Sydney's Archie Rose wins top bar design award

Sydney's Archie Rose Distilling Co. has been named Best International Bar at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards held in London this week.

After winning Best Asia Pacific Bar earlier in the night, the recent established bar and distillery from Rosebery edged out more than 860 entries from over 70 countries to take the top gong,.

"It was pretty exciting and I don't mind admitting we had a few drinks to celebrate," says Archie Rose founder Will Edwards. "I never thought for a moment that a small bar in a suburb of Sydney would win the international award."

Coveted award

The awards, now in their seventh year, are the only ones dedicated to the design of food and beverage spaces and are judged by a panel of some of the planet's most influential personalities in design, hospitality and lifestyle.

Edwards launched Archie Rose in March this year, naming it after one of the pseudonyms used by an illegal Sydney bootlegger in the 19th century.


He enlisted local company ACME & Co. to come up with the architecture and interior design. ACME & Co. - whose portfolio includes The Grounds and The Incinerator - transformed a vacant warehouse into a hip new drinking and educational space housing an array of custom-made equipment including brushed steel washbacks, oak casks and three purpose-built copper pot stills constructed by hand in Tasmania.

"When it came to the bar, our brief was to make it feel like an extension of the distillery," says Edwards. "I wanted to provide the atmosphere and intimacy our customers expect, while utilising the materials found in the distillery. Acme & Co. took that pretty bare bones brief and made it the fully fledged bar that it is today."

Concrete and steel provide a suitably industrial backdrop, while the Archie Rose bar is made of the same copper as the stills. The joinery and furniture are American oak, the same wood used in many of the whisky barrels.

Of all the gin joints

Although a fledgling business, Archie Rose is already winning accolades for it Signature Dry Gin; a traditional spirit that uses Australian botanicals including lemon myrtle, native blood limes, native river mint and Dorrigo pepper leaf.


"At the end of the day it was about making a gin that was dry, balanced and complex, and held up 'neat' as a sipping spirit as well as in cocktails," Edwards says.

The distillery also makes a surprisingly complex vodka, and a rare white rye.

The white rye is really interesting," Edwards says. "There's probably only a handful commercially available in the world right now. Ours has got that malty spice typical of rye, but it's a lot fresher and cleaner than a mature rye whisky, and it makes very good cocktails such as whisky sours."