Media Release

Best Bar None Ontario Recognizes Top Licensed Establishments and Improves Operating Standards and Community Safety.

Toronto’s Entertainment District featured as pilot project location

Toronto - October 22, 2012

Best Bar None, an international industry-led accreditation and awards program for liquor licensed businesses, is being offered for the first time in Ontario. Designed to promote the responsible management, service and operations of licensed establishments, this innovative program also aims to reduce the number of alcohol-related issues, raise the standards of licensed businesses, improve the economic viability of the night-time economy and build positive relationships among operators, industry partners, law enforcement and the community. The pilot program for 2012/2013 will be focused on Toronto’s Entertainment District.

Annual accreditation is granted to establishments that excel in the responsible sale and service of alcohol while maintaining the highest standards for their patrons, staff and the public. These venues will also compete for best-in-class awards in five categories: Best Club, Best Restaurant, Best Bar/Lounge, Best Hotel Lounge and Best Pub. The individual winners and overall winner will be named at an awards gala in Spring 2013.

In the coming months, a broad public awareness and branding campaign will be launched so that prospective patrons recognize the value of frequenting businesses displaying the Best Bar None Ontario logo: the safest and best-run establishments. Approximately 175 eligible businesses in the Entertainment District have until February 28, 2014 to apply for accreditation for 2012/2013, and there is no fee to apply. Independent, third party assessors retained by Bar None Ontario will carry out a site visit to each business to review and verify their applications.

Best Bar None originated in 2003 in Manchester, U.K. In the U.K. and in Alberta, Best Bar None programs have been credited with increasing levels of public safety and reducing crime in downtown entertainment districts. The program also improved the economic viability of these districts and built positive relationships between owners of licensed establishments and local community groups and police.

“Best Bar None will surely be a boost to Ontario’s hospitality industry,” says Tony Elenis, President and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association. “It will also offer the public a great way to choose the best places to patronize and make our communities more vibrant.”

“Best Bar None Ontario will raise standards among our bars and other licenced businesses, creating a safer Entertainment District that everyone can enjoy,” says Grant Cobb, Senior Vice President, Brand Manager, Prime Restaurants Inc.

Best Bar None Ontario is being launched by a broad coalition of industry, community, public safety and government groups dedicated to improving operating standards within the Entertainment District and across the province. They include the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association, Toronto Entertainment District Business Improvement Area, King Spadina Residents Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Toronto Police Service, LCBO, Municipal Licensing and Standards Division – City of Toronto, Prime Restaurants Inc., Crocodile Rock, Greater Toronto Hotel Association and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Best Bar None Ontario sponsors represent the province’s alcohol manufacturers and distributors, as part of their ongoing commitment to responsible drinking practices: Labatt, Molson Coors, Spirits Canada, LCBO, The Beer Store, Sleeman, Ontario Craft Brewers, Wine Council of Ontario and Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario.