Australia is set to be inspired by its own vibrant bar culture with the World Class Cocktail Festival taking place in Sydney from 28 April to 2 May 2021.
Reigniting our love affair with outstanding hospitality, quality dining, award-winning cocktails and celebrating our nation’s best bartending talent, World Class Cocktail Festival marks a significant milestone for the hospitality industry, as it welcomes customers back to bars and restaurants for the moments they’ve been missing, plus a whole lot more. Seven of the World’s 100 Best Bars are in Australia and every one of them are included in the festival lineup. The exciting schedule of events and unexpected partnerships is set to give the world a glimpse of what they can expect when the world’s most prestigious cocktail competition, Global Bartender of the Year, comes to Sydney in 2022.
On Tuesday 27 April, the country’s very best bartenders will battle it out to be crowned Australian World Class Bartender of the Year, with the winner moving on to represent Australia virtually in the global World Class Bartender of the Year finals in July.
From Wednesday 28 April, the bustling suburb of Surry Hills and Sydney’s CBD will come alive with the World Class Cocktail Festival, five days of bespoke cocktails, live entertainment, pop-up events, immersive brand experiences and dining collaborations, all championing the very best of Sydney’s diverse bar scene.
As the official festival ’Main Stage’, Paramount House will feature luxury brand collaborations, including Don Julio tequila and Ketel One Botanical vodka offering one-of-a-kind experiences every day.
The festivities will flow into the nearby surrounds of Surry Hills and the CBD where the likes of Tanqueray No. TEN London dry gin, Belsazar vermouth and CÎROC vodka will offer a curation of unexpected activities for Sydney to take pleasure in for the very first time.
World Class Cocktail Festival will not only highlight Australia’s best bars and an international standard of cocktails – at just $15 each, but also hero the most highly regarded and awarded drinking destinations in our very own backyard.
Little Melbourne, Golden Age Bar
Wednesday 28 April to Sunday 2 May, 5pm-late
Melbourne’s reputation for hospitality shows up no better than in their incredible bar scene, so we’re paying tribute to our neighbouring city by celebrating a selection of their best! Award-winning Melbourne venues will take up temporary residence at the Golden Age Bar each evening, with an impressive lineup of bartending talent from the likes of Above Board, Black Pearl, Byrdi and The Everleigh (all featured in the World’s 100 Best Bars) coming to town to share their top Don Julio tipples with Sydneysiders.
Simon Johnson x Ketel One: The Truth About Caviar, Golden Age Bar
Saturday 1 May 2pm-5pm
Celebrating the increasingly popular vodka and caviar pairing in an afternoon titled ‘The Truth About Caviar’, the team from Simon Johnson, Purveyor of Quality Food, will offer unique tastings and education for guests to better understand this luxury ingredient and its history of being partnered with vodka. Ketel One vodka martinis will be served alongside a bump of caviar, or for the more inquisitive guests, a hosted in-depth 20 minute tasting experience.
Mexico’s Golden Age, Golden Age Cinema
Wednesday 28 April to Sunday 2 May
If you’re missing holidays abroad, Don Julio is going to transport you to Jalisco at Paramount House, where all week we bring the spirit of Mexico to life with a feast for the senses! For a cultural buzz, sip contemporary Don Julio tequila cocktails while you watch cinematic favourites celebrating some of Mexico’s most esteemed film directors at Golden Age Cinema. For a cultural buzz that pays homage to Mexico’s best, Don Julio has taken charge of the film schedule, screening Desperado, Like Water For Chocolate, El Mariachi, Brimstone & Glory and Pan’s Labyrinth.
Flex, Paramount Recreation Club
Saturday & Sunday, 10.30am-12.30pm
Saturday & Sunday, 2pm-8pm
The flexitarian lifestyle is all about balance and you can be your best self by nurturing and partying at the Paramount Recreation Club rooftop, where we will host mid-morning yoga sessions followed by a vegan feast and fresh tasting, zero alcohol Seedlip cocktails along with low calorie Ketel One Botanical spritz. Heading into the afternoon, the vibe ignites and the tunes will be flowing, as Don Julio hosts the ultimate sundowner sessions, offering signature margaritas and palomas.
Espresso Martini Project, Paramount Coffee Project
Wednesday 28 April to Thursday 29 April, 5pm-7pm
In partnership with PCP, and one for the true coffee connoisseur, Ketel One will be serving bespoke blend espresso martinis with your choice of Columbian or Ethiopian coffee beans.
Maybe Sammy – Maybe Sevilla (Closing Party)
Sunday 2 May, 4pm-12am
Three of the World’s 50 Best Bars are in Sydney and the highest on the list, placing 11th is the incredible, theatrical and formidable, Maybe Sammy. The team here will take honours hosting the World Class Cocktail Festival closing party, Spanish style. Tanqueray No. TEN & Tanqueray Sevilla cocktails will be a highlight of the night as the sounds of live Latin music will set the mood for the celebration as the week comes to a close and we send our new Australian Bartender of the Year to compete against the rest of the world as part of the global finals.
Cantina OK! – Mama OK!
Sunday 2 May, 2pm-8pm
A cultural collaboration never seen before, Cantina OK! (placed #28 in World’s Best Bars) is teaming up with cult kebab shop Shwarmama for Mama OK! – a unique Sunday pop-up where you can spend the afternoon enjoying tasty tacos and Don Julio margaritas.
Bulletin Place x Belsazar Place
Wednesday 28 April to Saturday 1 May, 5pm-late
Ranked 39th in the World’s Best Bars, Bulletin Place will introduce Belsazar Place, a long-term installation at the foot of their popular CBD establishment that takes inspiration from Berlin’s much loved small bar culture. Taking over part of the laneway, Belsazar Place will highlight the German Vermouth through a carefully curated cocktail list while bringing familiar German flavours to the fore with its bar snack menu including pretzels and onion dip, house pickled caraway carrots, and smoked curry almonds.
Some of Sydney’s most renowned new restaurants have teamed up with Diageo’s Reserve Brands to present a curated offering of ‘Cocktail Bites’ throughout the festival.
Africola Sound System x Hotel Harry x Don Julio
Wednesday 28 April to Saturday 1 May, 6:30pm and 8:30pm sittings
Adelaide’s infamous Africola Sound System takes over Level 1 of Hotel Harry in Surry Hills with Duncan Welgemoed and his team making the trip up to share a hot take on North African eats alongside an epic line-up of Don Julio cocktails and a sweet soundtrack from Godlands. Bookings essential.
Butter x CÎROC
Wednesday 28 April to Sunday 2 May, from 5pm
Cult burger brand Butter has teamed up with Luke Whearty from Byrdi (#80 World’s Best Bars) to create the limited edition ‘Dirty Byrdi’, a limited-edition Butter Fried Chicken (fat wash) CÎROC martini you’ll only be able to order throughout the festival.
Pamela’s x Don Julio Night Brunch
Friday 30 April & Saturday 1 May, 10pm-2am
For an evening of entertainment that’ll take you into the wee hours, city nightspot Pamela’s is partnering with Don Julio for a special edition of their hugely popular weekend drag brunch series. ‘Night Brunch’ kicks off at 10pm and features performances from some of Sydney’s finest Queens of Drag. Grab a bacon sandwich and spicy Don Julio margarita and the night is yours.
To celebrate our nation’s best beverages and this year’s top 100 World Class Bartender of the Year entries, $15 cocktails will be available from selected locations nationally during the festival, from 28th April to 2nd May.
Participating venues include: Apollo, Barber Shop, Cho Cho San, Dead Ringer, Door Knock, Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, RE, Tio’s and Wild Rover with more to be added daily.
One thing is for certain, with lockout laws lifted and NSW’s COVID-19 restrictions currently removed, World Class Cocktail Festival is sure to be a memorable experience all Australians should get excited about! This year’s festival also promises to present a taste of what’s to come when Sydney hosts the global final for World Class Bartender of the Year in 2022, stay tuned!