Fitzroy cocktail bar Black Pearl is no stranger to awards. Since opening on Brunswick Street in 2002, the dimly lit two-level bar with its Venetian-shaded windows has raked in a sizeable trophy cabinet’s worth. Just months after being named best international cocktail bar at the prestigious Spirited Awards in New Orleans, it was ranked Australia’s best bar (and No.22 in the world) at World’s 50 Best Bars awards.
So what is it about Black Pearl – aside from the fact that it serves delicious house-made sausage rolls as a bar snack – that attracts the accolades?
Owner Tash Conte believes it comes down to one word: family. She’s not just referring to her own family, although it was her mother, father, sister and brother who bought and then transformed the former French restaurant into a cocktail bar, doing the renovation and initially tending bar and cooking in the kitchen. She now thinks of her team as family. “It’s the root to the relationship we have with each team member so they don’t feel they’re just turning up to a job,” she says.
The approach works. The team at Black Pearl has long been renowned for its relaxed, unpretentious approach and everybody is treated like a regular.
Black Pearl keeps it fresh with a roster of pop-up events and collaborations but mostly it’s about consistently excellent drinks served in an atmospheric, hospitable space. And that’s clearly worth an award.
BLACK PEARL \ 304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy ● 9417 0455
● Open daily 5pm-3am ● blackpearlbar.com.au