At Doltone House in Pyrmont last night, key players in Australia’s bar industry gathered for the 2019 Australian Bar Awards. Hundreds of bartenders and venue owners were in attendance for what some in the industry call the “Oscars of the bar scene”.

This is the 19th installment of the awards, which are hosted by Australian Bartender Magazine. More than 40 titles were awarded throughout the evening, with many big prizes going to Sydney venues.

The night’s major award, for Australian Bar of the Year, went to subterranean Sydney whisky den The Baxter Inn – the third year in a row the bar has taken the title.

The Rocks cocktail bar Maybe Sammy was named Cocktail Bar of the Year, and was awarded the Bar Team of the Year award. Anton Forte and Jason Scott of the Swillhouse group (Alberto’s Lounge, Shady Pines Saloon, Restaurant Hubert) were recognized for their outstanding contribution to the Australian bar industry.

Sarah Mycock from CBD bar PS40 was honoured as the Rookie of the Year. The nearby 20-seater garage mezcal bar Cantina Ok! nabbed two awards: New Bar of the Year and Tequila Bar of the Year. (It’s also one of our picks for the best new bar openings of the year so far.)

Bulletin Place’s Alex Gonzioulis took out the biggest individual prize, Bartender of the Year, edging out Rosenbaum & Fuller’s Lee Potter Cavanagh. Bulletin Place also nabbed the Best Sustainable Bar Program award, and its bar manager Evan Stroeve scored the gong for Bar Manager of the Year.

Other local winners were Jacoby’s Tiki Bar (Rum Bar of the Year), The Cliff Dive (Nightclub of the Year), The Barber Shop (Gin Bar of the Year) and Merivale hospitality group (Pub Operator of the Year).

Hotel Esplanade in Melbourne’s St Kilda won New Pub of the Year, Bar Liberty in Melbourne’s CBD was awarded Wine Bar of the Year, and Above Board in Collingwood was named Small Bar of the Year.

The Australian Bar Awards 2019 Winners

Bartender of the Year
3rd: Joe Sinagra, Halford, Perth
2nd: Lee Potter Cavanagh, Rosenbaum & Fuller, Sydney
Winner: Alex Gondzioulis, Bulletin Place, Sydney

Bar of the Year
The Baxter Inn, Sydney

Rookie of the Year
Sarah Mycock, PS40, SYdney

Cocktail Bar of the Year
Maybe Sammy, Sydney

New Bar of the Year
Cantina OK!, Sydney

Best Sustainable Bar Program
Bulletin Place, Sydney

Bar Manager of the Year
Evan Stroeve, Bulletin Place, Sydney

Rum Bar of the Year
Jacoby’s Tiki Bar, Sydney

Pub Operator of the Year
Merivale

New Pub of the Year
Hotel Esplanade, Melbourne

Nightclub of the Year
The Cliff Dive, Sydney

Restaurant Bar of the Year
Tiny’s, Perth

Host of the Year
Bianca Wendt, The Everleigh, Melbourne

Best Specialty Beer Venue
Boilermaker House, Melbourne

Bar Team of the Year
Maybe Sammy, Sydney

Outstanding Contribution
Anton Forte & Jason Scott

Brand Ambassador of the Year
Ross Blainey, The Balvenie

Training Program of the Year
Campari Academy

Pub of the Year
The Lincoln, Melbourne

Wine Bar of the Year
Bar Liberty, Melbourne

Cocktail List of the Year
Maybe Mae, Adelaide

Small Bar of the Year
Above Board, Melbourne

Best Health & Wellness Program
Good Times Only

Regional Bar of the Year
The 18th Amendment Bar, Geelong, VIC

Gin Bar of the Year
The Barber Shop, Sydney

Whisky Bar of the Year
Death & Taxes, Brisbane

Bar Operator of the Year
Made in the Shade

Live Music Bar of the Year
Brooklyn Standard, Brisbane

Tequila Bar of the Year
Cantina Ok!, Sydney

Hotel Bar of the Year
Evolve Spirits Bar, Macq 01 Hotel, Hobart, TAS

Best Bartenders’ Bar
Hats & Tatts, Melbourne

Cocktail Bar of the Year – State Awards
ACT: Molly
NSW: Maybe Sammy
QLD: Savile Row
SA: Maybe Mae
TAS: The Glass House
VIC: The Everleigh
WA: Long Chim

Bar of the Year – State Awards
ACT: Hippo Co
NSW: The Baxter Inn
QLD: Death & Taxes
SA: Cry Baby
TAS: Evolve Spirits Bar
VIC: Union Electric
WA: Tiny’s