First published on 6 Sep 2010. Updated on 4 Oct 2011.
ANTON FORTE, SHADY PINES
The owner and bartender at this popular Surry Hills bar is as laid-back as they come. And yet, behind the shoot-from-the-hip attitude, cheeky grin and mop of curls is a highly skilled bartender who has worked at the likes of Lotus and the Oxford Art Factory. His cocktail skills are par excellence, but he can also rip the top off a stubby with incredibly panache. Shop 5, 256 Crown St, Darlinghurst 2010.
ANDY PENNEY, THE FLINDERS
Bayswater Brasserie alum Andy Penney has the sort of resume most bartenders can only dream of. His rap sheet includes time at New York's Milk and Honey and Wellington's Matterhorn. He's now working the jugs at the newly revamped Flinders, where drinks come short and dirty. 63 Flinders St, Darlinghurst 2010. (02 9356 3622).
BARRY CHALMERS, EAU DE VIE
Barry Chalmers, Glasgow's most charming export, manages the bar at Eau de Vie.His pedigree includes Brisbane's the Bowery and Skyroom. Now Sydney's got its claws into him, we're not letting go. His incredible drinks knowledge paired with the ability to make anyone at all comfortable in his bar make him a force to be reckoned with. 229 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst 2010. (02 9357 2470).
BENITO DROVANDI, TOKONOMA
Tending bar at Tokonoma can be a challenge on a jam-packed Saturday night but this seasoned bartender can take the strain. Drovandi, who tended bar at Sticky when it first opened, loves a chat and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cocktails. He's skilled, too, and can make anything on or off the list. 490 Crown St, Surry Hills 2010. (02 9357 6100).
BLAKE HEAD, ROCKPOOL BAR AND GRILL
New Zealand born and bred, Blake Head has been around the block. Before manhandling the tins at Rockpool Bar and Grill, Head helped open Bondi summer hotspot Cream Tangerine as well as manning the bar for a number of years at Lotus. His easy manner and mad talents make him a favourite with Sydney barflies. 66 Hunter St, Sydney 2000. (02 8078 1900).
More Time Out Sydney Bar Awards 2011 coverage