Atlantaas Top Bar Stars Honored

Atlanta’s Second Annual Bar & Service Industry Awards were held at Opera Lounge on July 28. The awards, touted as an “awards show extravaganza” by Ais York Almahdi, director of operations for the show, were developed to highlight the hard work of the front line staff. “They never get recognition, but they’re behind a lot of trends,” he explains.

The awards ceremony comprised more than 40 categories, from best security to best bartender, and voting was open to the public at “It’s almost like a day off for the service industry in that city,” Almahdi explains. “A lot of them are competitors, a lot of them are big nightclub or bar owners who kind of compete with each other, and that night they just relax, unbutton their shirts and mix together.”

Award winners include:

Best Restaurant: Café Circa
Best Sports Bar: Barleys
Best Nightclub: Opera
Best Comedy Club: Kat’s Cafe
Best DJ: DJ Trauma
Best Event Photographer: Prince from ATL Pics
Best Bartender: Joey from Dantanna’s
Best Waiter/Waitress: Adele Easter
Best Host/Hostess: Angel Eto

The awards ceremony was hosted by reality stars from VH1 and presented by, a social networking site for the service industry that Almahdi says is used in myriad ways: Atlanta nightclub managers post schedules and interact with employees, out-of-work bartenders or bus boys publish résumés or contact potential employers, and spirits companies reach out to bartenders for honest product reviews.

Almahdi hopes the Bar & Service Industry Awards will catch on around the country, and plans already are in motion for an awards show in Panama City, Fla., toward the end of the year. The event will be a multiple-day soiree, giving employees a chance to enjoy the beach and “bring together the best in North Florida,” Almahdi says. Service industry insiders in other cities, like Miami and Washington, D.C., also have expressed interest in the awards program. “I’m waiting for all the phone calls from all the major cities to say, ‘We want to do this in our city.’ It’s going to happen. After a city like Miami hosts it, I’m sure the cities in the Northeast are going to pick up on it, too,” he says. “And I won’t mind going to every city and setting something up like it with”

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