And the 2011 NCB Awards Go To....

It’s awards season here at NCB – that time of year when we announce the Finalists and soon the Winners in the Nightclub & Bar Awards. For me, that means fielding a lot of questions about the awards, the process and the outcomes. Just to make sure everyone has a firm grasp on the why, what, who and how of the NCB Awards, here’s the nitty-gritty (all of this is really on our awards site, but I just want to put it out there again). Read on and then join me at the Red Carpet at the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas to pay homage to the Winners as they accept their awards amid the paparazzi:

Why? Well, it’s easy: there’s so much good going on in this business – great clubs, great promotions, great bartenders, great concepts – that we want to recognize and celebrate the outstanding venues, people and programs. And let’s face it, everyone wants bragging rights to something! So we shine a spotlight on those who set the bar, which also sparks others to set it higher next year. That’s part of our evil plan here at NCB – encouraging continuous improvement.

What? The NCB Awards program is unique in that entries are invited from the industry and judged by industry pros and experts. Categories are posted and explained on -- 21 in all, divided into three segments: Bar, Nightclub and Las Vegas Nightclub. So, it’s experts within the industry recognizing the best of the industry. One of the goals of the program is to help operators raise their own profile within the industry and within their market by publicizing the recognition. If you are a Finalist or Winner, shout it out.

Who? Anyone can nominate a bar, club, program or professional – the manager, the owner, the bartender, the publicist, the marketing or promotions director, the vendor or wholesaler, the promoter, the consultant, even a guest or admirer. That’s one of the things that sets this program apart. We NCB editors don’t sit around a conference table and decide which of our “friends” to honor. Nominations come from the industry. Sometimes we get beat up because a particular club, bar, bartender, DJ or program isn’t among the nominees. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. We inundate the airwaves with invitations to enter – the drive for nominations is 2-month blitz of emails, notices in our newsletters and magazine and on our web site – and this year we got nearly 300 entries in all! But you have to be in it to win it. Whenever someone says, “Where’s so-and-so? I don’t see them in the entries,” my response is to encourage them to nominate so-and-so or get so-and-so to nominate themselves (and yes, I also reach out personally to invite nominations). Those who seek the recognition stand a chance of getting it!

As for the judges, they hail from all corners of the business and each brings his or her own particular expertise. What they have in common is experience and perspective that allows them to objectively evaluate the entries, weighing one against the other and casting their votes based on the category criteria and the caliber of the entry. They’re also instructed not to discuss the voting with anyone and assured that we will not divulge how they voted. Believe me, these folks take this very seriously and generously give their time to review the entries and cast their votes.

How? Once all the entries are in, the NCB team evaluates each to insure it fits the category criteria. No easy task (I owe some folks on our staff a very large cocktail to show appreciation for the time they put in on this…) but a critical one. We also look at whether the entry is complete enough to be evaluated and request additional information and materials as needed. Then we assign anywhere from three to five categories to each judge. The judges review the entries for their assigned categories, voting for their first, second and third place selections in each.

And here’s where it gets interesting: each ranking (first, second, third) carries a numeric value. We then calculate the total score for each entry in a category. The top three entries are named Finalists and then the top scoring entry is named Winner. No funny stuff. No stuffing ballots, etc. No one person picking the winner. Every vote counts.

I’ve worked on numerous awards programs over the years, and have found that open entries and this approach to balloting works because it presents a level playing field and is credible. That said, we’re always evaluating and evolving the process to insure it’s fair and efficient.

Finalists have now been announced – congratulations to each and every one of you! You now have bragging rights, so use them in your marketing and PR efforts. Get the word out that you are among the best in the industry. Doing so elevates your business, your staff and your profile, as well as the entire industry.

If you’re not among the Finalists or Winners, no worries. Check them out (watch for coverage on and in Nightclub & Bar Magazine and our newsletters), see what they’re doing that caught the judges’ attention, ramp up your own programs and try again next year. This is all about NCB wanting to help the industry continuously improve and grow sales by shining a light on what’s outstanding.

Join us in that effort by applauding the Finalists, the soon-to-be-announced Winners and all of our entrants in the 2011 NCB Awards. And, let me know what you think of the program and the process. Like you, we need to continuously improve!

See you in Vegas!


Suggested Articles

Bar & Restaurant assembled industry thought-leaders, experts and allied partners to share their insights and advice on surviving the pandemic.

For the Nov. 10 debut of Evolve, restaurant and bar owners from around D.C. were asked to discuss how they have been navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Grubhub and The Greg Hill Foundation's Restaurant Strong Fund announced the Restaurant Winterization Grant program.