As if we needed more proof that Brisbane bars are awesome.
Melbourne may think it's all trendy and cool. And Sydney may want to claim the crown as the top destination for hip bars in Australia. But they can both back off because a brissie watering hole leaves them all for dust.
That's right, Brisbane added another feather in our cap as a premier destination for all things food and drink this week; The Gresham was named Bar of the Year in the 2016 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide Awards for 2016 AND Bar of the Year at the Australian Bartender Magazine Bar Awards.
Situated in Queen Street in the CBD, and owned by Andrew Baturo, Denis Sheahan and Paul Piticco, The Gresham also holds the honour of holding the only heritage licence in Queensland.
When the trio first opened this now-famous spot, they decided they wanted to create a bar that was unique, non gimmicky and embraced the heritage nature of the building's architecture. The vibe in the bar is certainly cosy, almost feeling like the set from Cheers; like you're about to waltz into a bar where everybody knows your name.
Frequently mislabled as just a whiskey bar, the owners are quick to point out it's not quite a whiskey bar, not quite a rum, cocktail or even coffee bar, but a mix of all of the above. But that doesn't mean they don't have all kinds of tonic for what ails you on the shelves.
The unique joint has some of the highest caliber rums, whiskeys and wines on its exhaustive list, including about 200 whiskeys alone. But it's no hoity-toity, upper class club; patrons can opt for the high-end stuff or just get a Bundy and coke.
Co-owner Denis is thrilled, if a little surprised, at their win. "We were gobsmacked!" he says. "There are fabulous bars right throughout Australia and it's fantastic that our bar has been recognised in such a comprehensive way.
Andrew attributes the bar's success to their excellent team. "Really it's the staff who are the winners of this award, the care and attention to detail they put into the cocktail list and spirit selections is incomparable."
He continues, "Authenticity is really important to us. While we have a progressive approach to music and drinks, we have an attitude policy rather than a dress policy. We think what makes a truly great bar is not just the drinks and the music and the decor, it's also an eclectic mix of different types of people. We welcome people regardless of what they are wearing and that makes for a more interesting clientele and dynamic atmosphere."
So no more getting refused entry for dumb reasons like wearing sneakers if your 'tude is up to par. Cheers to that!