By Clyde Mooney

A record number of people congregated in Sydney’s Westin Hotel to see a record 36 winners rise above a record 209 finalists in the prestigious AHA NSW 2011 Awards for Excellence.

Retiring CEO, Sally Fielke, beamed what was perhaps her last official speech to over 900 people in acknowledgement of the state’s performance on a national stage.

“It gives me great pride to see what this event has become over the last few years – this truly is the industry’s night of nights,” said Fielke. “The high standard of our winners is acknowledged by the industry nationwide, with one in two winners in NSW going on to win the national award in their category.”

Newcomer The Australian Hotel & Brewery, in Sydney’s hills district, took the night’s final award – Overall City Hotel of the Year – as well as awards for Family-Friendly and New/Redeveloped hotel.

The Country Hotel of the Year went to the Yamba Shores Tavern, as did Best Restaurant.

Competition was so close this year that three categories required another round of judging beyond the two official stages.

The Schwartz Brewery Hotel in Surry Hills just pipped the Coogee Bay Hotel and Erskineville’s Rose of Australia for Outstanding Community Service and Achievement.

The awards celebrate the stand-out hospitality performers in this state, while drawing attention to the importance of an industry sector that employs 75,000 people and donates tens of millions of dollars each year to community initiatives.

The full list of winners:

1 Outstanding Community Service and Achievement Schwartz Brewery Hotel
2 Environmental Practice Schwartz Brewery Hotel
3 Traditional Hotel Bar Longueville Hotel
4 Contemporary Cocktail / Lounge Bar The Loft
5 Boutique Beer Offering Australian Hotel
6 Retail Liquor Outlet (Country) Park Beach Hotel Motel
7 Retail Liquor Outlet (City) Lalor Park Hotel
8 Outdoor/non-enclosed Facility Opera Bar
9 Family Friendly Hotel Australian Hotel & Brewery
10 New/Redeveloped Hotel (Country) Yamba Shores Tavern
11 New/Redeveloped Hotel (City) Australian Hotel & Brewery
12 Promotional concept Merivale
13 Pub TAB (bronze) Golf View Hotel
14 Pub TAB (silver) Newmarket Hotel
15 Pub TAB (gold) Lakeside Tavern
16 Pub TAB (platinum) Churchills Sportsbar
17 Keno Venue (country) Warners Bay Hotel
18 Keno Venue (city) Three Swallows Hotel
19 Steak Venue Cut Bar & Grill / Towradgi Beach Hotel
20 Casual Dining Venue (country) Grand Hotel
21 Casual Dining Venue (city) Commodore Hotel
22 Best Restaurant (country) Yamba Shores Tavern
23 Best Restaurant (city) Ivy – Felix
24 Fine Dining Restaurant est.
25 Pub style accommodation (country) Alpine Hotel
26 Pub style accommodation (city) Coogee Bay Hotel
27 Entertainment Venue Ivy 
28 Sports Bar Soden's Hotel Australia
29 Gaming Venue (country) Hotel Gosford
30 Gaming Venue (city) Eastwood Hotel
31 Bartender of the Year Tim Phillips – Ivy
32 Chef of the Year Darren Simpson – Light Brigade
33 Hotel Industry Rising Star Kylee Smith – The George Tavern
34 Hall of Fame Dr Peter Beaumont
35 Overall Country Hotel of the Year Yamba Shores Tavern
36 Overall City Hotel of the Year Australian Hotel & Brewery

The Shout Team

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

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