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Inner-Sydney venues dominate Time Out Bar Awards


BY JAMES WILKINSON

Sydney’s small, hip and inner-urban venues were the big winners at the third annual Time Out Sydney Bar Awards, held at Porteño in Surry Hills last night (Oct 25).


Stars of Eau de Vie: Sven Almenning, Max Greco,
Barry Chalmers and Philip Gandevia

All located within a three kilometre radius and many under 12 months old, the winners of the prestigious Awards not only showcased the best of the harbour city, but also how far Sydney has come in its bar revolution.

Deal Or No Deal’s Andrew O’Keefe hosted the Awards, which saw the major gongs on the night going to Darlinghurst’s Shady Pines Saloon and Eau de Vie.

Shady Pines Saloon won Bar of the Year and Bartender of the Year (Anton Forte), while Eau de Vie, inside the Kirketon Hotel, was named Best New Bar and Best Cocktail Bar.

Eau de Vie owner, Sven Almenning, told SpiceNews he was ecstatic with the win last night, which came on the back of winning Bar Manager of Year (Barry Chalmers) at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA) last week, and Bar of the Year at the Australian Gourmet Traveller 2011 Restaurant Awards in late August.

“We were absolutely thrilled to win Best New Bar and Cocktail Bar just nine months after opening,” he said. “It was totally unexpected, especially at this short stage in the bar’s history.

“To win Cocktail Bar was so important to us, because it’s what we do and what we sell, while Best New Bar just topped it off,” Almenning said.

The winners of the Time Out 2011 Bar Awards were:
Bar of the Year – Shady Pines Saloon, Darlinghurst
Best New Bar – Eau de Vie, Darlinghurst
People’s Choice – The Lincoln, Kings Cross
Best Small Bar – The Commons, Surry Hills
Best Cocktail Bar – Eau de Vie, Darlinghurst
Best Bartender – Anton Forte (Shady Pines Saloon, Darlinghrst)
Best Pub – The Shakespeare, Surry Hills
Best Wine Bar – The Wine Library, Paddington
Best Entertainment – Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst
Best Design – Bentley Restaurant and Bar, Surry Hills
Best Bar Food – Four in Hand, Paddington
Responsible Service – Absinthe Salon, Surry Hills
Hall of Fame – The Old Fitzroy, Woolloomooloo

The Awards – which featured cocktails from 42 Below, Green Fairy, Patron and Tuaca, and a performance from Sydney band The Snowdroppers – coincided with the launch of Time Out Sydney’s Bar Guide 2011, a comprehensive 126-page book that comes free with the November issue of Time Out Sydney magazine.


Shady’s man: Bartender of the Year, Anton Forte

Time Out Sydney Bar Guide Editor, and the magazine’s Food and Drink Editor, Myffy Rigby, said bars in the city continue to evolve, especially those on the smaller side.

“Things have changed in Sydney,” she said. “We now have American-style dive bars such as the Flinders and Time Out’s Bar of the Year, Shady Pines Saloon (and) small bars are now a reality, not just a pipe dream.

“We’re not forced to choose between pubs or super-expensive cocktail bars anymore, though we still have plenty of both.

“Bartenders are opening bars they want to drink at – not just places they think Sydneysiders want – and that’s made all the difference,” Rigby said.

Host venue of the Time Out Bar Awards, Porteño, which opened in mid-September, has continued its rapid rise in the food and drink scene and is expected to dominate the Awards of national and Sydney magazines alike during 2011.

Porteño, owned by Bodega’s Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz, is located in a former Greek taverna and features two levels, including a courtyard-style setting downstairs and uber-cool bar upstairs run by leading mixologist Julian Serna.

The restaurant’s popularity as an event venue continues next week, when it hosts Sydney’s hottest Melbourne Cup party, Foxes and Hounds.

Conceived by fashion designer and creative event director Alex Zabotto Bentley alongside Yakusan’s Gilles Merry and Mark Ward, Foxes and Hounds not only features South American-inspired cocktails and food from Porteño, but a salon-style fashion show featuring creations from designers Alex Perry, Jayson Brunsdon and Donny Galella.

Yakusan were previously involved in Sydney’s SOHNYE09 party at the Sydney Opera House, while Zabotto Bentley is best known for not only being a leading creative director in the events industry, but from his former label Fashion Assassin and as a guest judge on TV show Project Runway.

The November issue of Time Out Sydney, featuring the 2011 Bar Guide, is on sale tomorrow, October 27, for $3.95.