On Monday, the best of Canberra’s hospitality industry will gather at QT Canberra to celebrate their ‘night-of-nights’.

The ACT Australian Hotels Association’s Awards for Excellence is a highlight for many hotels, bars and restaurants across the city. Not only is it a chance to get together with peers from other businesses, but it’s also a great way to celebrate the way that the city has grown and changed over the last 12 months.

“The rate of change is really exciting,” says ACT AHA General Manger, Jo Broad.

“Every year there are new venues that showcase the skills of the industry, while those that have become institutions in the social scene continue to build a loyal following.”

The last 12 months have certainly seen broad change across the industry. Kokomo’s arrival in the city has set a new standard for food and wine experiences, while we’re seeing even more venues open as the Kingston Foreshore nears completion.

As always, one of the highlights is the John Press Award. Each year, this is given to an individual who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the hotel industry. Last year’s winner, Brian Smith from Hopscotch and Young & Frisky, will be handing over the award to another valued member of the hospitality community.

Monday night will also see three of our best bartenders display their skills for the launch of OutInCanberra’s Spirit of the City cocktail competition.

In conjunction with DIAGEO, these experts in mixology will use Bundaberg Small Batch Rum (perfect for the cooler months!) to create something that reflects Canberra and their passion for the industry.

“The Spirit of the City competition is going to be great and we’ve already received plenty of exciting applications,” said OutInCanberra Editor, Josephine Huynh.

“It’s almost impossible to visit a Canberra venue that doesn’t serve great drinks, so this competition is really going to push local bartenders to create something extraordinary.”

We look forward to seeing their skills next Monday. In the meantime, follow OutinCanberra on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (@outincbr), and keep an eye out for #spiritofthecity