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Australia's Most Dazzling Bars, Eateries and Hotels Have Been Revealed at 2023's Eat Drink Design Awards

Sydney's hospitality spots won big at this year's annual celebration of the country's most beautiful and innovative venues.
By Sarah Ward
December 04, 2023
By Sarah Ward
December 04, 2023

Chic, sleek and stylish alert: Australia's most stunning places to drink, eat, grab a coffee and spend a night away from home have just been named for 2023. Each year, the Eat Drink Design Awards shower some love — aka its annual hospitality design accolades — on Australia's most stunning bars, eateries and hotels. On this year's list are a heap of Sydney venues, plus spots in Melbourne and Adelaide as well.

If soaking in gorgeous surroundings while you sip, snack and slumber is your ideal way of heading out of the house, then consider the awards' yearly picks a must-visit guide. At these spots — all of which were completed between July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023 — chefs, signature dishes, creative cocktails, stellar coffee and comfortable beds aren't the only attractions.

Beau and Dough, Romello Pereira

For restaurants, cafes and hotels, Sydney emerged victorious. In fact, the Harbour City is so stacked with beautiful and innovative places for a meal that two shared the restaurant category: Beau and Dough in Surry Hills and Kiln at Ace Hotel Sydney. The first was praised for "designing for two separate yet interconnected venues", while the second earned compliments because its "design plugs into current conversations about sustainability, collaboration and community".

In the cafe field, S'wich Bondi in Bondi Beach got the nod. "This little gem is a brave circuit breaker; it's not your average pitstop cafe-sandwich bar. A beautifully crafted bespoke space that aesthetically delivers in spades, it manages to weave together urban chic and Bondi's laid-back, fashionable culture," said the 2023 Eat Drink Design Awards jury, which consisted of Good Food journalist Emma Breheny, Akin Atelier director Kevin Ho, Hassell associate Di Ritter, The Bentley Restaurant Group chef and owner Brent Savage, and Artichoke acting editor Amy Woodroffe.

S'wich Bondi, Claudia Smith

Over in the hotel category, Capella Sydney was singled out. "The jury members were all impressed by this example of adaptive reuse. What used to be a government building has been painstakingly restored such that the original property, once inaccessible to most people, has been given new life and opened up to the public," the statement about this pick noted.

For the best bar design, lock in drinks in the South Australian capital, with Adelaide's Dolly in Unley winning the gong. This is a "tactile wine bar" and "boasts a distinctive and timeless ambiance", said the jury, which also called out the fact that "the project's creative vision revolved around transforming the existing space into an experiential haven for locals".

Victorian venues took out the retail deign and identity design fields, with the former going to LeTAO in Melbourne and the latter to Kōri Ice Cream in Hawthorn.

Kōri Ice Cream, Architects EAT, Saville Coble

For the 2023 Hall of Fame Award, Sydney French restaurant Bistro Moncur in Woolhara, as designed by Tzannes, received recognition.

As it does every year, this year's Eat Drink Design Awards also named commendations in various categories. Among the venues also getting some praise: Babylon Brisbane, the now-shuttered Butler in South Brisbane, Glory Days Bondi, Convoy in Moonee Ponds, Sydney's Hotel Morris and Bar Morris, Fitzroy's Pidapipó Laboratorio and Glenside's Kin Seafood.

Bistro Moncur

"There was a diverse aesthetic in this year's winners expressing a lot of individuality, suggesting clients have allowed their design teams to lean into strong concepts and narratives. Plenty of examples of ambitious interiors offer complete sensory experiences, drama and bespoke craftsmanship," said the jury.

"The very high level of design execution and attention to detail deserves extra praise this year, given the social and economic climate these works have occurred within. The judges applauded those designs that took risks and tried something innovative; yet at the same time, they praised designs that spoke softly and will likely retain relevance for decades in an industry with a proclivity for impermanence."

Capella Sydney, Timothy Kaye

The dining room at Kiln rooftop restaurant at the Ace Hotel in Sydney

Kiln, Anson Smart

Dolly, Jonathan VDK


Best Restaurant Design: Beau and Dough by Smart Design Studio (Surry Hills, NSW) and Kiln, Ace Hotel Sydney by Fiona Lynch Interior Design (Sydney, NSW)
Best Cafe Design: S'wich Bondi by Studio Shand (Bondi Beach, NSW)
Best Bar Design: Dolly by Genesin Studio (Unley, SA)
Best Hotel Design: Capella Sydney by Bar Studio (Sydney, NSW)
Best Retail Design: LeTAO by K Holland Architectural Interiors (Melbourne, VIC)
Best Identity Design: Kōri Ice Cream by Principle Design (Hawthorn, VIC)

For the full list of winners and commendations, head to the Eat Drink Design website.

Top image: Kiln, Anson Smart.

Published on December 04, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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