Brighton Bar Awards returned for its fifth year this September, held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel. With ice sculptures, confetti, glitter, and champagne, we knew it was going to be fun the minute we arrived…
In all honesty, we weren’t sure what to expect, what with it being bar awards in one of the country’s most celebrated cities for nightlife, but it’s safe to say it out-performed any expectations we did have.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER AWARD NIGHTS?
Anyone who’s ever been to a business awards night will know that sometimes they can be, well, fairly formal. That is, until the awards are over and everyone hits the dancefloor. But these awards were in their own stratosphere! Literally the most fun from the minute we walked through the door.
WHAT WILL WE NEVER FORGET?
Cringe-worthy moment alert: when the presenters announced the Best Nightclub Award as Concorde 2, the crowd cheered and several shouts of “I knew it!” could be heard from various tables. This was great, except… Legends was the real winner, and the presenters had to awkwardly apologise to Concorde 2 for the mistake. Oops.
THE BEST BITS?
The support from every table for each nominee and winner was outstanding. There was a real sense of unity and love in the room; everyone was genuinely pleased for everyone else. It was really empowering, and highlighted the sense of community that comes second to none in Brighton.
Of course, the cheers got louder the more the night went on, AKA the more alcohol that was consumed. Could we expect anything less from the bar industry’s biggest night of the year, though?
The presenting by Samuel Benson was also incredible, with consistent banter keeping the vibe happy and loud all night. It was fabulous, darling.
AND THE WORST?!
Honestly? The price of drinks. We were charged £9.80 for a spirit and mixer although we understand that there should have been a special price for the night of £7 for a double and splash. Someone at the bar clearly didn’t get the memo.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU KNOW?
We have to say this. The majority of people who walked on stage to collect an award were male, and we think that needs addressing. This is quite a large issue across the board in hospitality, but particularly in the bar and mixology industry. Come on girls, let’s see some more of you!
Best/Worst Banter Award
Sponsored by: Villa Lobos
Winner: Josh Williams
Best Newcomer Bartender Award
Sponsored by: Reyka Vodka
Winner: Luca Zani
Best Bar Team Award
Sponsored by: Bonzer Barware
Winner: The Black Dove
Best Bathroom Award
Sponsored by: BNBA
Winner: Unbarred Brewery
‘George Best’ Award
Sponsored by: Monin
Winner: Ryan Green
‘Godfather’ Award (for longest standing achievement)
Sponsored by: Mavericks Drinks
Winner: Elaine Larkin
Best Pub Award
Sponsored by: Pardal Beer
Joint win: Seven Stars and Daddy Long Legs
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
The awards were organised and hosted by Samuel Benson, director of ABV Media, a company that combines creative video production with the drinks industry. There will be another one next year by which time we might have recovered. So get stuck in.