By Stef Collins – editor bars&clubs

Wednesday February 18 saw the opening of the new bar concept from Diageo Reserve World Class winners, Luke Ashton and Charlie Ainsbury. 

This Must Be The Place is located on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, Sydney, and is the culmination of over a collective decade’s worth of experience on the bar scene. 

The multi-award-winning bartenders pooled their resources after both taking out the Diageo Reserve World Class Australia Bartender of the Year – Ashton in 2013 and Ainsbury in 2014. 

Ashton’s prize in 2013 was $100,000 towards opening his own bar, and after Ainsbury won in 2014, the dream to launch their own bar began to take shape. 

Focusing on seasonal produce, spirits and specialty wines, the signature drink of the bar is a twist on the traditional spritz. 

Ashton and Ainsbury (pictured above L-R) are using the unpretentious beverage to present their own signature restrained creativity in cocktail making. Ashton believes that the spritz concept for the bar is a solution to some short comings he and Aisbury feel are rife in the Sydney bar scene.

"Cocktails have become too complicated, too expensive and too time consuming to prepare," he says. "We want to make drinks that are delicious, fresh, fast to serve and have a great value proposition for customers – the spritz ticks all of these boxes. All the prep work and labour intensive aspects of the drink are done prior to service. Additionally, we think since people are becoming more and more health conscious, boozier and sugar laden cocktails are going to be less in vogue."

The crowning jewel of the 60-seater space is one of just five Tanqueray No. Ten Crawley’s Imperial Shakers in the world. Recreated from a nineteenth-century drawing – under the guidance of industry figurehead Jason Crawley – the six foot tall contraption is constructed from iron, copper, brass and silver, and apparently mixes a mean cocktail. 

Launched in 2009, Diageo Reserve World Class, the competition that served as the catalyst for the creation of This Must Be The Place, sets out to discover the next generation of bartending talent. 

At its core is a global training programme and internationally recognised platform that builds careers in the industry, and which culminates in the awarding of the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year. 

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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