“In Exeter, the inspiration behind bringing Best Bar None to the city was the Rugby World Cup. Three matches will take place in Exeter and so there was a general desire to ensure that visitors to the city will have a good experience. This was the perfect opportunity to set up Best Bar None,” says BBN’s national coordinator Mick McDonnell.
The Best Bar None scheme raises standards in licensed premises by promoting the responsible management and operation of pubs and clubs.
“Our first role in the process of launching the award scheme in a town or city is to bring people and organisations together. This formative group is often the Police licensing team, the council’s public protection officers and the licensees themselves.”
Mick McDonnell continues, “There has got to be a local desire for the scheme. We promote national licensing standards but bolted on to this are tools to deal with local issues.”
BBN’s criteria for licensees and managers
- Compliance with national licensing standards: public safety, child protection, crime and disorder, public nuisance.
- A venue’s own policies: does the pub or club have a glass collecting policy? An age verification policy? A health and safety policy? A fire risk assessment? How does it deal with crowding issues or public noise issues? The assessor will ask for evidence of these policies.
The aim is to challenge licensed premises to think about how they run their business in relation to public safety. As Mick says, “It’s a bit like an internal audit. If a venue meets the standards, it can advertise this with a certificate or plaque – something they can place in a prominent position outside their main entrance.”
Good news for punters
The last part of the process is for the local council and businesses to promote the fact that venues in their city have been awarded Best Bar None status. It’s obviously good news for punters and visitors, but what impact does it have on trade from the venue’s own point of view? Evidence shows that people stay longer and spend more in a venue that is well run.
In Exeter, three clubs passed their assessment before the scheme was officially launched back in March 2015. A further 54 venues have since expressed an interest in joining the scheme.