Australian Traveller’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards for 2011; results for Best Bar or Pub in Australia. THE WINNER:

THE IVY
An extravagant and eclectic collection of bars, clubs and restaurants in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, The Ivy strikes a chord with Australian Traveller readers. “It’s pure hedonism,” says one. “Unique and creative,” says another. “Perfect for people-watching; and there are so many different places to be seen.” Some of those places include: Ivy Lounge, a relatively relaxed cocktail bar; The Lawn, a whimsical indoor “outdoor” room, with grass carpet; The Den, an intimate space with turquoise velvet couches; and Poolclub, a rooftop bar where beautiful people frolic in the water. On Saturdays there’s Pure Ivy, a night of dancing and DJs. There’s also a Brit-style alehouse, chic wine bar, and Thai, Italian, sushi, steak and burger restaurants. There really is something for everyone here – from young and spunky nightclubbers to older, wiser, more sophisticated travellers in search of a bite to eat and a nightcap.
THE DETAILS 330 George St, Sydney. (02) 9240 3000; merivale.com

RUNNERS-UP:

2 BREAKFAST CREEK HOTEL
Steak and beer on the banks of the Brisbane River, Brisbane. breakfastcreekhotel.com
3 BIRDSVILLE HOTEL
Barbecues, buffets, roasts and beer on the outskirts of the Simpson Desert in outback Queensland.theoutback.com.au
4 DER RAUM
Some say this subterranean bar in Richmond, Melbourne, has the best cocktails in Australia. It must be popular, because it recently adopted a closed-door policy – priority entry is given to members unless you call and book ahead. derraum.com.au
5 OPERA BAR
Wonderful for summer nights – al fresco drinking with live music on the lower level of the Sydney Opera House concourse, facing the full span of the Harbour Bridge. operabar.com.au

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