The first India Nightlife Convention and Awards (INCA) in association with Johnnie Walker saw the best of the industry being honoured last week in Mumbai
In a ceremony that was attended by restaurant folk, musicians, celebrities and film stars, the inaugural Indian Night Convention and Awards crowned its first set of winners. Recognizing talent from all across the country, the 27 awards that were given out shone a light on leaders of the industry that are blazing a trail in India’s hospitality sector.
Winners from each city (Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Goa, Chennai and Hyderabad) faced off for the final prize, in a ceremony that was hosted by Kubra Sait and Nitin Mirani, with awards data that was tabulated by Ernst & Young.
With Varun Dhawan, Purab Kohli, Dino Morea, Arjan Bajwa, Siddharth Kapoor, Zorawar Kalra, Rajeev Samant and Manasi Scott in attendance, the awards recognized winners across a range of categories. To close the event, the Mumbai based band The Other People performed three songs - ‘Hold Back the River’ by James Bay, ‘Hold On’ from their debut album and ‘Faith’ by George Michael.
Riyaaz Amlani, the head of the NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India) came away as the biggest winner, with his casual bar chain Social sweeping up four awards including Best Bar Chain and Bar of the Year. The bar’s innovative drinks menu was also rewarded, with Mayank Bhatt, Social’s food and beverage director, also winning.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Mumbai and Delhi bars won a bulk of the awards, while Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru also winning or sharing awards. With the awards being held in Mumbai, and the event being spearheaded by Amlani, he got the biggest cheer when going on stage to collect his awards.
That doesn’t mean that other cities lacked representation. The High Spirits café in Pune shared the award for Best Dive Bar with The Ghetto - both of which have managed to endure by becoming regular watering holes with well-priced alcohol. Similarly, Hyderabad’s Heart Cup Coffee, with its two locations, shared the award for Best Café Bar with Beer Café.
Perhaps it’s not the biggest shock that NH7 Weekender, the popular multi-city music festival, took home the award for Best Music Festival. DJ of the Year was won by Nucleya, while live act of the year was won by Peter Cat Recording Co.
Finally, worth mentioning is that David DeSouza, of Goa institution Tito’s, took home the award for Lifetime Contribution.
The full list of winners:
Best Dive Bar - The Ghetto/The High Spirits Cafe
Best Open Air Bar - AER
Best Bar Food - Monkey Bar
Best Café Bar - Heat Cup Coffee/Beer Cafe
Best Debut Bar - Masalabar
Best Bar Chain - Social
Best Beer Bar - Doolally Taproom
Best Cocktail Bar - PCO
Best Resto Bar - Café Zoe
Best Sports Bar - Underdoggs Sports Bar
Best Bar in Hotel - The Library Bar
Best Nightclub - Trilogy
Best Venue for Live Performance - Bluefrog
Best Wine Bar - The Tasting Room
Best Concept Bar - Bar Stock Exchange
Best Bar Interior - Social
Best Lounge - Asilo
Best Pop-up - Playground
Best Promoter Award - The Wild City
Best Artist Manager - Only Much Louder
Best Live Bands/Acts - Peter Cat Recording Co.
DJ of the Year - Nucleya
Bar of the Year - Social
Best F&B Director - Mayank Bhatt (Social)
Best Music Event Festival - Bacardi NH7 Weekender
Best Bartender/Mixologist - Nitin Tiwari
Lifetime Contribution Award - David Desouza.