Independent bars win national awards

The Dead Canary wins best bar at the Welsh Hospitality Awards, as Mixer magazine delves into the city’s rising independent cocktail scene

Cocktail cravings. Photo credit: The Dead Canary

The Dead Canary, an independent Cardiff cocktail bar, has just won the “best bar” award at the Welsh Hospitality Awards. The event, held on 25 November at the Exchange Hotel, aims to reward those venues that work hard to offer customers an exceptional experience.

This award is the latest in a string of successes for Cardiff’s independent cocktail scene. Imbibe, one of the UK’s leading cocktail magazines, recognised Lab 22 at their Drinks List of the Year Awards in September.

The independent bar took home the award for “best themed menu”, beating strong competition from the UK’s most prestigious cocktail bars. Among them was London’s Dandelyan, recently listed as one of the top 50 cocktail bars in the world.

“As an independent, it’s massive to win awards like this,” says Mark Holmes, the general manager and owner of Dead Canary. “Awards like these really help with exposure, they give us something to shout about on social media. It’s amazing how winning awards can help get people booking.”

He continues, “It makes it worth doing what you’re doing. That’s the whole point: to know that people are enjoying your service.”

Mark reveals that they celebrated the awards the best way any bartenders know how: with “a few drinks” after the event.

The Welsh Hospitality Awards are voted for by the general public, offering a real reflection of the bar’s popularity amongst visitors.

A Spokesperson for the Welsh Hospitality Awards comments, “It is a great pleasure to see that businesses who work hard to meet their customers’ needs get the recognition they deserve.

“We are always honoured to see valuable businesses who promote excellence being recognised through the Welsh Hospitality Awards, and we would like to congratulate Dead Canary for their brilliant achievements.”

Behind the scenes of the Mixer launch

These awards not only raise the profile of the bars themselves, but are integral in strengthening Cardiff’s independent cocktail scene as a whole.

Elliott Skehel of Lab 22 says that all the city’s independent cocktail bars are incredibly supportive of each other. He points to how at Lab 22 they include “where to go to next” cards at the back of the menu.

“It’s important for independents to help each other out,” Elliott says. “Independents are always the place to go to look for the most creative and cutting-edge elements whether it be food or drink. If we can unite together, we can provide a better service as one, as a team.”

Ready to bring cocktail lovers closer to the venues they love to visit, Mixer magazine launches today. Cardiff’s newest cocktail-focused indie mag features a more in-depth interview with Elliott Skehel, taking readers behind the bar at Lab 22 to reveal the secrets from the other side.

Mixer spotlights the growing distillery scene in Wales, with a feature on the rise of rum. The magazine also includes a profile of The Libertine and a treasure-trove of DIY cocktail recipes.

Find your drink of choice to sip on and read all the stories on Issuu:

Step into the bar with Mixer, a magazine that explores Cardiff’s cocktail culture. On the menu is a spicy rum cocktail, a bar for every mood and a sneaky peak behind the bar at Lab 22.