Hundreds of bar professionals mingled on the deck of Pyrmont’s Doltone House last night to recognise the leading names in Australia’s bar scene. The Australian Bar Awards have been described as the “Oscars” of the bar industry and pull together the who’s who of the trade.

Sydney’s Jenna Hemsworth – of CBD Restaurant Hubert – had the crowd on their feet as she took out the top spot of Bartender of the Year, making her the first woman to earn the title in the awards’ 18 years. (The competition is run by Australian Bartender magazine.)

Priscilla Leong, from another Sydney city venue, The Baxter Inn, took out second place in this category. In keeping with the theme of unprecedented female success, Olivia Rockwell (also of Restaurant Hubert) later took out the brand new prize for Host of the Year.

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Sydney continued to shine with subterranean whisky den The Baxter Inn taking Bar of the Year for the second year in a row. It’s a good result for the Swillhouse group, which owns both Baxter and Hubert.

Other local winners were PS40 (Cocktail List of the Year), The Cliff Dive (Nightclub of the Year), Frankie’s Pizza (Best Live Music Bar), The Duke of Clarence (New Bar of the Year), Eau de Vie (Hotel Bar of the Year), Jacoby’s Tiki Bar (Rum Bar of the Year), Big Poppa’s (Best Bar Food), Maybe Frank, (Restaurant Bar of the Year), The Imperial (New Pub of the Year) and The Barber Shop (Gin Bar of the Year).

Overall there was a decent mix of winners from around the country, including Adelaide’s Maybe Mae, whicht won Best Sustainable Bar Program); Brisbane’s Saville Rowt, which was named Best Bartenders’ Bar; and Perth’s El Grotto (Tequila Bar of the Year). Melbourne etook out several notable awards, including Pub of the Year ( Hotel Lincoln), Wine Bar of the Year with (Bar Liberty), Cocktail Bar of the Year (The Everleigh), Whisky Bar of the Year (The Elysian) and Small Bar of the Year Above Board.

The Australian Bar Awards capped off Sydney Bar Week 2018.

The Australian Bar Awards 2018 Winners

Bartender of the Year
First Place: Jenna Hemsworth, Restaurant Hubert, Sydney
Second Place: Priscilla Leong, the Baxter Inn, Sydney
Third Place: Paul Hammond, Bulletin Place, Sydney

Best Bartenders Bar
Savile Row, Brisbane

Pub of the Year
The Lincoln, Melbourne

Cocktail List of the Year
Ps40, Sydney

Bar of the Year
The Baxter Inn, Sydney

Nightclub of the Year
The Cliff Dive, Sydney

Rookie of the Year
Emma Crisp, Perth

Best Live Music Bar
Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney

Bar Operator of the Year
Dap & Co., Brisbane

Best Specialty Beer Venue
Mr West, Melbourne

Wine Bar of the Year
Bar Liberty, Melbourne

Outstanding Contribution
Jason Crawley

New Bar of the Year
The Duke of Clarence, Sydney

Hotel Bar of the Year
Eau De Vie, Sydney

Cocktail Bar of the Year
The Everleigh, Melbourne

Whisky Bar of the Year
The Elysian Whisky Bar, Melbourne

Best Sustainable Bar Program
Maybe Mae, Adelaide

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

Bar Team of the Year
Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern

Bar Manager of the Year
Trish Brew, Gin Palace, Melbourne

Small Bar of the Year
Above Board, Melbourne

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

Pub Operator of the Year


Best Bar Food
Big Poppa’s, Sydney

Training Program of the Year
The Blend/The Exchange

Brand Ambassador of the Year
Nick Miles, Sailor Jerry

Restaurant Bar of the Year

Maybe Frank, Sydney

Host of the Year
Olivia Rockwell, Sydney

New Pub of the Year
The Imperial, Sydney

Tequila Bar of the Year
El Grotto, Perth

Gin Bar of the Year
The Barber Shop, Sydney

Bar of the Year – State Awards
ACT: Bar Rochford
NSW: The Baxter Inn
QLD: The Gresham
SA: Nola
TAS: Ixl Long Bar
WA: Tiny’s
VIC: Boilermaker House
NT: The Deck Bar

Cocktail Bar of the Year – State Awards
ACT: Molly
NSW: Bulletin Place
NT: Pearl & Co
QLD: Maker
SA: Maybe Mae
TAS: Void Bar
WA: Bar Lafayette
VIC: The Everleigh