It’s not about who can flip liquor bottles the best, but about who gets the most votes to win the first ever Toronto’s Next Top Bartender contest.
Similar to the hit reality television show America’s Next Top Model, BarNet.tv, a Toronto-based nightclub information website, hosted a summer-long contest to find Toronto’s top bartender based on popularity, sex-appeal and overall status in the industry. Making a great rum and Coke was not part of the criteria.
“It’s a great way for bartenders to interact with their customers, to try and get a vote from them,” said Kim Jeremiah, one of 100 participants in the contest.
Instead of Tyra Banks kicking a model off the catwalk each week, BarNet.tv staff took a different approach and opened voting to the public all summer long until Sept. 10. Every bartender had an equal chance of winning.
Club-goers, friends, family, the general public — all got a chance to vote for their favourite bartender by logging on to www.BarNet.tv, or by text messaging the bartender’s name to 22122. A vote over the Internet counted as one vote but a vote by text message counted as five votes. This way, people were encouraged to vote on the spot without computers. Voters were allowed to cast a maximum of one ballot each day for each bartender.
“I thought it was something fun for the bartending staff, as well as club hoppers who have never heard of a contest such as this,” said Brad Lowe, a promoter for several nightclubs in Toronto. “There wasn’t the pressure to vote for just one bartender, because you could vote for everyone if you wanted to.”
BarNet.tv promoters searched Toronto hotspots to find the sexiest most popular bartender, male and female. Bartenders from over a dozen nightclubs logged onto the site and created personal profiles with photographs to encourage voters to choose them over others.
All participants, guests, club promoters and owners were invited to Republik Nightclub in Toronto on Sept. 25 for the first ever Bartender’s Ball. At midnight, awards were announced for Top Bartender, Most Hospitable, Most Photogenic and Industry Choice.
A Trip to Vegas
Over $10,000 in cash and prizes was given out at Republik, where the first prize was a trip for two to Las Vegas, with spending money. Meray from Republik won the top prize – and bragging rights – by receiving the most votes. Other cash prizes were given out to runners-up and in other award categories.
“It’s a great contest for bartenders who may not have the best flare tricks up their sleeves, like setting their head on fire,” Lowe said. “This was a great way for everyone to get together in the industry.”
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