As part of the new-look Sydney Bar Week, a prohibition-themed party saw 600 bar owners, barkeeps and industry insiders from around the nation converge on Doltone House in Sydney for the 12th annual Australian Bar Awards.
And the biggest winners? Surely Anton Forte and Jason Scott, owners of Shady Pines Saloon in Darlinghurst and The Baxter Inn in Sydney's CBD. Shady Pines took out the much-coveted Bar of the Year award, while the recently opened underground city saloon, The Baxter Inn, took out New Bar of the Year and the Best Drink Selection awards. And if that wasn't enough kudos, the pair also took out the Bar Operator of the Year gong.
The other big winner on the night was popular Fitzroy bar Black Pearl, which snared the Best Bartender's Bar and Best Bar Team categories. Melbourne also got the prize for best small bar with Richmond cocktail joint The Collection Bar proving to be the most-lauded smaller venue in the nation.
It was another big year for pubs as well. New Pub of the Year went to Melbourne CBD boozer The Bottom End. The Local Taphouse in Sydney, with its astonishing selection of ale, got Best Speciality Beer Venue, while the recently transformed Norfolk in Sydney took out the Pub of the Year award.
And as for the top gong, Greg Sanderson from Eau De Vie in Melbourne beat the competition to win the prestigious Bartender of the Year title.
And so the awards are over for another year and the winners will head home to do what they do best – making sure no one is going thirsty.