World's 50 Best Bars awards: Sydney leads Australia's showing with three spots on the list

Maybe Sammy: a grand hotel cocktail bar, without the hotel.
Maybe Sammy: a grand hotel cocktail bar, without the hotel. Photo: Anna Kucera

Sydney bars Maybe Sammy, Cantina OK! and Re Bar, plus Melbourne's Above Board, were among The World's 50 Best Bars named early this morning in a live ceremony from London. It was a convincing roar to life for the harbour city, after lockout laws introduced in 2014 earned it the nickname "the city that ever sleeps". The laws were gradually wound back from January 2020.

London's Connaught was crowned best bar in the world for the second year in a row, followed by Tayer + Elementary in the same city and Paradiso in Barcelona. The top 10 was a globe-trotting assortment of venues from St Petersburg to Buenos Aires.

At No.22, Maybe Sammy was the highest ranked Australian venue on the list, although it was a drop from its showing at No.11 last year.

The 50 Best voting panel described Maybe Sammy as "a grand hotel cocktail bar ... but with more vibrance and whimsy (and without the hotel)".

Laneway mezcal specialist Cantina OK! was applauded for its attention to detail, including hand-shaved ice for its margaritas, while Above Board's typically Melbourne location down a sketchy laneway was highlighted for its contrast to the bar's classically made drinks without any clutter or fanfare.

Cantina OK! was praised for its mezcal-based cocktails made with hand-shaved ice.
Cantina OK! was praised for its mezcal-based cocktails made with hand-shaved ice. Photo: Nikki To

Sustainability-focused Re in Sydney's Eveleigh was recognised for taking blemished or excess produce and creating impressive drinks on par with the best in the business. It also earned the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award.

"I am overjoyed. We all are," said Re owner Matt Whiley in a statement.

Above Board shared an Instagram post this morning that read: "We are beyond proud and excited and grateful that our little slice of heaven in Collingwood, Melbourne has made it onto the world stage."

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The rest of the World's 50 Best list included 18 new entries, and bars from 17 countries. Mexico City was well represented; India had its first bar on the list since 2010, Sidecar in New Delhi; and Singapore had the most bars of any city in the world, with six venues.

Melbourne bar Byrdi made the long list, coming in at number 56 last week.

In light of worldwide travel restrictions, the voting panel of 600 independent drinks authorities were allowed to cast votes based on their visits to bars from March 2020 through to September 2021.