In the 1970s, many downtown bars featured a symbol of a knife with a cross through it on their windowless doors. As a police officer, Bill Robinson was in many of those establishments.
“I’m glad those days are gone. It wasn’t good for anybody,” he says.
When police did a bar walk-through, he says, they were often apprehensive. “We were always a bit nervous because you knew in some instances it was going to be a rough situation.”
Robinson is now the president and CEO of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), and we’re on the phone discussing the Best Bar None Awards.
“I have 40 years of safety enforcement under my belt,” he says, “and I can tell you the road we’ve travelled from the ’70s until now is nearly insurmountable.”
Best Bar None is an opportunity to recognize venues that meet strident standards of accreditation to keep staff and guests safe.
Best Bar None started a decade ago in Manchester, England, and the commitment to safety and training has spread globally. Meeting the program’s standards improves businesses and ups the ante in the competitive marketplace of hospitality. Robinson sees it as a crucial win for everyone.
This year’s winners include:
Bar/Lounge: On The Rocks
Hotel Bar: The Lion’s Head Pub – Radisson Edmonton South
Restaurant and Bar-Independent: Teddy’s
Restaurant and Bar – Chain: Boston Pizza Lounge (Mill Woods)
Small Pub: Kelly’s Pub
Pub: Hudson Canada’s Pub (Whyte Avenue)
Large Pub: O’Byrne’s Irish Pub
Club: The Ranch Roadhouse
Campus: The Nest Taphouse Grill (NAIT)
Casino: Northlands Park Racetrack & Casino
For a full list of accredited venues for Best Bar None Edmonton, visit bestbarnone.ab.ca.