Lonely Planet Writer

It's official: Melbourne's Black Pearl is the best cocktail bar in the world

Where would you find the world’s best cocktail bar? If you guessed the southern Australian city of Melbourne then pull up a bar stool. The family-owned neighbourhood bar Black Pearl, in Melbourne’s inner north neighbourhood of Fitzroy, was recently named ‘best international cocktail bar’ at the prestigious Spirited Awards held in New Orleans.

Black Pearl wins international cocktail 'Oscar'
Melbourne’s Black Pearl  – winners of the  ‘best international cocktail bar’ award earlier this year. Image courtesy of Black Pearl

Referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the bar industry, the gong was awarded as part of the annual Tales of the Cocktail event. According to Spirited Awards criteria, the trophy “recognises the international bar that has set the highest of standards and influenced cocktail trends, on a global level, over the past year.” Judges consider cocktail quality, atmosphere and bar team talent.

The Black Pearl team was naturally rather chuffed, but of course they have taken another accolade into their stride and are back serving up innovative cocktails to their mixed clientele with the same love and dedication that has got them such a strong fan base in Melbourne over the last decade.

Melbourne cocktail bar wins international award
Melbourne’s Black Pearl won the cocktail ‘Oscars’ gong in July of this year. Image courtesy of Black Pearl

We spoke to General Manager Chris Hysted-Adams, who has previously won Australian Bartender of the Year, and asked him what makes Melbourne such a great city for cocktails: “Honestly? I think it helps having such a discerning crowd in Melbourne. With drinkers and diners being more educated than ever, it helps you push yourself in new interesting directions you never thought possible before.”

Melbourne’s liberal licensing laws saw hundreds of small bars spring up all over the city over the last couple of decades. Within staggering distance of Black Pearl is a host of other great bars to check out and upstairs, The Attic has a different food and cocktail menu – including the appropriately named Dorian Gray).

Despite being a sophisticated, serious bar, Black Pearl retains a homely and welcoming vibe that people love. A visit will attest to why this place has become an icon of the Australian bar scene.