Owning or operating a bar or nightclub is a job that often involves working long hours and late nights, receiving little to no recognition. Yet the Nightclub and Bar Show's annual awards seek to recognize those operators who offer outstanding beverage and entertainment programs, superior customer service and original, unique concepts.
The Nightclub and Bar Show, hosted annually in Las Vegas, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and featured a number of interactive seminars and workshops. The 2015 NCB Show took place from March 30 to April with the award winners announced on the last day.
2015's Best of the Best
Taking the New Concept of the Year in the bar category was the Proof + Pantry, which has made its home in Dallas. The liquor-mixing master behind the concept is Michael Martensen (also responsible for Smyth and The Cedars Social) and ever since it opened in August 2014, P + P has been highly acclaimed. The cocktail menu features creative craft cocktails, cleverly named and divided into three sections for guests to pick their poison: “No Proof”, “Low Proof”, and “High Proof."
E11even, located in Miami, took home the honor of best New Concept of the Year in the nightclub category. This adult entertainment, cabaret, dance club, and music venue hybrid opened about a year ago and it continues to offer a different experience visitors won't find replicated across the country, especially in neighboring Miami clubs.
The Sayer’s Club in Los Angeles won for Best Lounge of the Year, beating out New York finalist No. 8. Other winners in the nightclub category include Best Dayclub of the Year, won by Nikki Beach of Miami and Best Nightclub of the Year, won by Exchange LA, which like The Sayer's Club is also located in Los Angeles.
And the Bartender of the Year Goes to...
The 2015 winner of one of the most coveted awards is Steve Schneider. This ex-marine-turned-bartender's back story is a compelling one. His journey into this industry all started when he ended up in the hospital after trying to break up a fight at a seedy bar. After three long years to full recovery and being discharged from the military, he went looking for a new opportunity. He happened upon a help ad for a bartender at a dive club in Georgetown, DC.
And the rest, as they say, is history. This worthy Bartender of the Year winner now travels the world sharing his trade skills by training other bartenders and winning cocktail competitions. You have probably also seen him in the award-winning documentary called "Hey Bartender," which tells viewers "the story of the rebirth of the bartender and the comeback of the cocktail."
As for the other notable award winners, DJ Francois K took top honors for the Resident DJ of the Year for his role at Cielo in New York.
The Award-Winning Events of 2015
The Nightclub and Bar Awards also honored some of the more exciting events held this year. The “I Don’t Give a FLUXX” party, hosted at the FLUXX Nightclub in San Diego, received an award for Best Promo, Party or Event of the year in the nightclub category and the Kentucky Derby event, held at the I|O Urban Roofscape in Chicago, was honored with the same award under the bar category.
While the award winners hail from a variety of sectors in the beverage industry located across the nation, all demonstrated extremely innovative concepts, exceptional hospitality and stellar beverage programs.
What do you think of this year's award winners? And what about the 2015 Nightclub & Bar Show?