On Friday May 28, last drinks were quietly poured and drunk at award-winning CBD bar Bulletin Place.
For the past eight-and-a-half years, the bar – hidden one flight of stairs above a quaint laneway not far from Circular Quay – was responsible for making some of the city’s best cocktails, and had a market-fresh, seasonal approach to its drink-making that was often imitated but never matched.
“It’s been a sad time, but we’re moving on,” co-owner Tim Philips-Johansson told Broadsheet. “All good things must come to an end. We thank our greatest stakeholders, the staff and clientele over the past eight-and-a-half years. The directors in Adi [Ruiz], Robb [Sloan], Dave [Hobbs] and myself are all looking forward to our next chapter, with big things to be announced.”
While Philips-Johansson is not yet ready to announce any future plans, he did say the bar’s closure is pandemic-related and indicated the owners have been dealing with landlord complications. “Covid has been a brutal year for most business – we were an unfortunate victim of that.”
Bulletin Place’s all-star bartending team kept it at the forefront of Sydney’s strong cocktail scene. Unlike some of the other fancier bars in town, Bulletin Place had a simple industrial design that placed your attention squarely on the superb drinks and the warm, personal and always attentive service.
That ethos earned it a stack of accolades, including a ranking of 28 in the 2020 World’s 50 Best Bars list.
Philips-Johansson – who’s worked at Milk & Honey in London and New York, as well as the Match Bar Group’s Clubhouse in Chamonix, France – was crowned winner of the world’s most prestigious cocktail competition in 2012, beating thousands of entrants from around the world to become global Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year. Ruiz was Australia’s first World Class winner in 2009, while Sloan worked as a brand ambassador for spirit companies including Diageo and LVMH. The trio became friends while working at Melbourne’s influential Black Pearl.
Earlier this year Bulletin Place added the tiny Belsazar Place on the laneway at the bottom of the stairs. Taking its name from the German vermouth, Belsazar Place was all about highlighting the botanical fortified wine via a curated cocktail list honouring its legacy. Philips-Johansson says fans of the bar can visit the team’s other venue in Surry Hills or buy a bottle of its house-made Rhubi mistelle.
“Dead Ringer and Rhubi are going strong, and we urge any well-wishers to not only support them, but to support all your favourite bars and brands in this city,” he says.