For the last few weeks, colleagues and friends alike have been asking me, “Are you ready for the show?!” They’re referring, of course, to the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show coming up March 12-14 in Las Vegas. My answer always is, as it must be, a resounding, “No.”
Although this certainly will not be my first trip to The Strip, it will be my very first NCB Show experience, and after reading article upon article and watching video upon video about the event, I have realized there really is no way to truly prepare for the biggest, most exciting and most important bar, nightclub and beverage event of the year. Getting plenty of rest on the plane, packing a comfortable pair of shoes and staying hydrated is pretty much the only way to ready myself for the exhilaration (and exhaustion) of such a massive occasion! More than 31,000 nightclub- and bar-industry professionals and 600 brands/companies all mixing together in the entertainment capital of the world for education, tastings, awards ceremonies, exhibitions, happy hours and parties? Talk about a nightlife maven’s nirvana!
There are so many things to do and see, I’ve had to maximize every millisecond of my time at the NCB Show. Here are just a few of the events on my schedule that you should be sure to attend next week:
1) Educational Keynotes, Sessions and Panels.
Featuring sessions and panels focusing on bartending, marketing and promotions, operations and management, beer and wine, bar and restaurant food and customer experience and liability, the show provides a wealth of learning experiences for everyone in the nightlife industry. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Dr. Peter Cressy, president and chief executive officer of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, discuss the “State of the Industry” during his keynote address on March 12. I also can’t wait to see the ever-dynamic Jon Taffer, president of Nightclub & Bar Media Group and host and co-executive producer of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” reality show, take over the stage with his keynote, “No Excuses: Taffer’s Simple Science of Success,” on March 14.
2) Back-of-House Tours.
Las Vegas is home to some of the nation’s leading-edge nightclubs and hospitality venues, and some very lucky NCB Show attendees (including myself) get to examine their inner workings! We’ll be exploring a day in the (night)life of Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Las Vegas Mega-Club of the Year Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub, The Pub, XS, RPM Nightclub and more!
3) Exhibit Hall.
Spend a few minutes in the exhibit hall, and you’ll soon realize you could get lost in there for days! With the Craft Brewers Pavilion, featured in cooperation with the Brewers Association; the Emerging and Boutique Brands Pavilion, sponsored by HotMixology; along with companies featuring the hottest products, trends and technologies, you’ll want to wander the aisles, trying out all of the new goods and business solutions available.
4) Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” Happy Hour.
Seriously, if you haven’t seen Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” reality show starring Nightclub & Bar Media Group President Jon Taffer, you’re going to want to set your DVR. Fortunately, you’ll have the chance to hobnob with the man himself and some of the show’s other experts during the “Bar Rescue” Happy Hour, sponsored by bevIntel, Spike TV and “Bar Rescue,” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on March 12 at LAVO in The Palazzo.
5) Celebrity Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony.
Country music superstar and spirits entrepreneur Toby Keith will be bringing his newly launched Wild Shot Mezcal to toast the opening of the NCB Show. He will participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 13, officially opening the show floor. After the ribbon cutting, take your “Red Solo Cup(s)” over to Wild Shot Booth 201 to check out Keith’s smooth, smoky mezcal!
6) Shake It Up! 2012 Creative Cocktail Challenge.
Sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits, Shake It Up! is one of the nation’s largest bartending competitions. On March 13, up-and-coming mixologists will demonstrate skill, flair and creativity for a chance at $25,000 in prize money! Be sure to hang around for the Balloon Drop, sponsored by Lauderdale Paper & Balloon Co., when $500 is up for grabs to all show attendees.
7) 2012 Nightclub & Bar Awards Presentation.
Who doesn’t love walking a red carpet and feeling like a celebrity? Join me on March 13 in congratulating Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Bar, Nightclub and Las Vegas Category Awards Winners. As the premier nightlife-industry recognition program, the Nightclub & Bar Awards celebrate the cream of the crop. Watch all of the hard-working examples of originality, artistry, enterprise and prosperity finally get their due!
8) Top 100 Platinum Party.
Celebrate with Nightclub & Bar as we honor the Top 100 highest-grossing bars and clubs in the nation with complimentary cocktails by Malibu Red at 10 p.m., March 13, at Nightclub & Bar’s 2012 Las Vegas Mega-Club of the Year Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub in The Cosmopolitan. Developed by Nightclub & Bar in partnership with Chicago-based hospitality market research firm Technomic and now in its fourth year, the 2012 Top 100 is the only ranking of the leading bars, clubs and lounges based on total annual revenue.
These events, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg. Join me in Las Vegas for the hottest nightlife and networking event of the year, and be sure to stay tuned for much, much more NCB Show coverage on Nightclub.com in the coming weeks.