Bitter Phew
Image credit Katje Ford


Taking out the number one spot on the Beer & Brewer Top 50 Metro Beer Venues for 2017 is Bitter Phew in Darlinghurst, Sydney.

Bitter Phew is no stranger to the Beer & Brewer Top 50 Beer Venues. In 2014 it was voted number 22, in 2015 it jumped to the 12th position and last year it was number seven. So it’s been a steady race to the top and owner Aaron Edwards told Beer & Brewer that “it definitely feels like the hard work is paying off”.

“I don’t want to sound too cliché but it’s one of those things where you can get stuck in your own little bubble sometimes and then you pop out the other side and people start nominating you for things and you just go, ‘Wow, we’re the best!’.

“On some level it is unexpected, but we have put in a lot of hard work. We’re here day-in and day-out and four years down the track it’s good to be getting recognition for the work that we put in.”

“I’m not going to take all of the credit, our staff definitely makes all of the difference, and these guys are as passionate about it as I am.”

Ever since Bitter Phew opened its doors it has cemented itself as one of Sydney’s favourite craft beer bars. The New York warehouse inspired venue is tucked away up a staircase from Sydney’s bustling Oxford Street. With 12 constantly rotating taps, it’s a little slice of beer paradise.

Edwards told Beer & Brewer that the goal for Bitter Phew is to continue getting better and better and they are currently renovating (due to be complete this weekend) to accommodate more people.

“We are under the small bar license scheme and at the same time we got handicapped because we were in the lockout zone, so originally we were only allowed to open until midnight and we had a cap on our capacity of 60 people.

“But in December they changed the laws, so we can now accommodate up to 100 people and they’re also allowing us to trade until 2am, which we haven’t technically quite started yet but we will eventually move into different trading hours as well.

“I am always of the mindset that we’re always trying to improve and always trying to get better at what we do, so I suppose it’s just that never ending goal of trying to make every week better than the last and every year better than the last.”

The runner up in this year’s Top 50 Metro Beer Venues list was Dutch Trading Co., followed by The Local Taphouse in St Kilda, The Back Room at Carwyn Cellars and the Royal Albert Hotel.

Petition Beer Corner secured the number six spot, with Forest Lodge Hotel, The Noble Hops, The Union Hotel and The Alehouse Project rounding out the top 10.

Edwards continued: “I personally respect all of those venues so it’s just an honour to be in the top 10 and sharing it with them. I speak to most of those guys semi-regularly and we’re all in this boat together. They’re all good guys so it’s an honour to be sharing it with them.”

The list was compiled with the help of 25 industry experts, including the likes of Ian Kingham, Matt Kirkegaard, Kirrily Waldhorn and Tim Charody, aka The Beer Pilgrim. Each expert voted for their five favourite beer venues, with the scoring weighted so those at the top of the panellists’ lists scored higher than those at the bottom. There were no strict criteria, judges voted based on a range of factors such as the quality of beers, service, staff knowledge, and venue atmosphere.

The complete list of the top 50 beer venues, together with judges’ comments, can be found in the Spring Issue of Beer & Brewer, which is on sale now in newsagents, liquor stores and home brewer shops. You can subscribe to Beer & Brewer here.

Did we miss your favourite craft beer spot? Tell us on Facebook what’s your top craft beer venue and the spot with the most mentions will be announced as the Beer & Brewer People’s Choice Top Beer Venue.

The Top 20 Metro Beer Venues for 2017 are:

  1. Bitter Phew, Darlinghurst NSW
  2. Dutch Trading Co., Victoria Park WA
  3. The Local Taphouse, St Kilda VIC
  4. The Back Room at Carwyn Cellars, Thornbury VIC
  5. Royal Albert Hotel, Surry Hills NSW
  6. Petition Beer Corner, Perth WA
  7. Forest Lodge Hotel, Forest Lodge NSW
  8. The Noble Hops, Redfern NSW
  9. The Union Hotel, Newtown NSW
  10. The Alehouse Project, Brunswick East VIC
  11. The Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst NSW
  12. Caboose, Mount Lawley WA
  13. The Henson, Marrickville NSW
  14. Empire Hotel, Annandale NSW
  15. Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle WA
  16. Harts Pub, The Rocks NSW
  17. Hotel Sweeney’s, Sydney NSW
  18. Fox in the Corn, Footscray VIC
  19. Sail and Anchor, Fremantle WA
  20. Cookie/Rooftop, Melbourne VIC

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1 Comment

  1. I can only comment on the Victorian venues, but that looks about right to me. Moon Dog’s bar is rather awesome too.

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