The process for being awarded a PIN is in-depth and will take a few months from self-submission to spot check interviews, to anonymous reviews and culminating in the announcement of PINNED bars, several times a year..

The application form is designed to take significant consideration from those seeking to be awarded 1, 2 or 3 PIN status and does not have to be completed in one sitting.

This form allows a venue to showcase what it is they are most proud of and we suggest a more-is-more approach when completing the application. If successful – spot check interviews may take place in order to verify information submitted. This detailed application will also provide the background information The Pinnacle Guide’s Anonymous Reviewers will use when visiting the bar.

To be awarded a PIN – a bar must gain a 1, 2 or 3 PIN status via their application form – and receive a 1, 2 or 3 PIN review from our Anonymous Reviewers. If both are achieved – the average becomes the overall PIN status.

To become a 3 PIN bar, a venue must submit an Exceptional (3 PIN) application form and deliver Exceptional (3 PIN) service, across multiple visits. 


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31 MAY 2024




The first step in being awarded PIN status is the completion of the self-submission application form.

Beyond explanation and demonstration of drinks programme and overall concept, venues will have the opportunity to communicate what truly makes their bar top tier, including systems and processes, behind the scenes infrastructure, considerations to staff wellbeing and DEI practises. Environmental endeavours will be weaved throughout all six modules as a key measure of excellence.

The application forms are independently marked by our Anonymous Assessors using a set of clear parameters for excellence, with each question weighted appropriately using a marking system designed to limit assessment subjectivity as far as possible. Application forms are then moderated to ensure marks are awarded appropriately and consistently.

Not all questions will have points attributed to them and are instead included to set the scene for the assessors and ultimately the anonymous reviewers.



FRONT OF HOUSE : How are guests greeted at the venue? Is there anything given to guests before they order? Are there any specific processes with regards to seating and serving guests that you are proud of?

DRINKS PROGRAMME : Please explain the concept behind your current cocktail menu. Are there any ingredients that you create in-house that you are proud of?  Have you made consideration for the environmental and social impact from your suppliers? 

LOOK AND FEEL : Describe the look and feel of the venue and the processes undertaken in its creation. Is there anything to note about the bathroom design? Are there any thoughtful touches you bring to the overall space that add to the guest experience?

STAFF MANAGEMENT : When recruiting new staff, what measures do you abide by to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion? What kind of beverage / service training do you offer?  Do you have measures in place to ensure staff get home safely after hours?

BACK OF HOUSE : Is there anything about your pre-service set up that you are proud of? How often is the bar deep cleaned? What environmental considerations are you making with regards to your ops? 

YOUR COMMUNITY : Do you work with / support any charities or causes? 3. Do you have a policy in place to support responsible drinking amongst guests? Is there anything you are proud of with regards to how you present yourself to your online community?

To see the full list of all the questions that will be asked, please START THE APPLICATION PROCESS by creating a profile.


Once an application has passed the assessment stage, the bar may be contacted via The Pinnacle Guide team to discuss elements of the application form. These conversations will be via Zoom and will be organised at a time to suit the bar.

Following this, anonymous reviewers will be allocated to the venue and briefed with the specific bar’s submission.

The anonymous reviewer’s visit will entail verification of information submitted during the application as well as personal feedback on the more tangible elements of great hospitality. As with all stages of the process, venues will be assessed in terms of appropriateness to their own concept.

The key to this part of the anonymous review process is to assess the “feeling” generated by the bar within the reviewer, through the drinks service, hospitality and ambience, factoring in the thoughtful touches that elevate a guests experience.

Each venue will receive at least two, if not more, anonymous visits before PINNED status is confirmed.


PINNED bars will be announced throughout the year, with a dedicated PR and social media campaign. 

PINs will be awarded based on the following : 

ONE PIN - Excellent

TWO PINs - Outstanding

THREE PINs - Exceptional

Each PINNED bar will receive a plaque to be placed at the front of the venue - and all team members will receive lapel PINs which they may wear with pride whilst they are still working at that venue. The Pinnacle Guide team will be on hand to help these bars maximise their accolade.

All PINNED bars will be listed on The Pinnacle Guide’s website, as a resource for discerning drinkers to confidently explore the best establishments through The Pinnacle Guide’s easy ranking system of 1, 2, or 3 PINs.

PINs will be valid for up to two years - however - if a bar would like to reapply sooner than this in the hope of increasing their PIN status, they may do this ONCE within the two year period. 

All bars, even if they did not receive a PIN, are given thoughtful and constructive feedback in order to improve their processes and are invited to reapply to The Pinnacle Guide with these suggestions in mind.