Earlier this week CLASS magazine announced its highly anticipated CLASS Bar Awards 2018.
The awards, which returned in 2017 under new owners Agile Media – founders of The World’s 50 Best Bars – are renowned as the premier UK bar industry celebration.
Representatives from the UK’s leading bars attended the Awards at Lindley Hall in London, along with internationally renowned personalities. Judged by industry experts from across the country, the CLASS Bar Awards recognises the talent, achievements and diversity of our bar scene here in the UK.
Dandelyan at Mondrian London, by Mr Lyan, was the overwhelming choice of the CLASS collective (over 70 expert judges that voted), with the bar picking up gongs for Best Bar in the UK, Best Drinks Menu and its Head Bartender Alex Lawrence awarded as Bartender of the Year.
Offering innovative drinks centred on the theme of the ‘Vices of Botany’, immaculate service and views of the Thames, Dandelyan won three of the four categories it was shortlisted for – not a bad return at all.
Hailing from Edinburgh and starting his career in Aberdeen, Dandelyan’s Head Bartender Alex Lawrence beat off stiff competition from London’s Max Venning of Three Sheets in Dalston, and Jake O’Brian Murphy of Horatio Street Social Club.
Another multi-award winner was the recently launched Coupette, which collected two out of the five awards it was nominated for. Shortlisted more than any other bar, Coupette picked up the prestigious New Bar of the Year Award and Cocktail of the Year for its renowned Champagne Piña Colada which was shortlisted against another Coupette cocktail, Apples.
The American Bar at The Savoy was awarded Hotel Bar of the Year, cementing itself as one of London’s leading bars following multi-award wins in 2017.
In addition to Dandelyan and The American Bar, several hotel bars picked up awards. Martin Siska, of the Rosewood’s Scarfes Bar in London collected Bar Manager of the Year; Maura Milla of The Connaught Bar won Front of House Star of the Year; whilst Habtom Temesgem of The Churchill Bar and Terrace collected Bar Back Star of the Year.
The Emerging Bartender of the Year category was won by Thomas Matthews of The Edgbaston, Birmingham ahead of Edinburgh’s Lachlan Rooney from The Voodoo Rooms and Erik Homberg of Trailer Happiness.
Smultronstalle collected Birmingham’s second award for the night, winning Best Sustainable Practices Award. The relaxed bar serves its cocktails over a tasting menu format demonstrating a coherent progression of flavours that represent the current landscape of drinking.
Specialist Bar of the Year went to whisky venue Black Rock for the second year in a row. Owned by Tom Aske and Tristan Stephenson, the contemporary basement bar with a collection of over 350 whiskies beat the pair’s specialist sherry bar Sack as well as Coupette.
Scout collected the award for Bar Food Menu of the Year, beating off competition from Filter & Fox in Liverpool and Coupette. With all food and cocktails conceived and prepared in a shared bar kitchen space, Scout also regularly hosts dinners with partner chefs in its basement lab.
Restaurant Bar of the Year was awarded to Edinburgh’s Bon Vivant which was shortlisted for a second year running. Bon Vivant took the top spot from Ryan Chetiyawardana’s recently launched Cub and last year’s winner, Hawksmoor Spitalfields.
Mr Fogg’s won Social Media Presence of the Year over Liverpool’s Filter and Fox and last year’s winner, Oriole. The Mr Fogg’s social media feed, comprising of the group’s three bars; The Residence in Mayfair, The Gin Parlour in Covent Garden and The Tavern in Covent Garden has over 26k followers on Instagram and Twitter.
Ending the night was the Lifetime Achievement award, which went to Tony Conigliaro. Having worked in the industry for 20 years this year, Tony has been instrumental in leading trends and pushing boundaries of how consumers enjoy food and drink and continues to do so. At the ‘Drink Factory’, his research and development hub in East London, Tony has worked alongside some of the world’s leading chefs, food scientists and bartenders including Heston Blumenthal, Ashley Palmer-Watts, Dave Arnold, Harold McGee, Dick Bradsell and Audrey Saunders. His multi-award-winning bars include 69 Colebrooke Row, Zetter Townhouse Marylebone and Clerkenwell, Bar Termini Soho and Termini Centrale and Untitled. In addition Tony has published two books; Drinks and 69 Colebrooke Row.