Bar & Restaurant has officially launched our new awards program!

After a two year-hiatus, the awards program formerly known as the Nightclub & Bar Awards returns with a new name and ethos. We're thrilled to introduce you to the Industry Excellence Awards, presented by Bar & Restaurant Expo, and sponsored by sunday.

The Industry Excellence Awards, presented by Bar & Restaurant Expo, recognize, celebrate, and support the people who make the independent bar and restaurant industry great. These awards honor leaders and teams for their talent, in addition to their integrity and commitment to equality, sustainability, community and culture across the industry.

Nominate yourself or another venue through January 31, 2022 here.

These new awards are part of our Bar & Restaurant Expo evolution, and our continued commitment to championing the food and beverage industry. The awards are a great way to quickly boost morale within your team, and let people know their hard work is valued and recognized. 

The Industry Excellence Awards, presented by Bar & Restaurant Expo, launches this year with ten categories, recognizing individuals and venues for their contributions to the industry and beyond.

Nominations are open through January 31, 2022, and winners will be announced at the 2022 Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas. Tickets for the show are available now!

What are the Categories?

The Industry Excellence Awards, presented by Bar & Restaurant Expo recognize outstanding performance across ten categories:

Bartender of the Year: A bartender of exemplary performance, skill and dedication, both behind the bar and beyond it. This person has worked tirelessly to improve their bar program, their bar culture and the industry at large, serving as a positive example for other beverage professionals.

Chef of the Year:  A chef who has dedicated themselves to culinary excellence, as well as sustainable, ethical practices and inclusive culture. This individual sets high personal and professional standards for food professionals across the industry, behind the pass and beyond it. 

Operator of the Year: A bar / restaurant owner dedicated to exemplary hospitality, creative entrepreneurship, ethical business practices and the betterment of the industry at large. This person serves as a role model, paving the way for a better future for F&B. 

Community Leadership Award: This award is open to anyone in F&B who has demonstrated outstanding contributions and dedication to bettering their local community, and by extension, the F&B community at large. 

Innovator of the Year: This award is open to anyone in F&B who tirelessly moves the industry forward, pushing existing boundaries and establishing new foundations for the industry to build upon that are both equitable and sustainable.

Cocktail Bar of the Year: A cocktail bar that consistently demonstrates exceptional hospitality, creativity, training, culture and service. The Cocktail Bar of the Year has a unique identity and has established itself as a leader within the category. 

Sports Bar of the Year: A place that embodies the spirit of the category, including excellence across design, F&B offerings, training, events and community engagement. The Sports Bar of the Year has a unique brand identity, and has established itself as a leader within the category.

Restaurant of the Year: A restaurant that consistently demonstrates exceptional hospitality, creativity, culture and service. This venue boasts a unique atmosphere, thoughtful F&B offerings, and a training program. The Restaurant of the Year has established itself as a leader in the community, and has made a significant impact within the industry. 

LGBTQ Venue of the Year: This bar or restaurant consistently delivers exceptional hospitality, creativity and service, while championing the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ Venue of the year fully epitomizes what it means to be an LGBTQ Venue, and has a demonstrated history of supporting the queer community. 

Most Original Concept: A new or rebranded bar or restaurant that breaks the mold of convention, creating an exciting, new standard likely to make a significant impact in years to come. (Must have launched or re-branded in 2021)

Who is Eligible for the Awards?

Eligible venues can either be stand-alone concepts or operate within a hotel/resort property within the United States. The awards are focused on independent operators, and for that reason chain concepts (five or more locations of the same concept) are not eligible to enter. To be eligible to win any category (excluding ‘Most Original Concept’), all candidates must have been working in the industry / operational for the past five consecutive years or more.

Who can Nominate?

Anyone! Bar and restaurant owners, operators, managers, employees, public relations representatives, marketers and even the general public are welcome to nominate a person or venue for the Industry Excellence Awards, presented by Bar & Restaurant. Nominations are open now through January 31st, 2022. Submit your nominations here!

How Can I Nominate Someone (or Myself)?

Nominations are open now through the end of the month. To nominate, fill out this online survey before January 31st!

How are Submissions Judged?

Submissions go through a two-part judging process. Submissions are first reviewed by the Bar & Restaurant team. This is an extensive audit that includes but is not limited to interviews, company audits and online reviews. The Bar & Restaurant team will select three semi-finalists for each category, for a total of 30 semi-finalists. The 30 semi-finalists will be presented to an anonymous judging panel comprised of previous years’ winners and selected participants. The judging panel will select final winners for each category. Winners will be announced live at Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 21-23, 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

What do Winners Receive?

All thirty semi-finalists will receive two Expo + Party Passes to attend the 2022 Bar & Restaurant Expo, plus coverage on our website, social media, newsletters and more. In addition, the ten winners will receive a beautiful custom award, additional media coverage, and a VIP Ticket to join us again in 2023. Winners are also eligible to become part of the judging panel moving forward.

Ready to Nominate?

If you or someone you know deserves to be recognized for their outstanding work and contributions to the bar and restaurant industry, nominate them now! Nominations are a powerful way improve team morale, and even retention, in these challenging times. It takes less than five minutes, we promise. Don't miss out on your chance to be recognized. Nominate yourself or others here.

sunday app logo
The Industry Excellence Awards, presented by Bar & Restaurant Expo are proudly sponsored by sunday, an app that allows bar and restaurant customers to pay with just a QR code. (sunday )

Bar & Restaurant Expo (formerly Nightclub & Bar Show) is a live, in-person event held March 21-23, 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Early bird registration is open now. Click here get your tickets now!  

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Fadi Alsayegh at [email protected], Veronica Gonnello at [email protected] or Tim Schultz at [email protected].

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