There was rum, sun and even a smattering of tropical shirts on Monday night, November 25, as the inaugural Time Out Melbourne Bar Awards – Melbourne’s only consumer-based awards – went down on the Emerson’s brand new rooftop bar in South Yarra.
More than 300 of the city’s bar industry leaders from the young guns to the seasoned professionals rocked up to soak up the sun with Time Out readers, and toast the winners with Havana Club rum cocktails, Sail and Anchor beers, Rekorderlig ciders and Tempus Two wines. Later, everyone danced the night away as the venue was filled with tunes from headliner Dune, followed up by Melbourne’s best party starter DJ, Andrew McClelland in conjunction with Time Out's entertainment partner AV 24/7.
The crowd went wild as Black Pearl picked up Bar of the Year, and wilder again when the Hall of Fame award was presented to Fitzroy pub legend the Standard.
Cuban rum den Los Barbudos went home with Best New Bar and the Carlton Club took the prize for People’s Choice – an award decided by more than 1,000 Time Out readers.
“It’s great to have so many new and established bars in the winning mix,” said Time Out Melbourne food and drink editor Gemima Cody. “It recognises that Melbourne’s incredible bar scene isn’t a new phenomenon or a flash in the pan – good drinking underpins this city and it isn’t going anywhere soon.”
The night also marked the launch of the second annual Time Out Melbourne Bar Guide, listing the winners and ranking Melbourne’s best bars from 1-50. Among those were the city’s new reigning champion of wine bars, Bellota, and beautiful Japanese cocktail bar Hihou, which was named Best Small Bar.
The accolade for Best Cocktail Bar went undisputedly to Golden Era speakeasy the Everleigh, while Andrew McConnell’s new wine bar, Cumulus Up, took home the gong for Best Bar Food.
On the talent front, it was all back slaps and fist pumping when Black Pearl’s Evan Stanley was recognised as the Best Bartender while Sarah Fulford, the pocket rocket from Lily Blacks, was honoured by her peers with the Hot Talent award. Craft beer saw the Alehouse Project named champion of pubs, while a strong agenda of bocce, table tennis and live music saw Mr Wow’s Emporium made king of entertainment.
And the winners are:
Bar of the year
Best New Bar
Best Wine Bar
Best Cocktail Bar
Best Small Bar
Best Bar Food