Despite the lockouts and the lockdowns, Sydney’s CBD has become one of the most talent-rich destinations in NSW when it comes to small bars. And you don’t have to take our word for it. Three of the inner-city’s best watering holes were just named among the annual rankings of the 50 best bars in the world, judged by an international panel of 500 industry experts.
It’s the second year that the highest-ranking Sydney bar, Maybe Sammy, has made the list. And since its inclusion at position 43 in 2019, it’s rocketed up the rankings, landing just shy of the top ten at number 11. The bar also picked up the Mitcher’s Art of Hospitality Award, which recognises the best level of service and hospitality bargoers can experience anywhere in the world.
Sydney’s smallest bar, the itsy-bitsy mezcal and tequila temple Cantina OK, has always punched way above its weight, earning the Best New Bar gong at the 2020 Time Out Bar Awards, despite only occupying a single repurposed parking space down a nondescript laneway off Clarence Street. It cracked the world’s best list for the first time, ranking at position 28. Bulletin Place is also a multi-Time Out Bar Awards winner, notable for its constantly changing daily cocktail list and outstanding levels of charisma and service. It made the number 39 position in the rankings.
While all three are winners in our eyes, it’s no shame to lose out the top spot on the list to legendary London cocktail lounge the Connaught. Tucked away in the oh-so-swish Mayfair Hotel, it has both pedigree and panache in spades.
While no Melbourne bars managed to crack the top 50, four did make it onto the long list of 100 bars considered in the rankings. The ever-popular Everleigh reached position 73, Byrdi at 80, Above Board at 84, and arguably Melbourne’s most revered cocktail den, the Black Pearl, at 98. That last result will come as a shock to many Melburnian cocktail aficionados, as the Pearl has been ranked in the top 50 for the past 12 years consecutively. You can check out the full rankings here.