It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Bar Awards season, when we get to crown the best of the best in this city of incredible drinking.
Sydney might not boast the strongest late-night reputation, but we sure know how to get into the spirit of a daytime party, which is why 600 bartenders, bar owners, bar lovers and industry professionals crammed into a New Orleans-themed Marquee nightclub on a rainy Sunday afternoon to see who would take home the top gongs from the 2018 Time Out Sydney Bar Awards.
Guests arrived to the sweet sounds of the Blue Tongue Brass Band; fueled for the coming party on fried okra, jambalaya, fried chicken, shrimp remoulade, po’ boys and gumbo; and washed it down with Southern Comfort, Yenda beers, Monteith's Crushed Cider cider and wines from Reverie by Debussy.
So who is the best in the bar business for 2018? Comedian and bar lover Matt Okine was on hosting duties, giving out some hard-earned prizes.
Huge cheers erupted for tiki bar Jacoby’s, who took home Bar of the Year and Best Bar Team awards. There were so many strong new additions to the Sydney scene in the last 12 months that in addition to swanky new rooftop Smoke getting the overall award for Best New Bar, the Duke of Clarence was Highly Commended in the category.
The Best Bar Food in the city was judged to be at Bart Jr, and the Best Wine Bar is Dear Sainte Éloise. Of course, if you’re after cocktails, then you’ll need to go to PS40, the Best Cocktail Bar for 2018.
The Best Neighbourhood Bar, for venues operating outside the central entertainment district, went to Uncle Kurt's in Parramatta. The People’s Choice Award, voted for by the public, went to Solera.
The one to watch in 2018 is Hot Talent Winner Hayley Laurendet Saint from Archie Rose, and the Bartender of the Year for 2018 is Stuart Morrow from The Baxter Inn.
But the big cheers were saved for the Legend Award winner, a bar and live music venue that has been serving the city since 2008 and remains a staunch champion for Sydney’s nightlife: Oxford Art Factory.
Being 4.30pm on a rainy Sunday didn’t stop people from getting all kinds of low on the dancefloor to the incredible party mix from DJ Flex Mami.
Guests also took home photos and gifs from FotoBox in case those memories got hazy, and a brand new copy of the bumper autumn issue of Time Out Sydney, hot off the presses.
Big thanks to Southern Comfort, Yenda, Monteith's Crushed Cider and Reverie by Debussy Wines for the drinks, and to the Star for hosting the event, but most of all, thank you to everyone who showed up and partied hard. Sydney clearly still knows how to cut shapes.
Video by Nigel Kippers and FotoBox