By Vivienne Pearson
The Australian Bar Awards flooded Sydney last week with bartenders, bar owners and just a shot or two of alcohol. Local bar The Bolt Hole joined in the fun thanks to being a finalist in the Regional Bar of the Year Award.
Chris Mills (or Millsy to most), owner of The Bolt Hole, has previously picked up Bar Operator of the Year for his earlier venue, the Barber Shop in Sydney. He is totally unfussed by not taking out this year’s gong. ‘We already feel like winners to be nominated and placed amongst epic cocktail bars,’ he says.
Of what he has created at The Bolt Hole, hidden upstairs from Fletcher Street with chesterfield sofas, a copper bar, a serious whiskey cabinet and your choice of beach or sunset views, Millsy is most proud of bringing the best of fine drinking culture to Byron Bay. ‘Knowing that you’ve created a place where people want to hang out and have fun in is very warming,’ he says.
The Bar Awards week saw the country’s leading bar professionals joining in events such as a Japanese whisky masterclass, a long lunch fuelled by tequila, and a Tiki Face Off (ie seeing who can create the most over-the-top tropical cocktails). And you thought you drank a lot at your annual work conference?
In other news, Bartender of the Year was won by a woman for the first time, with Jenna Hemsworth from Sydney (no relative to our local Hemsworths, I gather) creating the best signature cocktail live in front of 650 industry peers – no pressure!
The Bolt Hole, upstairs 9 Fletcher Street, Byron.