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Australia's Most Stunning Venues Have Been Announced at the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards

With a Victorian gelato shop, a Brisbane hotel and out-of-town NSW cafe all snagging awards.
By Sarah Ward
November 13, 2019
By Sarah Ward
November 13, 2019

Looking for a place to eat, drink or slumber, and eager to do so in eye-popping surroundings? Australia's annual hospitality design accolades have you covered. Each year, the Eat Drink Design Awards shine a spotlight on restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels that go above and beyond in the style stakes — where stunning decor is as essential as top chefs, signature dishes, creative cocktails, stellar coffee and comfortable beds.

In 2019, the awards have cast their eyes far and wide. Melburnians have more than a few standout spots to add to their must-visit list, with the city leading the charge just as it did last year; however some of this year's winners hail from much further afield. In fact, if you want to visit the country's best-designed bar, you'll need to head to the lakeside New South Wales country town of Mulwala, a near seven-hour drive from Sydney. And if you want to bunker down at one of the nation's best hotels, Brisbane is calling.

In the bar category, Blacksmith Lake Mulwala emerged victorious, all thanks to its well-balanced indoor/outdoor space, elegant colour palette, consideration for the town's pre-existing mid-century buildings and willingness to get whimsical — as seen in its vintage-style pink patio umbrellas, which have a 1970s California feel. And in the hotel field, Fortitude Valley's gorgeous The Calile shared top spot, with the resort-style inner-city establishment listed alongside Drifthouse in Port Fairy. One creates an oasis in the middle of Brisbane's hustle and bustle, complete with an oh-so-inviting pool, while the other combines a double-storey Victorian bluestone house, a single-storey Edwardian home and a new garden pavilion into a quaint and intimate boutique hotel.

The Calile by Sean-Fennessy

Of course, you can still turn 2019's Melbourne winners into a very impressive all-day itinerary — whether you're a local looking for a new reason to go exploring, or you're in town from interstate for a few days. Start with Best Cafe recipient Via Porta in Mont Albert, which got the nod for its bold, warm and inviting design that heroes earthy tones and textures in a striking fashion. Then, check out Lagotto, the Best Identity Design winner, with the all-day Italian spot awarded for its dog mascot and associated marketing materials. Best Restaurant pick Di Stasio Citta is obviously worth a visit, especially if you like eating in a space that could double as an art installation. As for gelato go-to Piccolina Collingwood, it earned plaudits for its retail design — and Flinders Lane favourite Cumulus Inc nabbed this year's Hall of Fame gong.

Di Stasio Citta by Kate Shanasy

Judged by New York Times restaurant critic Besha Rodell, The Mulberry Group CEO and founder Nathan Toleman, Studio-Gram architect and co-founder Graham Charbonneau, architect Phillip Schemnitz and Artichoke editor Cassie Hansen, the Eat Drink Design Awards also named commendations in various categories. Spreading the love around, St Kilda's Prince Dining Room, The Rocks' Tayim Restaurant + Bar, the Gold Coast's Burleigh Pavilion and Byron Bay's Locura rank among those recognised.


Best Restaurant Design: Di Stasio Citta by Hassell (Melbourne, VIC)
Best Cafe Design: Via Porta by Studio Esteta (Mont Albert, VIC)
Best Bar Design: Blacksmith Lake Mulwala by The Stella Collective (Mulwala, NSW)
Best Hotel Design: Drifthouse by Multiplicity (Port Fairy, VIC) and The Calile Hotel by Richards and Spence (Fortitude Valley, QLD)
Best Installation Design: The Magic Box by Liminal Objects with Van Tuil (fabricated in Hobart, TAS)
Best Retail Design: Piccolina Collingwood by Hecker Guthrie (Collingwood, VIC)
Best Identity Design: Lagotto by Studio Hi Ho (Fitzroy North, VIC)
Hall of Fame: Cumulus Inc by Pascale Gomes-McNabb (Melbourne, VIC)

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

Top images:  The Calile Hotel by Sean Fennessy and Blacksmith Lake Mulwala by Lillie Thompson.

Published on November 13, 2019 by Sarah Ward
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