In a celebration at Paris’s spectacular Hotel de Crillon overnight, Top 500 Bars announced its winners for 2023. The sprawling list is pulled together using only AI. An algorithm aggregates reviews from across the web and determines where “we” – industry insiders, journalists and experts, plus everyday drinkers leaving reviews and opinions across social media and search engines – think the best spots to sip are.

Over 2000 sources, in more than 20 languages, were used, embracing the idea that in a service industry every opinion counts. Those opinions said Sydney is best, with the theatrical – and highly awarded – CBD bar Maybe Sammy taking out the number one spot. Venue manager Sarah Proietti and bar manager Hunter Gregory accepted the award in Paris. “It’s such an honour for our bar team to be recognised for the time and effort they put into making the experience at Maybe Sammy exceptional,” says co-founder Stefano Catino. “For that to be acknowledged on a global scale is so humbling.”

Sydney was the only Aussie city to grace the top 100, with whisky den The Baxter Inn – from the Swillhouse team (Restaurant Hubert, Le Foote) – coming in at number 87. Swillhouse took out number 267 too, with its dive-y Darlinghurst spot Shady Pines Saloon.

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The Harbour City was the most-awarded state Down Under, with local venues Re (122), Cantina OK (132), Dean & Nancy on 22 (134), PS40 (164), Old Mate’s Place (177), Double Deuce Lounge (210), The Lobo (226), El Primo Sanchez (264), Palmer & Co (330) and Employees Only (337) all placing on the list.

Melbourne first appeared at number 119 with suave Fitzroy spot Black Pearl. Then again with Byrdi (167), Above Board (187), Eau de Vie (244). Caretaker’s Cottage (276), Bar Margaux (332), The Everleigh (356 ) and Union Electric (492).

Brisbane’s Gresham Bar came in at 475, and Adelaide’s Maybe Mae at 485.

Australian bars named in the Top 500 Bars for 2023
1. Maybe Sammy, Sydney
87. The Baxter Inn, Sydney
119. Black Pearl, Melbourne
122. Re, Sydney
132. Cantina Ok, Sydney
134. Dean & Nancy on 22
164. PS40, Sydney
167. Byrdi, Melbourne
177. Old Mate’s Place, Sydney
187. Above Board, Melbourne
210. Double Deuce Lounge, Sydney
226. The Lobo, Sydney
244. Eau de Vie, Melbourne
264. El Primo Sanchez, Sydney
267. Shady Pines Saloon, Sydney
276. Caretaker’s Cottage, Melbourne
330. Palmer & Co, Sydney
332. Bar Margaux, Melbourne
337. Employees Only, Sydney
356. The Everleigh, Melbourne
475. The Gresham Bar, Brisbane
485. Maybe Mae, Adelaide
492. Union Electric, Melbourne