Two Sydney Cocktail Bars Have Been Named Among the World's Best in The Pinnacle Guide's First-Ever Picks

El Primo Sanchez and Maybe Sammy are the only Australian bars to make the initial picks from this new bar recognition system, which gives pins — not stars — to top watering holes.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 07, 2024

Next time that you're looking for a cocktail spot, follow the pins. That's what The Pinnacle Guide, the new bar recognition system that's throwing some love at the top watering holes around the world, gives out. Michelin does stars, this ranking does pins — and on its just-announced first batch of picks, two Australian bars have made the cut.

Scoring one pin apiece: El Primo Sanchez and Maybe Sammy, both in Sydney. The duo both hail from the same crew, in fact, and now have bragging rights over Australia's other cocktail havens. In total, 25 bars received one pin and 12 were given two pins. Nowhere has nabbed three pins so far.

Steven Woodburn

Created by three folks behind London Cocktail Week — Hannah Sharman-Cox, Siobhan Payne and Dan Dove — The Pinnacle Guide doesn't just make its selections based on beverages and bar service. Also considered: an establishment's approach to sustainability, diversity and philanthropy. The idea is for the guide's pinned watering holes to reflect everything that's required to be a cocktail bar, and that The Pinnacle Guide is the kind of list that heroes versatility as well.

Bars submit to be considered, which requires them to provide information on their drinks program, how they manage their staff, and both the venue's aesthetics and its vibes. From there, anonymous reviewers comprised of mixologists, industry experts and bar enthusiasts undertake in-person reviews to decide which places deserve a place in the guide.

Steven Woodburn

To get a pin, a bar must be considered excellent, outstanding or exceptional both in front of and behind the bar. Securing three pins requires both the written application and the service during the reviewer's visit to be exceptional, and no venue has achieved that so far.

Other overall considerations by The Pinnacle Guide include that commitment to sustainability, and ensuring that the drinks list expands beyond booze, with at least two curated non-alcoholic drinks required on the menu (so, thoughtful mocktails, not basic soft drinks).

El Primo Sanchez - one of the best Mexican restaurants and bars in Sydney.

Steven Woodburn

"We've been overwhelmed by the incredible response to the first round of applications for The Pinnacle Guide. In revealing this first list, we have been able to realise our goal of celebrating the extraordinary range of cocktail bars the world has to offer — from tiny drinking dens to majestic hotel bars," said Dove.

"We're proud of our unique submissions process, which has allowed these deserving bars to shine — and we're excited to shed light on many many more in the months and years to come."

In the first picks made since The Pinnacle Guide's applications opened in November 2023, entries came from around the globe, including Australia, the UK, the US, Singapore, Spain, Mexico and Dubai. Maybe Sammy's inclusion adds another accolade to its lengthy collection, including being named the number-one bar in the data-driven Top 500 Bars list for 2023 and also coming in 15th on The World's 50 Best Bars list for last year.

The Pinnacle Guide's Pinned Bars:

Three-pin bars:

Two-pin bars:
ATLAS, Singapore
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, Phoenix, USA
Nipperkin, London, UK
Origin Bar, Shangri-La Singapore, Singapore
Panda & Sons, Edinburgh, UK
Paradiso, Barcelona, Spain
Pretty Decent, Louisville, USA
Selva, Oaxaca, Mexico
The American Bar at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, UK
The Spy Bar at Raffles London, UK
Thunderbolt, Los Angeles, USA
True Laurel, San Francisco, USA

One-pin bars:
Artesian, London, UK
Ballroom by Barbary Coast, Singapore
Blue Bar at The Berkeley, London, UK
Couch, Birmingham, UK
Cure, New Orleans, USA
El Primo Sanchez, Sydney, Australia
Kiki Lounge, Isle of Man, UK
KOL Mezcaleria, London, UK
Kwant Mayfair, London, UK
Little Rituals, Phoenix, USA
Magnus on Water, Maine, USA
Maybe Sammy, Sydney, Australia
Meteor, Minneapolis, USA
Milady's, New York City, USA
Nightjar Shoreditch, London, UK
Passing Fancies, Birmingham, UK
Rattlebag, Belfast, UK
Roka Dubai, UAE
Sexy Fish, London, UK
Sexy Fish, Manchester UK
Side Hustle, London, UK
Swift Soho, London, UK
The Dead Rabbit, New York City, USA
The Guards Bar & Lounge at Raffles, London, UK
Velvet by Salvatore Calabrese, London, UK

For more information about The Pinnacle Guide and its pinned bars, head to its website.

Find El Primo Sanchez at 27–33 Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney. Find Maybe Sammy at 115 Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney.

Top image: Steven Woodburn.

Published on May 07, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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