Sydney’s strong bar scene continues to be recognised by The World’s 50 Best Bars awards, which were announced this week in London.

For the second year, 1950s Vegas-inspired cocktail bar Maybe Sammy was included, voted in at number 11, up from 43 in the 2019 list. Also in the top 50 was tiny mezcal mecca Cantina Ok! at 28 and hidden Bulletin Place, voted in at 39. All three are located in Sydney’s CBD.

The number-one bar of the year went to London’s Connaught Bar. “This Mayfair hotel bar’s trick is it isn’t trend-chasing and flash,” said the judges. “…It evolves from one year to the next, always delivering with poise and studied purpose.” The number-two spot was awarded to Dante in New York and three went to The Clumsies in Athens.

The World’s 50 Best Bars also publishes an extended 51–100 list, which included four Australian bars this year, all from Australia’s other strong cocktail-bar city: Melbourne. They were The Everleigh at 73, Byrdi at 80, Above Board at 84 and Black Pearl at 98. Last year was the first time since the awards began 12 years ago that Black Pearl wasn’t featured on the top 50 list (it placed at 80).

The judges said of Australia’s highest-ranking bar: “Each new visit to Maybe Sammy brings surprise. That surprise might arrive in the statuette form of a flamingo while you’re sipping on one of the best Martinis you’ve ever tasted (surreptitiously placed by a bartender when your back was turned).”

Maybe Sammy also picked up the annual Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, which recognises one bar in the world where industry experts declared they received the single best hospitality experience at, during the voting period.

First published in 2009, The World’s 50 Best Bars is an annual ranking of bars as voted for by more than 500 drinks experts from across the globe. It’s owned and organised by William Reed Business Media, the group also behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Find the full list here.

The Everleigh Photography: Laura May Grogan