Judging Criteria
Judging Criteria

Judging Criteria

After an extensive Consultancy Phase that has included open Round Table discussions and plenty of feedback, The Pinnacle Guide has released the judging criteria that will be used to award the coveted Pin to the best bars in the world.

There are six modules that each venue will be judged on.


Front of house (20% of overall weighting)

This module will focus on hospitality. Well-thought-out touches, staff, and how guests are made to feel throughout their experience.

14% application assessment | 86% in-venue anonymous review

Drinks programme (25% of overall weighting)

This module will look at menu concept and its alignment with the venue concept. It will also cover ingredients, techniques, presentation, inclusivity, environmental considerations and menu coherence.

60% application assessment | 40% in-venue anonymous review

Venue look and feel (19% of overall weighting)

This module will focus on venue design, including functionality, comfort, atmosphere, ambience, environmental considerations and thoughtful touches that enhance guest experience.

39% application assessment | 61% in-venue anonymous review

Your staff (19% of overall weighting)

This module focuses on staff management policies, diversity, equity and inclusion, staff development, staff wellbeing, safety and support.

100% application assessment

Operations (12% of overall weighting)

This module will focus on each venue's back-of-house management systems and processes, set-up, prep and breakdown, overall efficiency, supply chain thoughtfulness, environmental considerations, hygiene, and cleanliness.

78% application assessment | 22% in-venue anonymous review

Community (5% of overall weighting)

This module focuses on how the venue looks after its community, online and in person. Elements include guest inclusiveness, responsible drinking, safety and external communication.

100% application assessment

Excellence is required in all modules; however, if a venue excels in particular modules that align with its brand image and concept, it can upweight its points.

Immediate disqualifiers

There are a number of elements that can lead to a bar being immediately disqualified and therefore, unable to receive a Pin. These include things like opening hours not being readily available online, basic hygiene standards not being met, and inclusivity elements such as a cocktail menu featuring fewer than two non-alcoholic cocktails. The Pinnacle Guide wish to have transparency on these elements to ensure that any venue applying for a Pin is fully aware of the absolute minimum required.


Stage 1: Self-nomination
Applicants will be required to fill in an in-depth form that will allow the venue to showcase what they are most proud of and what makes them one of the best bars and ultimately worthy of a PIN. They will be asked to explain their systems, processes, and behind-the-scenes infrastructure. The application process has been created to make venues think deeply and consider where they might have room for improvement, thus inspiring higher standards within the industry globally.
The application form will make up two-thirds of the final points available.

Successful applications will lead to a series of anonymous reviews.

By requesting a clear demonstration of concept before an anonymous reviewer steps foot in the door - this allows all bars to showcase their own excellence – recognising cocktail bars of all sizes and styles whilst minimising subjectivity. It is a completely different way of assessing excellence in bars - and one we hope people will read with an open mind.

Co-founders of The Pinnacle Guide, Dan Dove, Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne, 2023

Stage 2: Anonymous Review
Using background information from the venue's application form, the multiple anonymous reviewers who will be local to the bar and have received in-depth training on how to review each venue, will make a visit and make their assessment.

Before Pinned status is confirmed, each bar will be subject to at least two anonymous reviews.

More information on each module and stage can be found at ThePinnacleGuide.com

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