World's 50 Best Bar Awards: Sydney's Baxter Inn and Melbourne's Black Pearl make top 10

Nick Miller
Experts voted Sydney's The Baxter Inn on Clarence Street as the sixth-best bar in the world. It is the highest rated ...
Experts voted Sydney's The Baxter Inn on Clarence Street as the sixth-best bar in the world. It is the highest rated Australian bar.  Photo: Domino Postiglione

London: New York and London are still the place to be if you like your drinks delicious, absurdly creative and massively expensive.

But two Australian bars are among the top 10 in the world, and two more have made it into the latest list of the World's 50 Best Bars.

The World's 50 Best Bar Awards are voted by industry insiders, through a worldwide survey run by Drinks International magazine. They are now in their sixth year.

The Black Pearl on Brunswick Street.
The Black Pearl on Brunswick Street. Photo: The Black Pearl

Sydney's Baxter Inn came in sixth on the 2015 list after three London and two New York drinking holes. It is the highest an Australian bar has ever ranked (along with the Bayswater Brasserie in Sydney in 2009).

And Melbourne's Black Pearl came in at number 10, a huge improvement from its position at No. 37 last year.

Melbourne's The Everleigh came in at No. 25, and Sydney's Bulletin Place at 28.

Baxter Inn owner Anton Forte says Sydney's bar scene is still rocking despite the new drinking curfew in the CBD.
Baxter Inn owner Anton Forte says Sydney's bar scene is still rocking despite the new drinking curfew in the CBD. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Baxter Inn owner Anton Forte, an East Brunswick lad who moved north to open some of Sydney's most successful bars, said it was "so cool" to be recognised by his peers, and it meant "lots more drinking, a ridiculous piss up for the team, and a lot more busy nights behind the stick".

Forte said Sydney's new lockout laws were proving a "total ball ache", though "the plus side is my home cellar is getting a solid workout".

But despite the damage to his business from the city's new drinking curfew the bar scene in Sydney is still rocking, he said.

Cocktails at Artesian Bar at London's Langham Hotel. The Artesian was voted the World's Best Bar by industry experts in ...
Cocktails at Artesian Bar at London's Langham Hotel. The Artesian was voted the World's Best Bar by industry experts in a worldwide survey for Drinks International magazine. Photo: Photograph supplied.

Recently he's noticed a move away from the "crumb-tender", educational style of bar tending, Forte said.

"There's a place for sharing knowledge but I think it can be at the cost of the customer. A bartender shouldn't grandstand, correct pronunciation or educate. A bartender should serve folks booze and good times."

Australian bars' service, drinks and party vibe were world class, he said though "our venue fit-outs could be heaps better".

Forte was looking over his shoulder at several rivals, he said.

"Bulletin Place has the best drinks in the world. Lobo Plantation creates such amazing buzz and atmosphere. And the New Sydney Hotel in Hobart exemplifies everything good about Australian pub culture. I love that bloody place!"

Bars in the top 50 list were found in cities around the world. However, the best place for a superior, wallet-and-liver-destroying cocktail bar crawl was London (9 in the top 50) followed by New York (with eight).

The world's best bar title was again claimed by Artesian, a cocktail bar at London's Langham Hotel.

Head bartender Alex Kratena is widely admired in the industry. His current "Surrealism" cocktail menu claims to "allow guests to delve into their subconscious".

It features cocktails called "Seconds Before Awakening", "Spring Drifting Into Summer" and "Fast Money Comes at a Dangerous Price".

There is probably more than a half-shot of irony in the cocktail "Death of the Hipster", which also features coffee, jasmine, oak smoke and elderflower.

Kratena experiments with vapours, aromas and exotic glassware. Even the ice is made in-house.

The official list – World's 50 Best Bar Awards 2015

1. Artesian, London

2. The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, New York

3. Nightjar, London

4. Employees Only, New York

5. American Bar, London

6. The Baxter Inn, Sydney

7. 28 Hongkong Street, Singapore

8. Happiness Forgets, London

9. Connaught Bar, London

10. Black Pearl, Melbourne

11. Attaboy, New York

12. Candelaria, Paris

13. High Five, Tokyo

14. The Broken Shaker, Miami

15. Canon, Seattle

16. Buck & Breck, Berlin

17. Imperial Craft, Tel Aviv

18. Lobster Bar, Hong Kong

19. Le Lion Bar de Paris, Hamburg

20. Licoreria Limantour, Mexico City

21. The Jerry Thomas Project, Rome

22. The Clumsies, Athens

23. Maison Premiere, New York

24. Elephant Bar, New York

25. The Everleigh, Melbourne

26. White Lyan, London

27. Beaufort Bar, London

28. Bulletin Place, Sydney

29. Aviary, Chicago

30. Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam

31. Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco

32. Delicatessen, Moscow

33. Door 74, Amsterdam

34. Ruby, Copenhagen

35. Manhattan, Singapore

36. Nomad Bar, New York

37. PDT, New York

38. Mace, New York

39. Quinary, Hong Kong

40. Trick Dog, San Francisco

41. 69 Colebrooke Row, London

42. Dry Martini, Barcelona

43. Schumann's, Munich

44. Zuma Dubai, Dubai

45. La Factoria, Old San Juan

46. Nottingham Forest, Milan

47. Tommy's, San Francisco

48. Lost & Found, Cyprus

49. Little Red Door, Paris

50. Dandelyan, London

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