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If you aren’t familiar with The Steve Schneider Show Podcast, we hope you’re at least familiar with the eponymous host. The podcast, hosted by Nightclub & Bar’s 2015 Bartender of the Year, Steve Schneider, is one of the best hospitality industry podcasts around. Simply put, it’s one of our favorite bartending podcasts, and owners, operators, managers, bartenders, servers, barbacks, brand ambassadors, and those aspiring to enter the industry should be loyal listeners if they aren’t already. The Mighty Schneidey, often joined by his best friend Chris (aka MothMonsterMann), speaks with well-known and respected figures, tackles topics relevant to the hospitality industry, and keeps listeners updated on his projects and happenings. Listeners, affectionately referred to as warriors by Schneider, also gain insight into the host’s past and personal life.
Even though Schneider has been busy opening Employees Only Singapore, he took the time to round up some of the best bartenders in the business to cause some controversy regarding the upcoming Spirited Awards. Dubbed the Steve Schneider Show Podcast Committee, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Dominic Venegas, Giuseppe Gonzales, Ricky Gomez, Mathias Simonis, Sam Ross, Dev Johnson, and a couple others joined Steve in discussing the nominees and making their very likely controversial picks. As loyal Steve Schneider Show listeners can imagine, things got out of hand pretty much instantly.
Here are their picks for the 2016 Spirited Awards. Cheers!
Best American Bar Team
Nominees: ABV (San Francisco), The Dead Rabbit (NYC), Atta Boy (NYC), Williams & Graham (Denver).
Morgenthaler feels as though the award will go to The Dead Rabbit regardless, while the general consensus was that Atta Boy deserves it. The Committee feels that the spirit of this award should be that it goes to the team that’s been together the longest.
American Bartender of the Year
Nominees: Bobby Heugel (Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston), John Lermayer (Sweet Liberty, Miami Beach), Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Clyde Common, Portland), Naren Young (Dante, NYC)
The Committee, calling the award “The Jeffrey Morgenthaler Memorial Award,” feels that Morgenthaler should win but that Bobby Heugel will take it home. As Steve put it at after a bit of back and forth from the Committee, “We’ve stripped it from Jeffrey Morgenthaler and given it to Bobby Heugel.”
Best American Brand Ambassador of the Year
Nominees: Colin Asare-Appiah (Bacardi), Tim Cooper (The 86 Co.), Anne Louise-Marquis (Marnier Lapostolle), Chris Patino (Pernod Ricard)
The Committee is torn between Asare-Appiah and Cooper, mentioning that The 86 Co. is “one of us.” Overall, however, it seems that Asare-Appiah is their pick.
Best American Cocktail Bar
Nominees: canon: whiskey and bitters emporium (Seattle), The NoMad (New York), Prizefighter (Emeryville), Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)
After some debate it became clear that the Committee feels each of these nominees is a strong contender. Smuggler’s Cove is Schneider’s pick.
Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
Nominees: Flatiron Lounge (New York), Harvard & Stone (Los Angeles), Herbs & Rye (Las Vegas), Polite Provisions (San Diego)
Herbs & Rye is Steve’s pick but the panel was very much torn and had great things to say about all four nominees.
Best American Hotel Bar
Nominees: The Elephant Bar at The NoMad (New York), The Hawthorne at the Commonwealth Hotel (Boston), Sable Kitchen & Bar at Hotel Palomar (Chicago), The Spare Room at The Hollywood Roosevelt (Los Angeles)
“I think it’s about time LA takes one,” says Schneider. “I think The Spare Room’s gonna win.”
Best American Restaurant Bar
Nominees: Cane & Table (New Orleans), Gramercy Tavern (New York), nopa (San Francisco), Saxon + Parole (New York)
This is another award with nominees that the entire Committee feels are solid contenders. In particular, though, nopa and Saxon + Parole stood out. As the Committee put it, nopa has been open for 10 years and has been killing it for all 10, and Saxon + Parole has a strong bar team.
Best New American Cocktail Bar
Nominees: Dante (New York), Leyenda (Brooklyn), Suffolk Arms (New York), Sweet Liberty (Miami Beach)
“This one’s pretty close,” says Steve. Giuseppe Gonzales, owner of nominee Suffolk Arms which opened in February of this year, picks Sweet Liberty to win the award. The overall consensus is that Sweet Liberty will be the winner. As one of the Committee pointed out, the nominees consist of “Three New York bars and a bar from a guy from New York.” Whoever should win, NYC will take the award.
Best International Bar Team
Nominees: American Bar at the Savoy (London, United Kingdom), Black Pearl (Melbourne, Australia), Connaught Bar (London, United Kingdom), Dandelyan (London, United Kingdom)
The Black Pearl is favored but The Comittee loves all of these bars. Venegas chooses Dandelyan to win.
International Bartender of the Year
Nominees: Marcis Dzelzainis of Sager + Wilde Paradise Row (London, United Kingdom), Iain Griffiths of White Lyan and Dandelyan (London, United Kingdom), Zdenek Kastanek of 28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore), Hidetsugu Ueno of Bar High Five (Tokyo, Japan)
Steve picks Zdenek but The Comittee feels that Iain is thinking all the way out of the box, and that Ueno is a legend and a hero. Ueno also, according to Schneider, has the best hair out of the group.
Best International Brand Ambassador of the Year
Nominees: Ian Burrell (Rum Ambassador), Dean Callan (Monkey Shoulder), Camille Vidal (St-Germain), Max Warner (Chivas Regal
The Committee likes everyone in this category and is unable to make a consensus decision. We’ll see who takes it on Saturday, July 23.
Best International Cocktail Bar
Nominees: Bar High Five (Tokyo, Japan), Bramble Bar (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), Happiness Forgets (London, United Kingdom), Le Lion Bar de Paris (Hamburg, Germany)
Happiness Forgets is Schneider’s pick, but others love what’s going on at Le Lion Bar.
Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar
Nominees: Callooh Callay (London, United Kingdom), The Clumsies (Athens, Greece), Eau De Vie (Melbourne, Australia), Trailer Happiness (London, United Kingdom)
Schneider’s pick is Trailer Happiness but Callooh Callay and The Clumsies were strong with The Committee. One thing is clear: each nominee is an incredibly strong contender.
Best International Hotel Bar
Nominees: American Bar at The Savoy (London, United Kingdom), The Connaught Bar at The Connaught (London, United Kingdom), Dandelyan at the Mondrian, London (London, United Kingdom), Punch Room at The London EDITION (London, United Kingdom)
The Committee feels that if American Bar and The Connaught Bar have won previously, Dandelyan gets the award. However, one Committee member stated that The Savoy sets the standard for all other hotel bars, so if they haven’t won it before, they should take it home. Committee members also said that Dandelyan is the most progressive bar and The Connaught Bar is absolutely beautiful.
Best International Restaurant Bar
Nominees: Duck & Waffle (London, United Kingdom), Hawksmoor Spitalfields (London, United Kingdom), Le Mary Celeste (Paris, France), Tippling Club (Singapore)
The host of The Steve Schneider Show Podcast chooses Tippling Club but “won’t be upset” if Hawksmoor wins.
Best New International Cocktail Bar
Nominees: Charles H. (Seoul, South Korea), The Dark Horse (Bath, United Kingdom), Gibson Bar (Singapore), Oriole (London, United Kingdom)
This is another award on which The Committee was completely split. One Committee member feels Oriole is a great name for a bar, while Schneider believes it’s a terrible name for a Major League Baseball Team. Shots fired.
Best Bar Mentor
Nominees: Bridget Albert, Francesco Lafranconi, Dré Masso, Angus Winchester
Winchester is Schneider’s pick but other Committee members feel that Bridget and Francesco are excellent mentors. As one member put it, however, Winchester builds bars that last.
World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Nominees: Dandelyan (London, United Kingdom), Little Red Door (Paris, France), Mace (New York, United States), Trick Dog (San Francisco, United States)
The Committee selects Dandelyan to take home the award.
Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient
Nominees: Caña Brava 7-year Reserva Añeja Rum by the 86 Co. (Panamá),
Lagavulin 8-Year Old - 200th Anniversary Edition (United Kingdom), Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum (Barbados), Rutte Celery Dry Gin by Rutte Spirits (Netherlands)
The Committee almost unanimously chooses Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum, while Schneider says he’d like to see his boys at 86 Co. take it.
World’s Best Spirits Selection
Nominees: The Baxter Inn (Sydney, Australia), Multnomah Whiskey Library (Portland, United States), Old Lightning (Marina Del Rey, United States), Tommy’s (San Francisco, United States)
Several Committee members choose Multnomah Whiskey Library but Schneider picks The Baxter Inn.
And there you have it! The Steve Schneider Show Podcast 2016 Spirited Award winner predictions. What do you think? Who do feel will win this year’s awards? Let us know in the comments and on social media!
Disclaimer: The Steve Schneider Show Podcast is all about having a great time and poking fun at friends and colleagues. If you can’t take a joke, this podcast and this particular episode probably aren’t for you!