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Some friends enjoying drinks at Daintree Sydney
Photograph: Supplied

Meet the sustainable superstars shaking up Sydney's bar scene

These bars are leading the charge towards a greener future

By Time Out in association with Pernod Ricard

What does the bar of tomorrow look like? How can bars ensure a responsible and sustainable future for the industry?

Addressing these questions is the Bar World of Tomorrow, a collaborative initiative that aims to raise awareness and foster unity in the bar community for a more sustainable future. The brainchild of Pernod Ricard, Trash Collective, and the Sustainable Restaurant Association, this visionary program equips bartenders with the knowledge and tools to adopt more sustainable practices in their operations – from using fresh ingredients and practising responsible service of alcohol to implementing effective waste management strategies.

At Time Out, our mission is to help you go out and explore the best the city has to offer. We are proud to champion the bars that demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability. In partnership with Pernod Ricard, we are awarding the first-ever Bar of Tomorrow title to one bar in Sydney that goes above and beyond to lead a more sustainable bar scene. 

Take a look at the nominees' remarkable achievements below and enjoy a sustainable cocktail the next time you're out exploring Sydney.

Sustainable bars in Sydney

This rooftop, waterfront cocktail bar in Barangaroo puts zero-waste principles to the forefront. Head bartender Jai Lyons has set up a 'mini science lab' and a minimal to zero-waste workflow to create almost all of the bar's ingredients. All syrups, infused spirits and wines, vinegars and purees are created in-house, as well as all but one liqueur. If it sounds like it would be tricky doing things this way for a large scale venue like Smoke Bar, that's because it is. Each drink takes up to four days of prep, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

This subterranean bar underneath Paddington restaurant Fred's takes a chef's approach to drink-making with a sustainable focus. They grow their own seasonal ingredients for a top-to-tail cocktail methodology and work with local suppliers. How does this actually work? Many garnishes and cocktail ingredients are grown in the rooftop garden, which is fertilised with green waste from the venue. The garden also features two beehives which are home to 100,000 bees. The bees generate honey to sweeten the bar's cocktails, while also helping pollinate gardens in the surrounding area.

Daintree Sydney calls itself "a small bar with a big purpose" and it walks the walk as well as talking the talk. Half of all profits go towards reforestation of the Daintree Rainforest. Even the fit-out was conceived with sustainability in mind – the bar is furnished with tables made from discarded mango tree cuts and a rosewood bar top repurposed from work site waste. As for the menu, you can expect reworks of classic drinks, upgraded with seasonal native ingredients and fresh herbs and leaves grown on site. 

Join us in creating the Bar World of Tomorrow

The future starts today

It is crucial to dispel the myth that there exists an ultimate level of sustainability in bartending. As these four extraordinary bars have exemplified, sustainability is an ongoing creative pursuit – a continuous quest for improvement.

The bar industry has recently faced numerous challenges, from pandemic-related lockdowns to soaring rents and ingredient costs. In this time of uncertainty, the Bar World of Tomorrow has identified four key pillars: ingredients, service, bar, and staff. This comprehensive programme aims to train 10,000 bartenders by 2023, equipping them with the skills necessary to navigate the industry's challenges in a sustainable manner, ultimately setting them up for success in the future.

Become a part of the Bar World of Tomorrow, today. Together, we can shape a greener and more sustainable bar industry for generations to come.


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