Canberra’s newest and most popular licensed bars, restaurants, nightclubs and accommodation hotels were celebrated at the 2016 Australian Hotels Association (AHA) ACT Hospitality Awards tonight.

Following a record number of entries in the awards, more than 440 industry, political and hospitality leaders attended the gala event to honour the outstanding achievements of ACT hospitality businesses and employees.

AHA ACT General Manager Jo Broad said this year’s event once again celebrated innovative newcomers in new entertainment precincts as well as well-established venues.

More than 30 sponsored awards were presented including Best Deluxe (5-star) Hotel, Best Cocktail Bar and Best Restaurant, as well as awards including the Best Local and Best Sporting Venue.

“From a popular established Manuka gastro-bar to a unique, five-star hotel and a world-class wildlife retreat, this year’s winners showcased innovation and progression across the ACT’s hospitality sector,” Ms Broad said.

Hosted by ABC Political Reporter Anna Henderson, the AHA ACT’s ‘Night of Nights’ recognised local hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, cafés and their employees for outstanding hospitality achievements, success and service.

“Competition was incredibly tough this year, particularly given the sheer number of entries, which indicates how much the industry has grown and developed over the last few years” Ms Broad adds.

Two major awards were also given to talented industry leaders: The AHA ACT’s John Press Award was won by Brian Smith from Hopscotch and Young & Frisky, while Tarn Morrow from QT Canberra was crowned 2016 Member of the Year.

“AHA ACT sincerely thanks all key sponsors and event partners including the NCC for their generous support and making the 2016 Awards night such a memorable success,” Ms Broad said.