Star of the Bar

NRA Show's "Star of the Bar" National Mixology Competition

Client: NRA Show | National Restaurant Association
Years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Audience: 4,000+ qualified buyers and influencers

Star of the Bar, built in 2010 for the NRA Show, is a mixology competition hosted by The National Restaurant Association. For the past 5 years, the event has recruited professional mixologists from around the United States to showcase their talents in front of a live audience and compete for the coveted title of Star of the Bar and a $5,000 cash prize.

Mixologists interested in Star of the Bar submit an online entry form (closed for 2015) to compete in one of several regional Market Challenges held throughout the country. Winners of each Market Challenge are invited to travel to Chicago for the NRA Show. The semi-finalist portion of the competition takes place at the BAR Event (Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants) at the NRA Show, where finalists are selected by an audience vote. Final winner and crowned Star of the Bar for the year is selected by guest judges at the Restaurants Rock party at the end of the show. Past special guest judges have included master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, celebrity chef, personality and culinary author Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colliccio, and Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani.

Visit to learn more about the 2015 competition including photos from the 6 market challenges, the competing mixologists, and their winning cocktails to be showcased at the upcoming BAR Event.


  • To stimulate pre-show excitement for the competition amongst the mixology, restaurant, and beverage community
  • To offer IWSB attendees and exhibitors the opportunity to sample cocktails crafted by expert mixologists


  • For the forth straight year, NRA crowned a champion, each receiving a $5,000 check, the coveted title of Star of the Bar, and national recognition
  • IWSB audience enjoys a highly interactive cocktail experience by viewing high volume cocktail preparation, sampling, and casting votes for mixologists
  • Event provides the opportunity to learn about the art of mixology and latest trends in the industry
  • Event features today’s standard in the world of mixology: fresh juices, premium spirits, and classic techniques

Media Coverage

  • 2013 Competition Coverage by Serious Eats
  • 2013 Competition Coverage by Restaurant-Hospitality
  • 2012 Competition Coverage by FSR

Event Photos

  • 2014 Mixology Competition
  • 2013 Mixology Competition
  • 2011 Mixology Competition
  • 2010 Mixology Competition