News & Events

We talk to Mick McDonnell, Best Bar None’s national director

Nov 9, 2015 | Interviews, Safety partnerships


Best Bar None is a national scheme that is raising standards in licensed venues and making a difference to public safety in the night-time economy




What is Best Bar None?

It’s an award scheme supported by the Home Office and aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises.

You became Best Bar None’s national director in February 2015 after working in pubs and clubs for a long time. What was your first job?

My first job was in the retail trade and I was in that line for 10 years, and got started on the management ladder. This was in Kent. In my early 20s I transferred to the westcountry and bought a house. In order to pay the mortgage I took a job as doorman. While I was doing that (alongside my day job), a vacancy came up for nightclub manager. I thought that the product was different but the management was the same, so I went for it.

Since then you have run pubs and clubs up and down the country, from Plymouth to Morecombe to Essex. How did you get involved with BBN?

After a while I got the opportunity to take on my own clubs, working for myself. I was running a venue in Plymouth when I heard about the Best Bar None award scheme. At that point BBN was run by the police and they said that they had taken it as far as it could go. I put myself forward to chair the scheme in the city because I understood the principles of a well-managed venue. My years in pub and club management mean that when I go out I like to have quality, standards and good service. BBN ticks all those boxes.

So can you give us a potted history of BBN?

The Best Bar None award was started in 2003 by Greater Manchester Police. It was found to have a positive effect on the night-time economy so GM Police decided to roll it out nationally. I won the first Best Bar None award in Plymouth in 2009.  Today schemes are operating in 70 towns or cities in the UK, with another 17 in development.

With thanks to Mick McDonnell. For more on the scheme and how it is raising standards in pubs and clubs see part 1 of this interview.