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The world's biggest bartending competition is coming to Sydney
Written by
Matty Hirsch

It seems that Sydney nightlife is on a slow and steady winning streak. Last month, it was announced that the city’s lockout laws would be scrapped in the CBD, potentially by the end of the calendar year. Now comes word that the world’s best bartenders will be coming Down Under next year, when Sydney hosts the annual Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year Global Final in 2020.

Now in its 11th year, the global spirit giant’s World Class programme now operates in over 60 countries and the Bartender of the Year competition is widely considered to be the world’s biggest and most influential. In that time, Australia’s produced not one, but two winners: Tim Philips-Johansson back in 2012, from Sydney’s Bulletin Place (Time Out Sydney’s Cocktail Bar of the Year in 2019), and Orlando Marzo of Melbourne’s Lûmé in 2018. Alex Boon, bar manager at the Melbourne outpost of viking-themed Mjølner, lost out to Bannie Kang from Singapore bar Antidote at the finals in Glasgow just last week. 

In addition to the series of challenges that make up the competition itself, a week-long festival of pop-ups, collaborations, tastings, one-off events and experiences will see Sydney come alive at a particularly critical time in the city’s revitalisation. No details have been announced yet, but there’s no doubt it’s a step in the right direction for restoring our reputation on the international stage.

“Sydney World Class 2020 is an amazing opportunity for us to promote our craft of bartending and show off our amazing city and bars to the rest of the world,” says Bulletin Place co-owner Philips-Johansson. “I, for one, am looking forward to hosting the world’s best in my home city.” 

Somehow, we get the feeling he’s not alone.

The 11th annual Diego World Class Bartender of the Year Global Final will take place in Sydney in spring of 2020. To find out more about World Class, visit

Ready to start bending the elbow? Head to one of Sydney's 50 best bars.

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