Fitzroy boozer Black Pearl has been named best international cocktail bar at the prestigious Spirited Awards held last week in New Orleans.
The ceremony, sometimes referred to as "the Oscars of bar awards", was part of the annual Tales of the Cocktail event, a trade-facing festival and conference for the bar and spirits industry.
"'Stellar' is the only way we can describe the win," says Black Pearl general manager Chris Hysted-Adams. "We're still shell-shocked. When you start bartending, the Spirited Awards are the ones you aspire to be part of, but most of the time the accolades go to bars in traditional cocktail hubs like London and New York.
"I'm not saying we do what we do to win awards, but to be seen on the same stage as legends you look up to is pretty special."
The Brunswick Street bar edged past fellow group finalists Le Syndicat and Little Red Door (both from Paris) and Edinburgh's Bramble to claim the award.
According to Spirited Awards criteria, the trophy "recognises the international bar that has set the highest of standards and influenced cocktail trends, on a global level, over the past year." Judges considerations include cocktail quality, atmosphere and bar team talent.
Founded by Tash Conte and her family in 2002, Black Pearl had a major refurbishment two years ago but still serves "mum's sausage rolls" and still knows how to balance serious cocktails with seriously fun times.
"We're have a strong team and there's a family atmosphere every time you walk in," says Hysted-Adams. "The big thing for us is making sure that people have a really good time in a warm and welcoming environment."
The Pearl team will now start organising the bar's 15th birthday celebrations for August and Hysted-Adams says it will almost certainly be a larger party than originally planned.
"Knowing we're still relevant and people love what we're doing means the world to us."
304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy; 03 9417 0455; blackpearlbar.com.au