Time Out Sydney

Meet some of the talented contestants from this year's World Class competition

Andy Penney, 21

Say hi to Andy Penney - dark overlord of Sydney drinking and one of the most talented bartenders in this fair city of ours. You’ll find him at 21 - the late night Kings Cross haunt where the drinks come short, sharp and loud. His ultimate bar if money, time, space and reality were no object? “A bar that only served Budweiser and Jack Daniels, played sport on a rickety old tv, had a radio behind the bar for a sound system and didn't let anyone in,” says Penney, “set in the Renaissance.”
His bartending heroes may be industry luminaries such as Dale Degroff, Garry Regan, Johnny Brooks, Gregor De Gunther, Angus Winchester and Salvatore Calabrase but the reason he got involved in bartending? “Girls.”

Andy Penney's World Class cocktail

Alyce Murphy, Cargo Lounge

“At a venue like Cargo Lounge, you wouldn't survive without a blade.”

So says Alyce Murphy - bartender and Queens of the Stone Age fan (“they’re never off my iPod”) at one of Sydney’s busiest waterside bars. Murphy has climbed the hospitality ladder, from dish pig to fine dining, and now bartending. Her off-duty tipple is an easy one: vodka and apple juice. “There's nothing more simple and delicious,” she says. Her dream venue is “a bare bones bar with lots of dingy and dark nulls with hints of Southside America. One small, neat cove with a comfy chair where I get to drink. No one is able to see me but I'm able to see everyone. And a cocktail menu that speaks volumes for people who like the taste of liquor - Bourbon Sours and Sazeracs, as well as vodka (any kind, I can barely taste the difference when mixed) and apple juice for me. There's also a teleporting machine to Vegas.”

Alyce Murphy's World Class cocktail

Charlie Ainsbury, Eau de Vie

If you haven’t had a cocktail made by 26 year old gun Charles AKA Charlie AKA Chino Ainsbury, you should be ashamed to call yourself a Sydneysider. The Bayswater Brasserie alumnus is studied in the fine art of tasty drinks and good vinyl. He’s currently listening to the Black Keys and Tom Waits and live radio feed from the Vancouver Canucks. Because when you need a rest from Waits, you immediately think ice hockey. His ultimate bar, if money were no object, is “PJ Clarke's in midtown Manhattan, Tommy’s in San Francisco as well as Zig Zag cafe in Seattle, blended - that’s my ultimate bar.” While Ainsbury is a master of the mixed drink, you’ll find him nursing a beer in his downtime. Admittedly, it’ll be chased down with a Negroni - cocktail of choice of one of his bartending heroes - Marco Faraone.  And the most important thing to him in the bar? “Guests. Always the guests.”

Charlie Ainsbury's World Class cocktail

Collin Perillo, Zeta Bar

Collin Perillo’s ultimate bar, if time, money and space were no object, is not on the moon. It’s not under the sea captured in a world-sized oxygen dome strangled by a giant squid. It is not made of gold, staffed by naked dwarves pouring lava Champagne fountains. Nope. It’s Milk and Honey in London. We don’t blame him, really. It’s a pretty good bar. When he’s not banging the Toby tins at Zeta bar, he’s listening to Gotye and drinking Los Abuelos tequila. He’s a man with simple yet refined tastes, with a philosophy to match: “I believe a well done bar makes the world a better place for those who enjoy it, one drink at a time.”

Collin Perillo’s World Class cocktail

Jimmy Snelgrove, Ms G’s

Don’t get up in Snelgrove’s face unless you’ve got good chunky ice and an attitude to match. The 25-year-old bartender is currently manning the shakers at Potts Point’s mod Asian haven, Ms G’s. His heroes aren’t your Jerry Thomases or E. Emburys but rather modern day Aussie drinks fanatics who you’ll still find working the bar including Oliver Stuart, Ben Davidson and Dan Gregory. When he’s not mixing up a storm at his bar, you’ll find him on the other side with a straight shootin’ Daiquiri. And what of his ultimate bar? “A pop up tiki bar on the beach: just beers, shots and a good time for all.”

Jimmy Snelgrove's World Class cocktail

Jason Williams, The Loft

So when we asked a selection of Australia’s World Class contestants to describe their ultimate bar, we got some very creative answers. But only one person had an imagination bar that hovered. Meet 28-year-old Jason Williams.  His bar not only hovers but also has “a sunken pool bar, hot dogs, loads of great spirits, fun bartenders, and blue cocktails. That’s the bar I want to drink in, though.” Williams is one of Australia’s most prolific bartenders. He may have started off in bartending for the late nights and the parties but he stayed in it for the people and the chat. He moved to Sydney from Melbourne mid-last year and has quickly cemented himself as someone to take seriously on the drinks scene. Sip up straight and take note, Sydney.

Jason Williams' World Class cocktail

Michael Chiem, Black by Ezard

Been to Black by Ezard yet? The bar is well worth a visit, if only for bartender Michael Chiem’s barrel aged cocktails. This is a guy who lists Chris McMillian  (the man with a voice like torn concrete who makes arguably the best Mint Julep in the entire world) under his bartending heroes. “Mint Juleps? So what?” We hear you say. McMillian is also one of the most incredible bartenders in the business - the New Orleans drinks god can turn an order for a Strawberry Cream Swizzle into a dry Martini in two beats. But we digress - back to Chiem, who got his first bartending gig after returning home from overseas trip with empty pockets. Boatrockers Hoppbier is his drink of choice when he’s not serving thirsty Sydneysiders and you won’t catch him working without a good mixing glass. But the most important thing to him in a bar? “At the risk of sounding cheesy... the people behind it.”

Michael Chiem’s World Class cocktail

 Natalie Ng, Hugo’s Bar Pizza

Want to make this 26-year-old pint of firecrackers the happiest bartender in Sydney? Give her a Margarita. Apt, really, considering her bartending heroes include US drinks aficionado Gary Reagan and Sydney tequila master, Phil Bayley. Hell, the man boasts a larger range of tequila at his bar Café Pacifico than anyone else in Australia. It was her love of tequila that got her into bartending in the first place. That, and her love of Tom Cruise. Fact.  

Natalie Ng's World Class cocktail

Sebastien Derbomez, Hemmesphere

“You are nothing behind a busy bar without your team.” Sebastien Derbomez is a man who knows which side is up. And in a table-service only bar like Hemmesphere, there’s no room for chat - it’s all business all the time. The cocktail list at this late night bar is a serious piece of work but you’re more likely to find Derbomez with a glass of wine than a rum Old Fashioned on his nights off. “White or red - it depends on my mood,” says the 30-year-old bartender. He first became interested in the business to “get creative with cocktails but above all, the guests. It can be so rewarding to serve someone a good drink and see them leave with a smile on their face.”

Sebastien Derbomez's World Class cocktail

Tom Price, Goldfish

Tom Price dreams of a bar we want to drink in. It’d be “me and all my mates in a bar in my backyard making drinks for people who really appreciate them. With Daft Punk playing in their light up robot suits.” Count us in, Price. The 24-year-old bartender actually started on the other side of the bar. “Noriel Calub (from Goldfish) made me every single classic he could think of.” Price’s heroes are a mix of mad Sydney cocktailians like Dr Phil Gandevia (winner of Time Out’s Hot Talent category at the Time Out Bar Awards) and Luke Redington from Eau de Vie, Dardan Shervashidze form Café Sydney and the world famous man behind NYC’s Milk and Honey, Sasha Petraske. When he’s having a relax and a kick back, Price digs on a Last Word.

Tom Price's World Class cocktail

Wayne Shennen, Sake Restaurant and Bar

Wayne Shennen came to bartending via database developing after an injury. “Bartending seemed to be an interesting way to make ends meet,” he says. “Funnily enough I drink less now! And I know it might come as a shock, but bar tending is more fun.” We’re shocked, Shennen. What could be more fun than coding and spreadsheets? Drinking a bunch of Japanese whiskeys and Ron Zacapa XO, seemingly. The most essential thing in his bar, in fact, is the house-infused chilli vodka. “The plan is to make it so strong a glance at the bottle will hurt you if you have an allergy. And it keeps developing the longer you infuse, so it's better every day.”

Wayne Shennen's World Class cocktail

Jessica Arnott, Victoria Room

There’s somebody out there who loves Lanie Lane even more than the team at Time Out. And that is Victoria Room’s bar manager, Jessica Arnott. She’s also a big fan of
Kitty Daisy and Lewis, although it sounds as if she plays it one more time she’s running the risk of a mid-shift shanking. “Everyone at my work is sick to death of me playing [the album] every single day!” Off the clock means Arnott is on the cider with a shot of rum on the side - an action best repeated over the course of the evening. And the most important thing in her bar? “It's my funny, talented and gorgeous team of bartenders that brings the bar to life.”

Jessica Arnott's World Class cocktail

Daniel Molnar, Stitch

26-year-old Daniel Molnar loves rum. We mean, he really loves it. When he asked him what his favourite off-duty drink was, it was all “rum, rum, and more rum.” It was a cocktail shaker he was given for Christams that got him interested in bartending, but it’s ice tools that keep him in the game. His ultimate bar would be “a stylish and classy cigar bar with live swing and jazz every night.”

Daniel Molnar's World Class cocktail


More on the World Class cocktail competition

Who won the bar awards?

First published on . Updated on .

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