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. 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. 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 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