Criteria for Bar & Club Awards

Factors considered by category in the Bar & Club Awards

How we do it

To choose the winners of our Bar and Club Awards, we follow a rigorous process. First we build a shortlist for each category, based on our knowledge of the city’s nightlife. Over the course of several months, Time Out’s in-house experts anonymously visit venues on the list before casting their vote.To be in with a chance of winning, venues need to have opened before July 15, 2015 and need to meet the points set out on our criteria for each category. We set a cut-off date for two reasons: very new openings are too inconsistent to fairly judge and we begin researching months before the awards. No venue up for an award is able to host the ceremony, to avoid any bias.


KEY
* The most important factors to consider.

Best sports bar
* Crackling atmosphere during big games
*Variety of sports shown – from football to Frisbee.
Manager listens to requests from punters on what to show
*Number/size of screens – visibility from seats.
Flexible opening hours for games (very early or late)
Deals/discounts during games

Best club (mainstream)
*Guest DJ programme
*Roster of resident DJs
*Décor
*Atmosphere
Service
Size of dancefloor
Quality of drinks
The X factor

Best club (alternative)
*Guest DJ programme
*Experimentation with new genres and sounds
*Roster of resident DJs
*Atmosphere
Quality of drinks
Décor
Service
Size of dancefloor
The X factor

Best newcomer
*Opened between Aug 14 2013-Aug 15 2014
*Confident start – already a worthy destination
Drinks
Service
Décor
Atmosphere

Best live music venue
*Musical programming
*Quality of soundsystem
*Atmosphere
Visibility of stage
Speed of service at the bar
Balance of foreign and local acts

Best dive bar
*Grimy without being too seedy.
*Dark and dirty but with friendly staff and regulars
Feels like ‘late-night second home’ – somewhere you always end up during a messy night.
Very late opening hours
Atmosphere
The X factor
Drinks

Best microbrewery taproom
*Quality of beer – properly chilled, carbonated and poured.
*Variety of brews
*Quality of bar staff – can they pour a beer and give good service?
*Knowledge of bar staff – can they talk knowledgeably and make recommendations?
Atmosphere
Décor

Best cocktail bar
*Quality of drinks
*Variety of beverages
*Stylish décor?
Quality of mixologist team
Atmosphere
The X factor – does it hit the right note?

Best specialist spirit bar
*Breadth of menu
*Wide range of prices
*Knowledgeable staff
Décor
Atmosphere

Best hutong bar
*Must be in a hutong/siheyuan
*Hutong atmosphere
*Quality/range of drinks
*Atmosphere
Décor
Quality of staff
Renovated original hutong features – awnings, ornate wooden beams etc

Best hotel bar
*Quality of drinks
*Atmosphere – stylishly mature and vibrant
Service
Décor
Entertainment – house band or regular shows?

Best club night
*Does it stand out?
Does it feel special/memorable?
*Sizeable and regular crowd?
*Quality of regular DJs
*Quality of guest acts
Quality of additional entertainment
Atmosphere
The fun factor

Best DJ
*Music selection – variety
Ability to read crowd
Technical skills
Regular performances
Showmanship
Ability as a producer

Best bar
*The best of everything
Drinks
Service
Décor
Atmosphere

Best LGBT Night
*Special themes/performances catering specifically to gay patrons (drag shows, go-go dancers, costumed staff)
*Outreach specifically to LGBT community (donation boxes, discounts, presence at LGBT Center and other gay events)
*Mix of clientele (local/expat, male/female/trans/inter)
Standard of DJs (not just endless gay anthems, decent mixing, guest names)
How late the party continues (anything that is all over by 3am is a dud)
Variety of mixed drinks & affordability of deals (ideally it should be a decent-quality free drink with entry)
Ultimately, however, a good gay night needs to be like any other good club night, so there should be crossover with other club categories (decor, drinks, atmosphere etc)
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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