Our 2020 Nightclub & Bar Award winners have been announced and we couldn’t be more excited!
We want to extend a well-earned and well-deserved congratulations each winner. Please join us in congratulating them on their wins.
Read on to learn more about winners and how they earned their awards.
Bartender-Owner of the Year
Kevin Diedrich, who helmed the bars and created cocktail menus at San Francisco’s Bourbon & Branch and Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen, opened Pacific Cocktail Haven in 2016. Diedrich continues to innovate, focus on producing incredible cocktails and guest experiences, and drive successful operations.
Beverage Book & Authors of the Year
Derek Brown, owner of the award-winning Columbia Room and 2020 Nightclub & Bar Show speaker, and Robert Yule, a freelance journalist and historian, told the story of the American cocktail in our Beverage Book of the Year, Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters.
Brand Ambassador of the Year
Self-proclaimed “advocate of good vibes and delicious things” Vance Henderson, national brand ambassador of Hendrick’s Gin in the United States, earned Brand Ambassador of the Year. You’ll want to follow him on Instagram right now to learn more about him and see what he does for the William Grant & Sons portfolio.
Influencer of the Year
Speaking of Instagram, this year’s Influencer of the Year award goes to Jabin Troth, also known as Licensed to Distill. He enjoys a following of 1.1 million followers on Instagram and a community of over 30,000 on Facebook. Troth will be on a 2020 Nightclub & Bar Show panel with last year’s Influencer of the Year, Beautiful Booze.
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Industry Podcast of the Year
Restaurant Unstoppable and host Eric Cacciatore have earned Industry Podcast of the Year. This entertaining and insightful podcast currently has 688 episodes completed. Make sure to add it to your podcast rotation for in-depth interviews with restaurant owners and operators, chefs and hospitality industry leaders.
It gets more difficult each year to select our finalists—a great “problem” to have a positive sign for the industry. Thirteen bars and restaurants earned Nightclub & Bar Awards this year, and we’re honored to award such innovative operations.
Brewpub or Taproom of the Year
A nano-brewery that punches well above its weight class has earned this year’s distinction as Brewpub or Taproom of the Year. Adroit Theory Brewing Company crafts beers they describe as “exquisite,” “esoteric,” and “challenging.” They’re constantly tinkering with and perfecting their brews, activating unique collaborations, and operate a taproom in which we’d be thrilled to spend all day.
Distillery Bar of the Year
Park City’s High West Saloon earned Distillery Bar of the Year for their impressive list of whiskeys (of course!), deep cocktail menu, smart beer and wine lists, and elevated bar food. High West Saloon is America’s first ski-in, ski-out gastrosaloon, taking the distillery experience to an entirely different level.
Cocktail Bar of the Year
Drink, located in the Fort Point neighborhood of Boston, is owned and operated by James Beard Award-winning chef Barbara Lynch. Former biochemist and talented bar pro Ezra Star is the GM of our Cocktail Bar of the Year, a venue that has done away with menus.
LGBTQ Venue of the Year
This year’s LGBTQ Venue of the Year is The Port Bar, due in no small part to the team’s commitment to community service and the economic growth of the neighborhood they serve. Of course, this bar is also committed to pouring specialty drinks and ensuring guests have an amazing time, helping The Port Bar take home this award.
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Country Bar of the Year
Live entertainment and music venue Moonshine Flats won Country Bar of the Year. High energy, country-western dancing, a fully engaged and outgoing staff, specialty cocktails and an impressive tap beer list, and a full kitchen serving up smoky barbecue helped this honky-tonk earn its award.
Two Firsts for the Nightclub & Bar Awards!
For the first time ever, we’ve given out a dedicated eatertainment award and an award to a Canadian bar. Ping-pong emporium and restaurant specializing in Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Korean and Japanese cuisine Ace Eat Serve is our Eatertainment Venue of the Year, and The Shameful Tiki Room in Vancouver (with another location in Toronto) is Tiki Bar of the Year.
Dive or Neighborhood Bar of the Year
Nickel City, equal parts dive bar, neighborhood hang, and cocktail bar, is the 2020 Dive Bar or Neighborhood Bar of the Year. Guests feel looking to knock back shots and those seeking a high-end cocktail experience are equally at home inside Nickel City. It’s hard to be all things to all people, but this bar serves just about any guest need seemingly effortlessly.
Sports Bar of the Year
Like Nickel City reinvented dive and neighborhood bars, Quality Athletics has reimagined the sports bar. Our Sports Bar of the Year winner is characterized by a stellar management team, a scratch kitchen featuring local ingredients that produces elevated bar fare, and a comfortable atmosphere dedicated to sports without being domineering about it.
Stunning Views and the Cocktail Experience Reinvented
Four hotel bars clinched awards this year: three with stunning rooftop views and one subterranean cocktail and live music venue. PHD Terrace atop Dream Midtown, with its stunning views and two-story layout—an intimate indoor level and scenic upper level—earned Rooftop Bar of the Year. VASO, perched on top of the stylish AC Hotel in Dublin, Ohio, won Restaurant Bar of the Year for its creative cocktail, beer and wine programs, gourmet Spanish-inspired food program, and panoramic views. Francesco LaFranconi created a luxury cocktail retreat inside the Palms Casino Resort that provides an elegant and comfortable evening out and won New Bar Concept of the Year. Located on the cellar of the boutique Hoxton Chicago, Lazy Bird—and beverage director Lee Zaremba’s 50-plus reimagined classic cocktails—is our Hotel Bar of the Year.
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In another Nightclub & Bar Award first, we created awards that recognize the best in four food categories: chicken wings, vegetarian and vegan, burgers, and pizza. Buffalo wing legend The Bar-Bill Tavern—also known for mouthwatering beef on weck—won Juiciest Wings in the Universe. Vegetable restaurant Vedge, owned and operated by James Beard Award-nominated chefs Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau, earned Most Mind-Bendingly Delicious Vegetarian/Vegan Menu. Lucky’s Burger & Brew was awarded Most Over-the-Top Burger in the Galaxy for their gourmet burgers and Grim Reaper Burger Challenge. The World’s Most Transcendent Yum Disc—yes, that means pizza and yes, we know that’s quite the name for an award—goes to the iconic Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.
Congratulations to this year’s Nightclub & Bar Award winners! Be sure you register today for Nightclub & Bar Show 2020 to attend the awards ceremony, network with the best in the business, and attend game-changing education sessions.