Recap: 2017 Nightclub & Bar Convention

The 2017 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, held March 27-29 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, celebrated another record-breaking year with thousands of industry professionals, sponsors, speakers, exhibitors, and press from around the world.

The 32nd annual convention set an unprecedented tone for the Nightclub & Bar Show, with the most innovative floor layout to date, including the launch of the F&B Innovation Center and thousands of products spanning all facets of the industry: bar equipment, spirits, craft beer, wine, alcohol-free beverages and mixers, furnishings, technology, food, venue equipment, glassware, décor, menu designs, social media, apparel, lighting and more. In addition, a series of educational workshops, keynote sessions, certifications, off-site trainings and networking events offered an interactive experience for both industry veterans and the next generation of influencers.
“Each year we are committed to cultivating a program that offers an exclusive opportunity for industry professionals that can only be offered during the Nightclub & Bar Show,” said Thom Greco, chairman of the Nightclub & Bar Advisory Board. “The convention defines everything the industry is about – innovation, networking, drive and hard work. This year’s convention celebrated everything thousands of professionals have worked so hard for, shined light on an exciting future for the nightlife, restaurant and bar industry.”
The 2017 expo floor officially opened as “Nightclub & Bar Show Day” on Tuesday, March 28, with a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Carolyn Goodman. The day began with a red carpet event with celebrities such as ABSINTHE Las Vegas’ Melody Sweets; Celebrity Chef Brian Duffy; Master Blender Tom Maas; BMX Pro Ricardo Laguna; William Grant & Sons Director, Brand Advocacy Charlotte Voisey; BarMagic Las Vegas Owner Tobin Ellis; the cast of Aussie Heat and more. A ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Vanderpump Rules star Tom Sandoval and Thom Greco, chairman of the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show Advisory Board, officially opened the expo floor.
This year’s educational lineup featured more than 70 breakout sessions, including a dedicated panel discussion to “Monetizing Cannabis,” and the first-ever Nightclub & Bar Pitch Tank, making it the most ground-breaking conference programming in conference history. Some of the educational seminars included:

·         Women in Bars;
·         Giving Inventory the Finger: How to Focus on Creativity & Do What You Want for Success;
·         New Trends in Social Media;
·         Cocktails: Think Outside the Bottle;
·         Promotions That Drive Millennials;
·         Stop Micromanaging and Start Empowering;
·         Talent Talk: How to Book guest DJs for Your Venue;
·         The Perfect Shift;
·         Just What I Need: New Ideas to Reinvigorate Everyday Operations.
This year’s education series included one of the most comprehensive programs with keynote presentations from Thomas Maas, Neil Moffitt, Lee Cockerell and Kris Jones. The lineup supplied attendees with unparalleled resources to help redefine business strategies, creating a true customer experience, identify what works and what does not, how to increase potential revenue flow, learning how to build an international empire and more.
To enrich the educational aspect at this year’s show, attendees had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by participating in off-site tours and trainings such as:

·         Mixology Training: The 5 Pillars for Establishing Successful and Profitable Mixology Program with Francesco Lafranconi and James Starkus of Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits;
·         Whiskey Tasting: Fundamentals & History of American Whiskey with Katie Stipe, mixologist, consultant and educator for DIAGEO;
·         Back of House Tour of Caesars Palace, led by Cory Johnson, vice president of food and beverage for Caesars Entertainment Corporation;
·         Nightclub Bootcamp and tour and JEWEL Nightclub, led by Orlando Oquendo, executive director of Hakkasan Nightlife Operations;
·         WYNN Nightlife tours with Ronn Nicolli, WYNN Las Vegas & Encore Resort senior executive director of marketing.
In partnership with the United States Bartenders’ Guild, the Shake It Up! Cocktail Competition featured the top 20 bartenders from around the country competing for the opportunity to represent the United States in their respective categories at the World Cocktail Competition. Winners included:

·         Classic Winners
First: Nathaniel Smith, Minneapolis
Second: Justin Park, Hawaii
Third: Jonathan Howard, Nashville
·         Flair Winners
First: Luis Ortiz, Las Vegas
Second: Danilo Oribe, Las Vegas
Third:  Colby Ashton Good, Las Vegas
·         Best Technical Classic
Giancarlo Aversa, Ann Arbor
To complete the convention’s full experience, attendees mixed and mingled at exclusive networking and nightlife events featuring live entertainment top Las Vegas venues including WET REPUBLIC at MGM Grand, Foxtail Pool at SLS Las Vegas, Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Vista Cocktail Lounge at Caesars Palace, OMNIA at Caesars Palace, Surrender Nightclub at Encore Las Vegas.
The annual Nightclub & Bar Awards winners were selected from around the United States for their expertise in the industry, professionalism and sales success. For the first-time ever, this year’s convention recognized Exhibitor’s Awards, honoring creative designs, branding, teams and interactive experiences exhibitors created at their booths. Winners included: Buzztime (Best in Show and Outstanding Team); Rum Co. of Fiji (Best Island Booth); BarLuxe (Best In-Line Booth); Sparktacular (NCB Innovation Award); Hardcell Performance Energy Shots (Savvy Social Award). Also awarded at this year’s convention, were the Johnson & Wales Student Fellowship Award winners.
The Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show events are attended annually by over 30,000 owners, operators and industry professionals and will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center, March 26-28, 2018. For updates throughout the year, visit

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