January 14, 2010 · 2:56 PM
Work hard, party harder: Judging the Nightclub & Bar Awards
Go Vegas! Our world-class clubs have made the finals in each of the six nightclub categories for the 2010 Nightclub & Bar Awards. Celebrating 25 years of Nightclub & Bar magazine, these awards are an update of the publication’s previous honors.
“We really wanted an awards program that reflects the entire industry,” says Donna Hood Crecca, Nightclub & Bar’s editorial director.
Previously called the Five Star Awards, the honors used to be selected by the magazine’s staff. The new approach taps magazine contributors and industry insiders as judges and expands upon the awards themselves, acknowledging industry leading venues in their respective categories. “You can’t have a major club competing with a bar,” Crecca says. The two distinctly different venue types are now split.
“The judges are media people who write about clubs, bars, restaurants, as well as some consultants, if they’re not involved in specific categories,” Crecca says.
As far as the entrants, venues could either submit themselves for a category, or were nominated by admirers, nightlife industry experts and even some suppliers.
“It’s a compliment to get a business partner’s nomination,” Crecca adds.
The majority of the nominations came from major nightlife markets such as New York City, Los Angeles and, of course, Las Vegas. Judges were assigned specific categories related to their area of expertise.
“I can’t ask someone to evaluate a category if they don’t follow it,” Crecca says. “We’re working with people who follow that segment of the industry.”
Of the 20 judges, yours truly was asked — and honored — to participate on the judging panel, as were a few other Las Vegans such as UNLV nightlife professor (and Nightclub & Bar contributor) Bryan Bass, Robin Leach of sister site VegasDeluxe and Robert Casillas with the Monsoon Group.
Submissions from around the country were evaluated and 260 entries had to be sifted through. “It exceeded our expectations,” Crecca says. The most entered categories were “Megaclub” and “New Club of the Year.”
Judges in each category ranked their top three favorites, and the entrants were narrowed down to four or five finalists (listed below). Before you assume judges only chose venues from their city, I didn’t always opt for Vegas places — though I can only speak for myself. Of course, I’m not going to tell you which categories I judged.
The winners will be announced in early February, profiled in Nightclub & Bar’s March issue and honored, along with the other finalists, March 10 at Lavo in conjuncture with the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show.
“Some of the best clubs in the nation are in Vegas,” Crecca says of holding the convention in Sin City. “It has reputation for being a place to have a great time.”
Nightclub & Bar awards finalists (in alphabetical order):
Mega-Club of the Year
Pacha NYC, New York
Rain, Las Vegas
Stingaree, San Diego
XS, Las Vegas
New Club of the Year
Infusion Lounge, San Francisco
Playhouse Hollywood, Los Angeles
Voyeur, West Hollywood
XS, Las Vegas
Nightclub of the Year
The Avalon Hollywood, Los Angeles
Lavo, Las Vegas
Tao, Las Vegas
Tryst, Las Vegas
Ongoing Promotion of the Year
Pacha NYC, New York – Toolroom Knights
Rain, Las Vegas - Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto Vegas
Hard Rock, Las Vegas – Rehab
Tao, Las Vegas – Worship Thursdays
Danny Tenaglia – Pacha NYC, New York
Paul Oakenfold – Rain, Las Vegas
Roonie G – Opera, Atlanta
Z-Trip – Rain, Las Vegas
Single Promotion of the Year
Four-Year Anniversary – Tao, Las Vegas
Love Festival – Palms, Las Vegas
Midsummer Night’s Dream – Palms, Las Vegas
The Young & The Restless – Opera, Atlanta
Ultra-Lounge of the Year
32° Degrees Lux Lounge, Philadelphia
Blush Boutique Lounge, Las Vegas
Pink Monkey, Chicago
Bar Category Finalists
Bartender of the Year
Charles Joly – The Drawing Room, Chicago
Columbine Quillen -- The Blacksmith Restaurant, Bar, and Lounge, Bend, Ore.
H. Joseph Ehrmann – Elixir, San Francisco
Russell Davis – Peche, Austin
Beer Bar of the Year
Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia
Gritty McDuff’s, Portland, Maine
Tapwerks Ale House & Café, Oklahoma City
Willimantic Brewing Company, Willimantic, Conn.
Cocktail Lounge of the Year
675 Bar, New York
The Drawing Room, Chicago
Frankie’s Tiki Room, Las Vegas
The Naga Cocktail Lounge, Bellevue, Wash.
207, Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego
BOND Restaurant & Lounge, The Langham, Boston
Hudson Bar, Hudson Hotel, New York
POV, W Hotel, Washington, DC
Small Wonder Bar of the Year
The Empty Glass, Charleston, West Virginia
In Between, Honolulu
Manifesto, Kansas City
Qua Bottle Lounge, Austin
Sports Bar of the Year
Blondie’s Sports Bar & Grill, Las Vegas
Champion Billiards Sports Café, Frederick, Maryland
Connolly’s Sports Bar & Grill, Royal Palm Beach, Florida
Jerome Bettis Grill 36, Pittsburgh
Wine Bar of the Year
Ivy Ultra Lounge and Wine Bar, San Diego
Flute Midtown, New York
Mercy Wine Bar, Dallas
Zebra’s Bistro & Wine Bar, Medfield, Massachusetts
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