Save the dates between April 28 and May 2 because Surry Hills and the CBD will be taken over by the World Class Cocktail Festival for five days of very well-made cocktails, excellent pop-up food affairs and parties, $15 drinks and heaps more.
The festival celebrates our strong bar scene – with organisers inviting all seven Australian bars recognised by the World’s 50 Best Bars Awards. In Sydney, that includes 1950s Vegas-inspired Maybe Sammy (at 11); tiny mezcal mecca Cantina Ok! (at 28); and hidden cocktail joint Bulletin Place (at 39). Last year the World’s 50 Best Bars published an extended 51 to 100 list, and from there we’ll see four Melbourne bars: The Everleigh (73); Byrdi (80); Above Board (84); and Black Pearl (98).
The program will run off the back of the Australian World Class Bartender of the Year competition, held on Tuesday April 27, where Australia’s top bartenders will battle for the title, with the winner going on to represent the country in the global World Class Bartender of the Year finals in July.
Here are some of the top events happening in Sydney for the five-day festival.
Little Melbourne, Wednesday April 28 to Sunday May 2
The official “main stage” of the festival is Sydney fave Paramount House Hotel, which will house Little Melbourne in its Golden Age Bar all week long. Find award-winning Melbourne bars such as The Everleigh, Black Pearl, Above Board and others pouring their best Don Julio drinks over the festival’s duration.
Cantina OK! – Mama OK!, Sunday May 2, 2pm to 8pm
Shaker of Sydney’s best Margarita, Cantina Ok!, will collaborate with the makers of one of Sydney’s best shawarmas (there’s lots of “Sydney’s best” happening here but we’re not even exaggerating), Shwarmama, for Mama Ok!, a one-day-only pop-up of tacos and Margs.
Espresso Martini Project, Wednesday April 28 to Thursday 29
Among the other excellent shindigs is the Espresso Martini Project, a two-night collaboration at Paramount Coffee Project, where you’ll find bespoke cocktails made with the coffee of your choice.
Bulletin Place x Belsazar Place, Wed April 28 to Saturday May 1
This takes place at the 39th-ranked World’s Best Bar, Bulletin Place, and part of its CBD laneway. There will be a curated cocktail list celebrating German vermouth, and German bar snacks including pretzels and onion dip, house-pickled caraway carrots, and smoked curry almonds.
Africola Sound System x Hotel Harry, Wed April 28 to Sat May 1
This Africola takeover at Hotel Harry sees the popular Adelaide eatery settle into the venue’s entire first level with owner Duncan Welgemoed plating up a three-course set menu of North African snacks alongside Don Julio drinks. Bookings are essential.
Butter x Cîroc, Wednesday April 28 to Sunday May 2
You’ll be able to get a limited-edition Butter Fried Chicken (fat wash) Martini at Surry Hills’s Butter – a creation of Luke Whearty from Melbourne’s Byrdi and the cult burger outlet.
Maybe Sammy – Maybe Sevilla, Sunday May 2
The closing party will be a banger: a Spanish-style evening of cocktails and frivolity at Maybe Sammy. Expect Latin live music, food and the newly crowned Bartender of the Year.