Port Macquarie’s Bar Florian has scored an impressive gong at the Australian Hotels Association awards of excellence.
The awards were presented in Sydney on Tuesday night.
With a retro, 60s and Italian theme, bar owners Gino and Maree Cunial said they were thrilled with the win.
“We didn’t expect it at all,” the couple said.
Just 12 months since opening, Bar Florian was named joint winner in the best specialty/emerging bar category along with Huxley’s Caringbah.
To claim the award, the local bar beat some impressive addresses including Maroubra, Surry Hills, Manly and Milsons Point.
And that point was not lost on the owners.
“When you consider that the other finalists are in some of the more trendy areas in and around Sydney, this is an excellent result for this area,” the couple said.
“There is nothing like this in Port Macquarie and our customers appreciate the space and atmosphere that we are providing for them. It’s a safe environment for everyone to enjoy.
“Our decision to open Bar Florian (they owned and operated Little Fish Cafe) was based in the growth of the area.
“As the town develops and places such as Charles Sturt University start to take shape, we believe that more people will look for something like Bar Florian – it’s trendy, funky and sophisticated.”
Improved transport links to Melbourne and a growing tourism base are also key to the success of the bar.
One of just 49 small bar licence holders in NSW, the name was taken from the original owner, Floriano Francesconi, who opened Cafe Florian in 1720 in St Mark’s Square in Venice.
It is one of the oldest cafes in Europe and is known for its heritage and decor throughout the world.
The bar does provide food that complements its extensive Italian and Australian wine list, classic cocktails and 30 craft beers – including Black Duck on top.
Gino grew up on a vineyard and has worked in sales and marketing for various wine companies over many years and Bar Florian is also an acknowledgement to that heritage, the couple said.
“The bar has been decorated with family historical artifacts including old Venetian photographs depicting family holidays, a 70-year-old salami making mincer used by Gino’s father in the 50s and 60s, a small workable wine press used by early Italian immigrants and old gilded mirrors and wine goblets.
“We’d like to invite people to come and help us celebrate this major award too,” the couple said.
Bar Florian opens from 4pm and trades till midnight on Friday and Saturdays.