World Class may be the drinks industry’s most respected international bartending competition but the brand behind it, Diageo, has decided that bartenders shouldn’t have all the fun. From 28th April to 2nd May 2021, the brand is putting on a festival, the likes of which Sydney has not seen for quite a while.
Set to start the day after the winner of the Australian leg of the completion is announced, the five-day event will offer 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 hospitality industry welcomes customers back to bars and restaurants, Diageo will be taking the volume up to 11, across Surry Hills and Sydney’s CBD, with an exciting schedule of events, including unexpected yet tantalising partnerships and, of course, bartenders from seven of the World’s 100 Best Bars.
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.
Main Stage – Paramount House
Little Melbourne, Golden Age Bar
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.
Wednesday to Sunday, 5pm-late
Simon Johnson x Ketel One: The Truth About Caviar, Golden Age Bar
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.
Saturday 1st May 2pm-5pm.
Mexico’s Golden Age, Golden Age Cinema
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.
Wednesday to Saturday, session times available at www.ourgoldenage.com.au
Flex, Paramount Recreation Club
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.
Saturday & Sunday, 10.30am-12.30pm
Saturday & Sunday, 2pm-8pm
Espresso Martini Project, Paramount Coffee Project
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.
Wednesday to Thursday, 5pm-7pm
Maybe Sammy – Maybe Sevilla (Closing Party)
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.
When: Sunday, 4pm-12am
Where: 115 Harrington St, The Rocks
Cantina OK! – Mama OK!
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.
When: Sunday, 2pm-8pm
Where: Shop 2/106-112 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills
Bulletin Place x Belsazar Place
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.
When: Wednesday to Saturday, 5pm-late
Where: 10-14 Bulletin place, Sydney
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
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.
When: Wednesday to Saturday, 6:30pm and 8:30pm sittings
Where: Hotel Harry – 40-44 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills
Book the 3 Course Set Menu via www.hotelharry.com.au
Butter x CÎROC
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.
When: Wednesday to Sunday, from 5pm
Where: Butter – 6 Hunt St, Surry Hills
Pamela’s x Don Julio Night Brunch
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.
When: Friday & Saturday, 10pm-2am
Where: Prince of York – 18 York St, Sydney
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.
The World Class Cocktail Festival programme can be found at www.worldclasscocktailfestival.com from Tuesday 6th April, with more activity to be announced weekly and some secret parties to pop up unexpectedly.
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!