L- R Organisers Fraser Mcllwraith Dark Art Drinks, Andy Gemmell of The Gate, David Smillie Wemyss Malts and guest host Scott Gemmell

THE SCOTTISH license trade celebrated everything great about the hospitality industry at the inaugural Glasgow Bartenders Ball and Glasgow Bar Awards dubbed the ‘BAFTAs for Bartending’ last night (Monday, 20th January). 

Winners were revealed at the fun, atmospheric celebration in Saint Luke’s following a judging process involving industry votes and a top panel of judges.

Dedicated to bartenders in Scotland – a first for the industry, the awards were light-hearted and recognised the talents of the city’s top bartenders from the best bars, hotels and restaurants.

Created by the Glasgow Bartenders Club community members Andy Gemmell of The Gate, David Smillie of Wemyss Family Spirits and Fraser McIlwraith, Dark Art Drinks, nine gallus award categories were presented to the trade during a laid back awards ceremony. 

Surprises on the night included a nine-piece New Orleans brass band, a Ceilidh and premium brands such as Bacardi Brown Forman, Halewood Whyte & McKay, Edrington Beam Suntory, Wemyss Malts, Inverarity Mortons, Glasgow Distillery, Proof Drinks, Coca Cola and SEA Spirits were on hand to serve up drinks to Glasgow’s trade.  

Glasgow Bar Awards Winners below: 

Best drinks list – cocktails

Wheesht // Five March // Finnieston // Kelvingrove Cafe // Spiritualist

Best drinks list – wine 

Le Petit Cochon // Brett // Bar Vini // The Gannett // Vronis

Best Drinks List – Beer

Inn Deep // Grunting Growler // KoelschipYard // Shilling Brewing Co. // Allison Arms

Best drinks List – Spirits

Pot Still // Tiki Bar // Citizen // Bon Accord // Five March

Worst Chat

Alasdair Shaw from The Gate  // Sam Worrall // Ross Campbell // Calum McMillan // James Kemp 

Best Bar Team

Blue Dog // Spiritualist // Pot Still // Tiki Bar // Nice n Sleazy //

Best Shake 

Liam Grogan and Marc McPartlin from Tiki Bar

Unsung Hero:

Erin McGeough from Websters.

Hospitality Legend 

Geraldine Murphy from Pot Still

Speaking of the awards, Andy Gemmell, organiser of the Glasgow Bartender’s Ball and owner of The Gate said: “What we wanted to do with the Glasgow Bartender’s Ball was bring together the bar community in the city. 

“Our hospitality industry is an amazing one but also a tough one with long hours and unsocial shift patterns – especially over the Christmas period. 

“This was our opportunity to give back, create something that would say thanks for all their hard work in this amazing industry and help them build new friendships across the trade. ”

Andy continues: 

“I’ve always stood by this quote from world-renowned bartender Gary Regan who sadly passed away last year. And last night it really hit home: 

“Make one guest happier when he or she leaves your bar than they were when they walked in, and you’ve changed the world. It’s that simple. And if a million bartenders all over God’s green earth do the same thing on the same night, then the happy vibes will be palpable around the globe. Bartenders can change the world.”

Gaz Regan

Anyone who worked across the hospitality industry was invited to attend the Bash – from brand ambassadors to bartenders, with money raised from ticket sales set to be invested back in to help Glasgow Bartender’s Club develop and mentor the next generation of bartenders and frontline hospitality staff through events, networking, mentoring and training.