Tell the world: Public voting begins today and ends April 8. By Holly Graham.
After an awesome awards party in Bangkok, The Bar Awards is returning to Hong Kong and Macau with festivities beginning on May 16 and winners will be announced on May 20. But for the first stage of honouring the city’s best, members of the public (including those working in f&b) are now being invited to name the venues and bartenders that they believe should win the 14 prizes.
Selecting those 14 categories for the 12 Hong Kong awards and two Macau awards this year were the Hong Kong and Macau Lead Panel. Made up of some leading personalities in the city’s drinks scene, they are:
Agung Prabowo (The Old Man)
Cherry Lam (Moet Hennessy Diageo)
Gagan Gurung (Fang Fang)
Jay Khan (Coa)
Joe Villanueva (formerly of Kerry Hotel)
John Nugent (Lily & Bloom)
Samuel Kwok (Quinary and Tastings Group)
Sandra Kwong (Coaster Magazine)
Tomi Ho (Journey Concepts)
Zoltan Konczol (Campari)
To submit your favourites for this year’s Public Nominations, visit thebarawards.com/nominate. Here are the categories open for nominations from March 26 to April 8:
The Rising Star, presented by Perrier
To encourage more young people to choose the hospitality industry as a career, The Bar Awards recognises young and talented people who are doing great work and have recently joined the f&b industry. Nominees must be 25 years old or younger (born on or after January 1, 1993).
Best Restaurant Bar, presented by Mancino Vermouth
This award recognises the restaurant that appreciates diners want great beverages to accompany great food, and that understands how a well-thought-out beverage program will enhance an already memorable dining experience. To be considered for this category, establishments must first and foremost be a dining venue. The majority of the consumers visiting these establishments are there for a culinary experience.
Best Beer Bar, presented by Peroni
This award recognises an exciting establishment with a well-curated beer offering, that’s also backed by knowledgeable and passionate people. These establishments are taking great strides in providing a great beverage, paired with an overall great drinking experience and aren’t necessarily the largest.
Best Hotel Bar
This award recognises the hotel bar that is able to offer a great bar and beverage experience. Hotels have always been at the forefront of any hospitality scene, leading the way in guest experience and comfort. These great hotels are now looking to enhance the experience of the guest even further by developing and managing fantastic beverage and bar programs. Establishments eligible to win this are bars that are managed and operated by hotels. Bars, restaurants or other establishments leasing space within a hotel are NOT eligible.
Best Bar Operations
The Bar Awards wants to celebrate the establishment with the best bar operational execution team and system, considering factors such as sequence of service systems, food and beverage systems, speed and accuracy, follow up/feedback systems, service recovery systems and practical operational design (a balance between looking good and working well within the day to day operations of the bar). These factors take precedence over hospitality, aesthetics, ambiance and pricing in this award.
Best Specialist Concept
This award recognises an establishment that offers a unique, specialised and focused concept as well as a well curated experience. The Bar Awards hopes this new category will encourage new and unique concepts to be developed that both broaden the mind and allow everyone to experience something a little different in Hong Kong.
Best Hospitality Ambassador, presented by Fever-Tree
This award recognises the individuals who embody the greatest values of hospitality. These individuals dedicate their lives to being the most warm and welcoming person they can be at work and outside of work. This category is open to any individual working in the hospitality industry including but not limited to bar backs, runner, waiters, bartenders, sommeliers, managers, owners and any members of the culinary team. Nominees must be working in an establishment in Hong Kong that serves alcohol as of the nomination date. Establishments in Macau are not eligible for this category.
Best Hospitality Team, presented by Hendrick’s Gin
This award recognises that it’s teamwork that makes the difference between a good bar and an excellent one. The Best Hospitality Team awards the most hospitable service team that compliments an establishment’s already excellent beverage team. This awards strives to encourage more people to join the service side of the industry with this mark of appreciation.
Most Creative Cocktail Program, presented by Cointreau
This award recognises the establishment with the most creative cocktail program, taking into account the hard work and effort that a team puts in to creating the most innovative, unique and creative collection of cocktails.
Best New Bar, presented by Campari
This award recognises a new establishment that has made an impact on the local bar culture. Opening a bar is difficult, and takes a lot of leadership, hard work and talent. People who put together a great bar from day one and set high standards for new entrants to the bar community should be acknowledged. To be considered the establishment must be open on or after March 26 2017 and not have been in the Top 10 for The Bar Awards Hong Kong 2017.
Bartender of the Year – Hong Kong, presented by Johnnie Walker
The Bartender of the Year is an award given to the bartender whose skills, knowledge, and the ability to connect with people is extraordinary beyond measure. The level of leadership, skill and hospitality extended during and outside of work by this individual is an experience in itself. To be considered, nominees must be bartending in an establishment in Hong Kong as of their nomination date.
Bar of the Year – Hong Kong, presented by Mekhong, the Spirit of Thailand
This award recognises the best bar in Hong Kong, acknowledging the hard work of an outstanding bar team in the local bar and beverage community. This bar should be assessed on every factor that makes a great bar. This may include but not be limited to; experience, atmosphere, skills, hospitality, price, profitability, cleanliness and so forth.
Bartender of the Year – Macau
The Bartender of the Year is an award given to the bartender whose skills, knowledge, and the ability to connect with people is extraordinary beyond measure. The level of leadership, skill and hospitality extended during and outside of work by this individual is an experience in itself. To be considered, nominees must be bartending in an establishment in Macau as of their nomination date.
Bar of the Year – Macau
This award recognises the best bar in Macau, acknowledging the hard work of an outstanding bar team in the local bar and beverage community. This bar should be assessed on every factor that makes a great bar. This may include but not be limited to; experience, atmosphere, skills, hospitality, price, profitability, cleanliness and so forth.
After the form closes on April 8, the longlist will next be handed over to a bigger group of city panelists to narrow down the field to their Top 10 favourites, and then a ranking of the Top 4 and winners for Hong Kong and Macau.
The winners will be announced at this year’s The Bar Awards party, held on May 26 at location that’s to be confirmed. Each city will have its own panel, with Hong Kong’s panel featuring around 40-50 people and Macau’s comprised of approximately 15 people.
To submit your favourites for this year’s Public Nominations, visit thebarawards.com/nominate.
DRiNK Magazine is the official publication partner for The Bar Awards 2018.