Whether you notice the way the golden-hour light hits the timber at a rooftop cocktail bar, or how the colours dance on the walls through blue and yellow glass panes at a favourite long-lunch spot, a venue’s design makes us feel something when we’re there. It might be energising, calming, welcoming or inspiring.

In this year’s Eat Drink Design Awards shortlist, the feeling that’s emerging from the best hospitality designs across Australia and New Zealand is a sense of comfort.

“We are certainly seeing a desire for nostalgia at present,” says the awards’ jury chair Cassie Hansen, editor of Artichoke magazine, in a statement. “Diners and designers are seeking comfort to soothe our tired brains.

“In this not-quite-post-Covid period, the interiors and design we saw entered this year evoke a comfortable ease, and a longing for familiar and humble interiors that remind us of yesteryear – of Nonna’s house or an old pub – without simple mimicry.”

The Eat Drink Design Awards recognise excellence and innovation in the design of restaurants, bars, cafes, nightclubs, temporary venues and retail spaces across Australia and New Zealand. There are seven categories: Best Restaurant Design, Best Cafe Design, Best Bar Design, Best Hotel Design, Best Installation Design, Best Retail Design and Best Identity Design.

This year’s jury includes Masterchef Australia judge Melissa Leong, Vue de Monde restaurateur and chef Shannon Bennett, architects Rodney Eggleston (March Studio) and Fiona Lynch (Fiona Lynch Office), and Hansen.

“Architecture and design has become as much an attraction for the public as a venue’s food or offering. When the client invests in design, to create not only a memorable interior but an experience, the crowds will follow. There are definitely some bold and memorable venues this year,” says Hansen.

The full shortlist is below, spanning projects completed between July 2020 and June 2022. The award winners will be announced on November 10.

Koi, Sydney

Best restaurant design
Flame – Altis Architecture, Sydney
Jane – Luchetti Krelle, Sydney
Koi – Loop Creative, Sydney
Loam Sydney – Flack Studio, Sydney
Lola’s Level 1 – H and E Architects, Sydney
Lucky Kwong – APS Design, Sydney
Meet Fresh – Wall Architects, Sydney
Olea – Guru Projects, Sydney
Santa Caterina – Guru Projects, Sydney
Shell House – Woods Bagot, Sydney
St Alma – Five Foot One Design, Sydney
The Heke – Izzard Design, Auckland
Ursula’s – Brahman Perera, Sydney
Woodcut Restaurant – Loop Creative, Sydney
Patina at Alumni Court – DM2 Architecture, Brisbane
Picnicka – CTRL Space, Tauranga
Stratton Bar & KItchen – Newstead Hospitality Group, Brisbane
Sunset – CTRL Space, Auckland
Arkhé – Studio Gram, Adelaide
Press Food and Wine – Claire Kneebone, Adelaide
Van Bone – Laura Simone, Tasmania
Archer’s – DKO Docklands, Melbourne
BKK – Dion Hall, Melbourne
Cappo Sociale – Emma Tulloch Architects, Melbourne
Copycat Bar and Restaurant – Techne Architecture and Interior Design Elsternwick, Melbourne
Di Stasio Carlton – Hassell, Melbourne
Entrecote Prahran – Brahman Perera, Melbourne
Grill Americano – Mitchell and Eades, Melbourne
Her Bar – Dion Hall, Melbourne
Hubert Estate – Cera Stribley, Victoria
Moonhouse – Ewert Leaf, Victoria
Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca – Studio Co, Melbourne
Sakura Kaiten Sushi – Bergman and Co, Melbourne
Sou’West Brewery – Ewert Leaf, Victoria
Stringers Sorrento – Chris Connell Design, Victoria
Tippy Tay – Techne Architecture and Interior Design with Eleisha Gray Design, Melbourne
Untitled – Flack Studio, Melbourne
Gage Roads Fremantle – Finespun, Fremantle

Ursula’s, Sydney

Best cafe design
Blackwood Bondi – Richards Stanisich, Sydney
No Vacancy Gallery and Cafe – Ware Architects, Melbourne
O’Gabee & Co Coffee Roastery – Ni Design, Brisbane
The Common – Sullivan Skinner, Brisbane
Ovo – Georgina Shepherd Interior Designer, Adelaide
Casa Nata – Vania Marotta and Pepper and Well, Melbourne
Code Black – We are Humble, Melbourne
Compass South – Flack Studio, Melbourne
Dame – Bergman and Co, Melbourne
First Love Coffee – Fiona Drago Architect, Melbourne
Good Chemistry – Flack Studio, Sydney
Juno – Ritz and Ghougassian McKinnon, Melbourne
My Oh My – We are Humble, Melbourne
Upstanding Citizens – We are Humble, Melbourne

Loam, Sydney

Best bar design
Arturo’s – Luchetti Krelle, Sydney
Banco – Tom Mark Henry, Sydney
Frank Mac’s – Buck and Simple, Sydney
King Tide Brewing – The Design Cupboard, NSW
Leyla – Luchetti Krelle, Canberra
Mount Pleasant Wines – Luchetti Krelle, NSW
Paski Vineria Popolare – Silvester Fuller, Sydney
The Woollahra Hotel – Richards Stanisich, Sydney
Waterfront Tavern – H and E Architects, NSW
Woolly Bay Hotel – Luchetti Krelle, Sydney
Valley Hops Brewing – Jumble and Stack, Brisbane
Auterra Wine Bar – IF Architecture, Vic Bar Alba – Buchan, Vic
Bar Navi – Finnis, Vic
Clocktower Bar – Woods Bagot, Sydney
Four Pillars Gin Distillery 2.0 – Breathe, Vic
Good Measure – We are Humble, Melbourne
Her Rooftop – Tamsin Johnson, Melbourne
Lobby Bar Ace Hotel Sydney – Flack Studio, Sydney
Music Room – Dion Hall, Melbourne
Naught Gin – Studio Y, Melbourne
The Bay Hotel – Studio Y, Vic

Bar Alba, Victoria

Best hotel design
Ace Hotel Sydney – Flack Studio, Sydney
Silky Oaks Lodge – Hunt Design & Pike Withers, Qld
Naumi Studio Hotel Wellington – Material Creative, Wellington, NZ
Holiday Inn Werribee – Studio Tate Werribee, Vic
Hyatt Centric – Hecker Guthrie & Architectus, Melbourne
Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands – DKO, Melbourne

Best installation design
Adelaide Festival Pavilion – The Summerhouse – CO-AP, Adelaide
Penfolds Restaurants – Australian Open 2022 – Chard International Richmond, Vic

Best retail design
El Jannah Burwood – MADA Studio, NSW
Loulou Bistro – H and E Architects, Sydney
Top Impression Bakery Cafe – Vie Studio, Sydney
Alba – Studio Shibui and H and G Designs, Noosa Heads, Qld
Bird in Hand Private Cellar Door – Enoki, SA
Baker Bleu Hawksburn – IF Architecture, Melbourne
Breadwinner – Flack Studio, Melbourne
Handpicked Wines Melbourne – Platform by Design Office, Melbourne
Lune Croissanterie Armadale – Ewert Leaf, Vic
Piccolina Hawthorn – Hecker Guthrie, Melbourne
Pronto by Via Porta – Studio Esteta, Melbourne
Sulbing Cafe – T-A Square, Melbourne
Up In Smoke, Watergardens – Architects EAT Taylors Lakes, Vic
Via Porta Bakehouse – Studio Esteta Hawthorn, Vic
Victor Churchill Melbourne – Loop Creative, Melbourne
Tom’s Providore and Wine Bar – Mata Design Studio Perth

SouWest Brewery, Victoria

Best identity design
Dean & Nancy on 22 – The Bar Brand People, Sydney
GellaFrenda – The Colour Club, Penrith
Gowings Bar & Grill – Toben, Sydney
Roxy’s – Fortis, Sydney
Mary Mary – Years Months Days, Hobart
The Still – Stories We Tell, Hobart
Black Star Pastry Chadstone – Studio Ongarato, Melbourne
Bonnie – Principle Design, Wahgunyah, Vic
Di Stasio Carlton – Pidgeon Ward, Melbourne
Entrecote Prahran – Caboodle and Co Hospitality, Melbourne
Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca – Congrats Agency, Melbourne
Society – Studio Ongarato, Melbourne
The Bay Hotel – Uppercase Studio Mornington, Vic
Cooee – Two From Two, Perth