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Ever influential, Matt Bax' Top 5 Bars

Words by Matt Bax

Matt Bax is a dangerously prolific bar owner and artist. A juxtaposing tower of dreaming and determination, opening bars and exhibiting works all over the world. Matt's united affection for both detail, and unquantifiable characteristics like charm and cultural influence make him the perfect dude for today's Top 5, 'bars'.

Harry's Bar, Venice
Photo: Harry's Bar, Colin Dutton via Punch.

Overpriced, stylish, small with loads of attitude. They are one only a handful of famous bars that still can hold their head high when serving their signature drink. I still can't best their Bellini and I've had a few cracks at it. I adore the little touches: the lamps, the yacht-like practicality of the wooden design, the thimble martini glasses...

"They only do a few things but they do them really well."

It's been the pilot ship of Bar Americano from the start (hopefully without the overpriced/ attitude components) but I'm sure a few would disagree. Artwise, you have to time your bar trip with the Bienalle. It's on for months so it's easy to get to, and when Venice is overrun with idiot tourists in the summer, the Giardini offers the perfect sanctuary. Thanks to Ronnie di Stasio, Australia now has a pavilion to be proud of.

Schumann's Bar, Munich
Schumann's Bar, photographer unknown.

My bar hero. Charles is a living legend and the coolest bar owner I've ever come across. Can be snotty at times but I don't mind a place where you have to earn your stripes. Once you are welcomed as a regular the service is phenomenal. I rate their Prince of Wales. I also really like his Tages Bar (Day Bar) concept, espresso/ Americanos, and great snacks from white coated bar staff in a slick marble setting. Artip: forget Berlin, Munich has far superior Museums, Haus de Kunst, Brandhorst and the Pinakotheken Triology to name a few.

Exeter Hotel, Adelaide
Photo: Exeter Hotel, Tony Lewis via InDaily.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why more pubs and bars don't follow their lead, I don't know. Stunning old CBD pub with great artsy roots that stretch back multiple generations. Drink-wise, you can get a glass of Rockford or a fresh Coopers Pale.

"Quintessential Adelaide experience."

Art : Mad-March offers up arguably the best arts festival in the country. Outside of that, I always make sure to drop in on Paul Greenaway's GAG Projects.

The Dresden, Los Angeles
The Dresden, via The Denizen Navigator.

Look the cocktails ain't anything special and truth be told the music of Marty and Elayne is an acquired taste but there is something truly magical about them and by default The Dresden. Any fan of the movies Swingers will know this duo. They have been playing every night for 38 years! It's incredible to this day you can still kick back and relive your own Swingers night. It's so money. It should be on the agenda of every LA trip, like the Broad Museum, Hauser & Wirth & Jumbo's Clownroom.

Septime Cave, Paris
Photo: Septime Cave, Aaron Ayscough.

A rare example of when leading fine dining experts do "casual': well.

"Effectless service, brilliant natural wines without the wank, and good simple snacks."

There is no better place to wait for a table (there are plenty of famous eating options within a stone's throw) or just waste a summer night hanging out on the streets of Paris. It's impossible not to see great art when in Paris. The Musée de l'Orangerie is my fav. Fuck I miss Paris right now.

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