304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Few bars are as deserving of the title ‘institution’ as Melbourne’s Black Pearl, which this year is named Best Bar in Australasia, sponsored by Tanqueray. The bar, helmed by owner Tash Conte, has remained a constant refuge of great cocktails and warm hospitality for some 16 years. That’s down to its ability to pull together a great bar team – any list of the country’s best is dominated by Black Pearl alumni.
Matt Linklater (ex-Bulletin Place) is the current drinksmith stewarding a consistently top class list – all you have to do is decide where you’ll sit. Will it be at the ground floor bar, or in one of the low-dunk banquettes? Or will you go outside to sip cocktails while the colourful Brunswick Street parade passes you by? If it’s Thursday to Saturday night, you ought to try the Attic upstairs – press the buzzer and one of those fine bartenders will open the door for you and dote on you all night. This is a bar where you are treated like you are part of the Black Pearl family, the kind of place where everyone is an insider.
Image: Ryan Noreiks