It's not all about the winning
It's not all about the winning

It's not all about the winning

Our original Round Table title was "What happens when a bar wins a PIN?' but let's start as we mean to go on - because we don't see this platform being about "winning".

We're trying to create something much more inclusive than that.

There's a caché about taking first place of course - but that accolade simply will not be possible within the constraints of The Pinnacle Guide. We're all about rewarding excellence - in as many venues as is appropriate - and this point of difference is what allows us to sit comfortably alongside the existing awards currently available within our bar industry...

Ok - glad we cleared that up!

This conversation had an unbelievable set of high achievers on the panel - three of the most awarded people in our industry. Knowing they'd been on the receiving end of so many accolades - we quizzed them on two main topics - what is useful and then... what is fair?

The panel unanimously felt that The Pinnacle Guide has a responsibility to equip people with the necessary tools if and when they do receive a PIN. And that goes far beyond what the physical thing looks like - they were talking about help creating press releases, best practise documents, terminology lexicons... all things that might be second nature if you're an award-winning bar already but as we're on the hunt for those lesser known venues that are achieving outstanding standards - the feeling was that some people might welcome the help.

When it comes to the awards themselves - being amongst peers was something that they also each valued highly and while trophies for the back bar might suit some people - a plaque for outside the venue was widely considered to be the best long term solution for recognition. Michelin obviously do the same, as do other organisations - Leading Small Hotels of the World springs to mind - understated but a great example of "if you know you know"...

We discussed how the entire team could feel more involved and inspired when a venue receives a PIN - and how to manage staff who leave a PINNED venue but carry their status with them. We would like to have a physical PIN that is gifted to the entire team, but it was agreed there may need to be caveats - much as with reviewers - that states where and when your PIN is valid and perhaps how this should show up on your resumé if and when you move on from a bar with PINNED status. Lots to think about but some firm, fair rules from the off should ensure this is handled respectfully all round.

We also discussed how long a bar should retain its PINNED status - a year seemed to be the general consensus - though with immediate action required if something untoward happens within the venue. All three felt that a PINNED bar should be automatically considered for inclusion year on year - with an anonymous check-in from a reviewer to ensure standards are where they were. Or perhaps higher. Wouldn't that be great!

Ultimately - awards and accolades should increase a venue's footfall and profitability and we are committed to ensuring we're providing as much resource and infrastructure for bars to maximise their position with us. Exciting times ahead...

As always - we're here to put your opinions on record as we shape and formulate The Pinnacle Guide. If you have any feedback to this conversation, please email hello@thepinnacleguide and we'll come straight back to you.


Erik Lorincz

Erik has won ever so many titles including World-Class Bartender of the Year, Conde Nast Bartender of the Year and was voted as one of London's 1000 Most Influential People by the Evening Standard.

Lorincz became the head bartender at The Savoy's American Bar in 2010 and in 2011 - The American Bar was named the World's Best Hotel Bar and he was named international bartender of the year at the Spirited Awards. In 2017, The American Bar reached the No.1 ranking on World's 50 best bars

In May 2018, Erik announced his departure from The American bar and went on to open the beautiful Kwānt bar London. The bar went straight into the 50 World's Best bar list ranking 47 in 2019 jumping to number six in 2020. Just to round it off - Kwãnt was recognised as Best New International Cocktail bar in 2020 at Tales.

Lynnette Marrero

Lynnette Marrero's career began at Flatiron Lounge in New York where she quickly transitioned from server to bartender and realised that the drinks industry was her calling. She now has her own company Drinksat6, cultivating a new generation of cocktail bartenders and elevating the bar at restaurants.

Lynnette has been honoured by the James Beard Awards as one of America's Leading Female Mixologists, named in both Food & Wine and Fortune Magazine's Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink, and Wine Enthusiasts' Mixologist of the Year in 2016.

In July 2019, Marrero received the Tales of the Cocktails' Spirited Awards World's Best Bar Mentor AND the inaugural Philanthropy Award for her work with Speed Rack.

She went on to launch the Mixology platform and is currently the 50 Best Bars Altos Bartender's Bartender for 2021.

Her most recent bar program placed in the semi-finals for James Beard Best Restaurant Program 2022, and for the Regional Spirit Awards for Best Restaurant Bar at Tales of the Cocktail 2022.

Jack McGarry

Jack McGarry is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Dead Rabbit which has become one of the World's most awarded and globally recognized pubs, winning eight Tales for the Cocktail awards and five World's 50 Best Bars awards, including World's Best Bar twice. He was also the youngest ever recipient of International Bartender of the Year at Tales.

In addition, he is recognized as an expert on Irish Whiskey, cocktail development, and world-class pub operations and has authored a staggering five books on these subjects.

Before owning and managing bars, Jack was the Senior Bartender at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast, which won four Tales of the Cocktail Awards, including World's Best Bar.