Application Guide

Best Bar None

Industry-led International Accreditation and Awards Program for Liquor Sales Licensees in Ontario

Welcome to Best Bar None, an industry-led international accreditation and awards program for liquor sales licensees.

Best Bar None is offered in Toronto’s downtown core, as well as Ottawa’s ByWard Market. With your participation in Best Bar None Ontario, we will help reinforce these areas as premier dining and entertainment destinations!

Benefits of participation include:

  • Positive public image
  • Potential for increased patronage and profits
  • Reduced alcohol-related incidents
  • Participation in an elite group
  • Increased customer safety
  • Improved employee morale
  • Increased opportunity for free marketing
  • Being a leader in your community

Getting Started

This Guide will help you complete the Application Form and also help you understand what the Best Bar None Ontario assessors will be considering when they review your answers and conduct an assessment visit at your establishment. Many of the questions are open-ended because all liquor licensees, regardless of the type of business they operate, are eligible to apply for this program.

While different types of businesses have different challenges and different ways of addressing those challenges, the key to filling out the Application Form is that your answers must be reasonable for your business type and size. There may be some business types or smaller businesses that require more formalized plans while others don’t warrant. Your answers should reflect what is reasonable for your business. This also means that not all desirable and bonus questions may apply to your business.Accreditation is based on being able to answer the Essential Questions. The BBN awards will be based on an accumulation of points from the Desirable and Bonus questions, and businesses will compete against others in the same category to ensure a level of fairness based on business type.

Important to remember

  • We encourage all licensees to apply for the Best Bar None Program. You are required to have a clean compliance record for the previous 12 months with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) from the day you have submitted your application. That means you cannot have received any orders of monetary penalty, served a suspension, agreed to serve a suspension or have any outstanding Notices of Proposal by AGCO within the past 12 months from the day you submit your applicaton. If you have had disciplinary action within this time, you can still receive an educational visit by assessors to support you becoming part of the program at a later date. You can submit the application form at anytime!
  • There are 6 categories of licensed establishments: club, restaurant, bar/lounge, hotel lounge, pub and members’ club (this is a private type establishment that has members, such as a golf club, marina, tennis club, etc.). You must identify which type of establishment you think yours falls under. Your category choice will be reviewed as part of the accreditation process.
  • Best Bar None Ontario applications are expected to be the licensees’ own descriptions of their own policies and procedures. Applicants will be asked to confirm the accuracy of their answers when they submit their application and during the assessment visit. All applications are evaluated by independent, third-party assessors retained by Best Bar None Ontario for this purpose.
  • All questions designated “Essential” must be answered for your establishment to be considered for accreditation. If you have any questions regarding the Essential critieria please contact Best Bar None Ontario directly at 1-855-BBN-9500 or 1-855-226-9500 or email
  • Best Bar None Ontario has retained independent third party assessors to visit each applicant to review the application.
  • Please note that these assessors will be unfamiliar with your business so make sure that you provide a full and detailed explanation for each question. Assessors will contact you directly to set up an appointment and identify which required materials you will be asked to present during the interview process. Please make note of any materials identified in the Guide so as to make the process as efficient as possible for all involved.
  • Answers do not need to be lengthy or complicated, particularly if your business is small, closes early and/or is very food-focused. The answers, however, must make sense for your business size and your business model. Your answers will be evaluated based on the size, hours of operation and business format of your establishment.
  • If you need more space in order to provide complete answers, please use the space provided at the back of the application form and/or add additional pages.
  • Best Bar None Ontario is an annual accreditation program, and businesses will be required to reapply every year.
  • Best Bar None Ontario requires you to be in compliance with all applicable laws.
  • Please note if circumstances change that affect your application or BBN status you are required to notify BBN as soon as possible.


For your establishment to be accredited, you must have appropriately answered all of the “Essential” questions in the Application Form. “Desirable” and “Bonus” questions will be used to judge those establishments that are best in class, and eligible for winning a Best Bar None Ontario award for the year. If you meet the base criteria for “Desirable” or the “Bonus” question, you will earn a “D” or a “B” rating depending on the question. Should your establishment be above and beyond the requirements for the criteria, you can earn “D+” or “B+” ratings. Scoring for these criteria is as follows:

D = 3 points    D+= 5 points    B = 5 points    B+ = 7 points

The more points you accumulate, the better chance you have of being awarded Best Bar None in your category this year!