground in terms of what they’re offering, and they can compete with the best bars in the world.

Alba Bar & Deli QLD
Cantina OK! NSW
Cry Baby Bar SA
Death & Taxes QLD
Employees Only NSW
Evolve Spirits Bar TAS
Fancy Free VIC
Maybe Sammy NSW
Old Mate’s Place NSW
Scout Sydney NSW

 

BEST SUSTAINABLE BAR PROGRAM
Proudly sponsored by 42BELOW

This award recognises those bars with who incorporate sustainability as part of their standard operating procedure. They’ve taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment and are thinking about how they can reduce, reuse, and recycle elements of the bar program.

Bulletin Place NSW
Brunswick Hotel QLD
Ends & Means VIC
Scout Sydney NSW

 

NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR
We really need to thank the folks that run the nightclubs. They do the graveyard shift 365 days a year (or thereabouts). They’re the place you go when you don’t want to go home. It’s the home of the dancefloor and the DJ and late, late nights. There must be a focus on music and dancing.

ARQ Sydney NSW
Bond VIC
Chinese Laundry NSW
Connections WA
Glamorama VIC
Goodbar NSW
Goody Two’s WA
Laruche QLD
Marquee NSW
The Cliff Dive NSW

 

PUB OF THE YEAR
No doubt one of the biggest awards of the night and one that just keeps getting better year on year, with new and innovative operators bringing their take on the Aussie pub. It’s the meeting place, it’s where so many of life’s great moments can happen — the finalists for this award bring the complete experience.

Coogee Pavilion NSW
Garden State Hotel VIC
Gilbert Street Hotel SA
Mr West VIC
New Sydney Hotel TAS
The Dolphin NSW
The Esplanade Hotel VIC
The Lincoln VIC
The Royal Bondi NSW
The Unicorn NSW

BEST BAR FOOD

Is there a better place to eat than at the bar? The standard of bar food is better than ever, and this award seeks to recognise the best eats in the bar.

Alba Bar & Deli QLD
Bar Liberty VIC
Bar Topa NSW
Big Poppa’s NSW
Continental Deli, Bar & Bistro CBD NSW
Jangling Jack’s NSW
Long Chim Perth WA
Maybe Frank NSW
The Duke of Clarence NSW
Tiny’s WA

HOST OF YEAR
They’re often the first person you see when you enter a venue, and the last to wish you a good night when you leave; this award seeks to recognise the efforts of the front of house staff in a bar, those whose role is primarily on the floor, tending to the needs of the guests, those for whom service and hospitality is second nature.

Bella McRae, Maybe Mae SA
Bianca Wendt, The Everleigh VIC
Brie Hourigan, The Cloakroom QLD
Caitlin Webb, Tiny’s WA
Carmen Ianni, Establishment NSW
Elizabeth Iglesias, Mjolner Sydney NSW
Michael Drescher, Caffe Bartolo NSW
Natalie Ng, Door Knock NSW
Olivia Rockwell, Continental Bar Bistro Deli CBD NSW
Stefano Catino, Maybe Sammy NSW

 

SMALL BAR OF THE YEAR
Here’s to the bars doing big things in small places. This award is dedicated to those bars with a capacity of less than 100 people, who offer the complete experience: great drinks, brilliant banter, and a unique identity.

Above Board VIC
Bad Frankie VIC
Bulletin Place NSW
Burrow Bar NSW
Cantina OK! NSW
Gold Bar TAS
Hooch & Fellow QLD
Jangling Jack’s NSW
Maker QLD
Romeo Lane VIC

 

BAR MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Pernod Ricard


A good manager can make or break a bar business. They navigate the delicate terrain between bar staff and owners, surround themselves with great staff, and lead from the front.

Alex Gilmour, Cantina OK! NSW
Alex Lange, Miss Moneypenny’s QLD
Alissa Gabriel, Mjolner Sydney NSW
Daniel Gregory, Evolve Spirits Bar TAS
Evan Stroeve, Bulletin Place NSW
Kayla Reid, Savile Row QLD
Kevin Peters, The Esplanade Hotel VIC
Mary White, The Lobo Plantation NSW
Steve Davis, Opera Bar NSW
Tom Kearney, Panama Social WA

 

REGIONAL BAR OF THE YEAR
We know our industry is really going places when there are bars in regional areas that are rivalling the venues in major city hubs. This is for venues outside of the capital cities..

Coal & Cedar Newcastle NSW
Dulcie’s Cottage Merimbula NSW
Flaggerdoot Mornington Peninsula VIC
Hooch & Fellow Townsville QLD
Howlin’ Wolf Wollongong NSW
Jimmy Rum’s Mixing Lounge Port Douglas QLD
Pocket Bar Terrigal NSW
Rosella’s Gold Coast QLD
The 18th Amendment Bar Geelong VIC
Three Wolves Cairns QLD

 

BAR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
This category is a rundown of some of our industry’s most dedicated professionals. Here you will see a lot of Bartenders and managers turned owners. People who slogged it out, loved the trade and wanted to do it on their own. Nominees for this award can be individuals or companies.

Brett Robinson
Good Times Only Group
Jared Merlino
Made In The Shade
Martin Lange
Natalie Ng
Ollie Margan & Simon Kardachi
Sneakers and Jeans
Speakeasy Group
Swillhouse

 

PUB OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
This award recognises those publicans with a keen eye for running great pubs. Their staff offer brilliant service, their pubs feel like a home away from home, and they’ve always got their eye on the next big thing, keeping their venues relevant and fresh. Nominees for this award can be individuals or companies.

Iain Ling
Mary’s Group
Maurice Terzini
Merivale
Sand Hill Road
Solotel
Sydney Collective

 

BEST SPECIALTY BEER VENUE
Proudly sponsored by Asahi Super Dry

Our beer drinking ways have come a long way — now you can actually drink more than an icy lager at many of our fine establishments. From IPAs to strong ales, these venues stock it all.

Beer Mash VIC
Bitter Phew NSW
Boilermaker House VIC
Caboose WA
Dutch Trading Company WA
Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice NSW
Keg & Brew NSW
Mr West VIC
Petiton Beer Corner WA
The Winston TAS

 

BAR TEAM OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by The Exchange

A good bar crew is all about working hard till the last glass is washed and helping your fellow staff when they’re down. You can tell when a bar team wants to be at work and it rubs off on the customers — they want to be there too.

Black Pearl VIC
Bulletin Place NSW
Maybe Mae SA
Maybe Sammy NSW
Old Mate’s Place NSW
PS40 NSW
Savile Row QLD
The 18th Amendment Bar VIC
The Everleigh VIC
The Gresham QLD

 

COCKTAIL LIST OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by William Grant & Sons

To be nominated for Cocktail List of the Year, the list must be well presented, offering great drinks — all killer, no filler — and be a complete concept, speaking to the bar’s reason for being.

Above Board VIC
Black Pearl VIC
Bulletin Place NSW
Caffe Bartolo NSW
Long Chim Perth WA
Maybe Mae SA
Maybe Sammy NSW
PS40 NSW
Savile Row QLD
Scout Sydney NSW

WINE BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Unico Zelo

To be nominated for Wine Bar of the Year, the bar must have a great wine list filled with must-sip drops. Whether the list is broad and all-encompassing, or small and focused, these bars will have wines — and the expertise to back them up — that other venues just can’t match.

10 William St NSW
Annata NSW
Ash Street Cellar NSW
Bar Liberty VIC
Dear Saine Eloise NSW
Embla VIC
Hellbound SA
Love Tilly Devine NSW
Shadow Wine Bar WA
Willing Bros. Wine Merchants TAS

 

NEW PUB OF THE YEAR
The pub is that great institution of Australian drinking, but it’s not excluded from the changes to Australia’s drinking culture in recent years. The New Pub of the Year moves with the times, offering a fresh idea while keeping all the hallmarks of a great pub. They’re a place to meet, a place to eat, a place where many great moments in life take place. This is open to pubs that have opened or been substantially renovated in the year since June 1 2018.

Dirty Pennies, Hobart TAS
The Peach Pit, Scarborough WA
The George, Waterloo NSW
The Hotel Esplanade, St Kilda VIC
The Royal, Bondi NSW
The Stag Public House, Adelaide SA

 

BEST BARTENDERS’ BAR
Proudly sponsored by Jägermeister

Best Bartenders’ Bar really needs very little introduction. It is just that: a bar for bartenders. It’s the place where bartenders go when they knock off or have a night off. So they better have some good booze, cold beer and great chat.

Black Pearl VIC
Burrow Bar NSW
Cry Baby Bar SA
Hats & Tatts VIC
Heartbreaker VIC
Old Mate’s Place NSW
Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern NSW
Savile Row QLD
Shady Pines Saloon NSW
The Whaler TAS

 

LIVE MUSIC BAR OF THE YEAR
This award seeks to celebrate those bars where you can get a good drink, but with live music as a big focus of the bar. No soulless music hangars here — it’s got to be a place you’d just as happily go for a drink as for a gig.

Beneath Driver Lane, VIC
Black Bear Lodge QLD
Brooklyn Standard QLD
Cherry Bar VIC
Frankie’s Pizza NSW
Howlin’ Wolf Wollongong NSW
Lansdowne NSW
Rooks Return VIC
Shady Pines Saloon NSW
The Hotel Esplanade VIC

 

RESTAURANT BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Moet-Hennessy

This award recognises those bars within restaurants that give you a reason to visit aside from the food, they offer up top flight drinks and great service, and can be a destination in their own right.

Bert’s NSW
Big Poppa’s NSW
Chula NSW
Long Chim Perth WA
Maybe Frank NSW
Mjolner Sydney NSW
Restaurant Hubert NSW
Rosenbaum & Fuller NSW
Tiny’s WA
Walter’s Steakhouse QLD

 

GIN BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Bombay Sapphire

To be eligible for this award, the bar must have a broad selection of gin, highlight gin cocktails where cocktails are listed, and employ staff who are knowledgeable on the category

Covent Garden QLD
Frisk Small Bar WA
Gin Lane NSW
Gin Palace VIC
Hains & Co. SA
Moya’s Juniper Lounge NSW
Society Salamanca TAS
The Barber Shop NSW
The Flour Factory WA
Union Electric VIC

 

RUM BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by BACARDÍ

To be eligible for this award, the bar must have a broad selection of rum, highlight rum cocktails where cocktails are listed, and employ staff who are knowledgeable on the category.

Blue Kahunas NSW
Burrow Bar NSW
Flamingos Tiki Bar QLD
Hains & Co. SA
Jacoby’s Tiki Bar NSW
Rude Boy TAS
Rum Bar Airlie Beach QLD
Sneaky Tony’s WA
The Lobo Plantation NSW
The Rum Diary Bar VIC

 

WHISKY BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Bushmills

To be eligible for this award, the bar must have a broad selection of whisk(e)y, highlight whisk(e)y cocktails where cocktails are listed, and employ staff who are knowledgeable on the category.

Boilermaker House VIC
Cobbler QLD
Death & Taxes QLD
Evolve Spirits Bar TAS
NOLA Adelaide SA
The Baxter Inn NSW
The Elysian Whisky Bar VIC
The Gresham QLD
Varnish on King WA
Whisky & Alement VIC

 

TEQUILA BAR OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Jose Cuervo

To be eligible for this award, the bar must have a broad selection of tequila and/or mezcal and other agave distillates, highlight agave cocktails where cocktails are listed, and employ staff who are knowledgeable on the category.

Barrio Cellar NSW
Bodega Underground VIC
Cantina OK! NSW
Chula NSW
El Grotto WA
Hot Tamale NT
Mamasita VIC
Pancho Villa TAS
Paradise Arcade QLD
Tio’s Cerveceria NSW

 

HOTEL BAR OF YEAR
The winner of this award will be the type of bar within a hotel providing accomodation that offers great service, is staffed by passionate, knowledgeable bartenders who go the extra mile for their guest, and is the kind of bar that you want to visit even if you’re not staying at the hotel.

Eau De Vie – Kirketon Hotel, Sydney NSW
Evolve Spirits Bar – Macq01, Hobart TAS
Flaggerdoot – Jackalope Hotel, Mornington Peninsula VIC
Grain – Four Seasons, Sydney NSW
Hennesey Bar – Mayfair Hotel, Adelaide SA
Henry Deane – Hotel Palisade, Sydney NSW
Rooftop at QT – QT Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Shadow Wine Bar – The Alex, Perth WA
The Island – The Island, Gold Coast QLD
Zeta Bar – Hilton, Sydney NSW

 

BAR OF THE YEAR – STATE AWARDS
These awards recognise those bars in each state that are the top of their game.

ACT: Bar Rochford, Hippo Co
NSW: Burrow Bar, Cantina OK!, Door Knock, Kittyhawk, Old Mate’s Place, Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern, The Baxter Inn, The Duke of Clarence
NT: Hot Tamale, Sandbar – Mindil Beach Casino, The Deck Bar
QLD: Brooklyn Standard, Cobbler, Death & Taxes, The Boom Boom Room, The Gresham
SA: Bar Torino, Cry Baby Bar, Hains & Co., NOLA Adelaide, Suzie Wong
TAS: Evolve Spirits Bar, Gold Bar, Rude Boy
VIC: Bad Frankie, Beneath Driver Lane, Fancy Free, Heartbreaker,
Union Electric
WA: Bar Lafayette, El Grotto, Strange Company, Tiny’s, Varnish on King

 

COCKTAIL BAR OF THE YEAR – STATE AWARDS
These awards recognise those cocktail bars in each state that are the top of their game.

ACT: Molly, Highball Express
NSW: Bulletin Place, Charlie Parker’s, Maybe Sammy, PS40,
Scout Sydney
QLD: Finney Isles, Hooch & Fellow, Maker, Press Club, Savile Row
SA: Anchovy Bandit, Clever Little Tailor, Maybe Mae, Pink Moon Saloon, The Bibliotheca Bar and Book Exchange
TAS: Ettie’s, Society Salamanca, The Glass House
VIC: Above Board, Black Pearl, Eau de Vie Melbourne, Lui Bar,
The Everleigh
WA: Long Chim Perth, Mechanics Institute, The Halford

 

BEST HEALTH & WELLNESS PROGRAM
Proudly sponsored St~Germain

This award recognises those venues and groups which invest in the wellbeing and health of their staff, looking to give them the tools and training to achieve their career goals in the industry, with a view to sustaining their careers over the long term.This award is not based on the popular vote but will be assessed by a panel to determine the finalists.

Good Times Only Group
Jared Merlino (Kittyhawk, The Lobo Plantation, Big Poppa’s, Caffe Bartolo)
Solotel

 

BRAND AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR
Proudly presented by Australian Bartender

The role of the brand ambassador continues to grow; not only do these folks champion their own brands, but they play a valuable part in the education and development of Australian bar culture.

Alice Newport – Pernod Ricard Les Nouveau Distillers
Andrew ‘Hemingway’ Ratcliff – Proximo Spirits
Dan Woolley – The Exchange
Garth Foster – Moet-Hennessy
Grazia Di Franco – Mancino Vermouth
Krystal Hart – Diageo
Mitch Wilson
Peter Hollands – Bacardi-Martini
Ross Blainey – The Balvenie
Tristram Fini – Campari Australia

 

TRAINING PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
Proudly sponsored by Australian Bartender

The role of spirits suppliers in providing great training has only increased in recent years. this award recognises those training programs that equip bartenders with the skills and the knowledge to further their careers.

Ananas
Campari Academy
De Kuyper The Works
Diageo Bar Academy
Fine Drinks Movement – Southtrade
Jerry – Proof & Company
The Exchange/The Blend by CCA/Beam Suntory