Best Bar None (Scotland)

United Kingdom
2005 > Ongoing
#AwarenessRaising #On-trade #StaffTraining


To reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder by investing in premises’ policies and procedures

To promote partnership working to identify good practice and areas for improvement

To improve the knowledge and skills of licensees and bar staff to help them responsibly manage licensed premises.

To raise the standard of on-trade operating policies in terms of social responsibility and duty of care.

To highlight how operating more responsibly can improve the profitability of an individual business and attractiveness of a general area.

To give consumers the ability to choose a safe location where the venues demonstrate a commitment to reducing violence and antisocial behaviour.


Best Bar None is an awards and accreditation scheme supported by the Home Office and drinks industry.  It was developed to recognise and reward responsible premises, and to improve operating standards in the evening and night-time economy.  Through a combination of responsible management and operation of licensed premises, ongoing improvements, and social responsibility, BBN’s goal is to help provide a safer night out to all.  Core to the ethos of the scheme is Scottish Government’s Building Safer Communities (BSC) Programme which supports safe and resilient communities through prevention of crime, disorder and alcohol related vulnerability.

The scheme was first piloted in Manchester in 2003 and was adopted in Scotland in 2005, initially in Glasgow.  January 2018 BBN moved into the airport environment when Edinburgh Airport signed up to the Scheme.  Bars, restaurants and cafes in Edinburgh Airport became the first in a UK airport to sign up to the BBN.  From July 2018, the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership (SAIP) and BBN Scotland joined together to promote 125ml wine measures.  All BBN venues have access to a pack of materials including: Posters, Wine Measures, Mirror Vinyl and Staff information for training.  The standard is integrated into the BBN Scotland scoring booklets and assessments from 2018.

BBN Scotland is supported by a dedicated websiteTwitter, Facebook page and Youtube

Awards Process

The process of becoming recognised by BBN includes meeting minimum standards and annual assessment.  This includes alignment with national licensing objectives and nationally set policies and procedures such as the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.  The assessment criteria are based on day-to-day business practices but with scope for development.  Examples are:

  • Prevention of Crime & Disorder: Capacity, Security, Drunkenness, Drugs, Theft, Disorder, Training staff, deterrents for alcohol related crime – drink driving, violence, disorder and how to deal with incidents
  • Protection of Public Safety: First Aid, Glass collection, perimeter checks, Fire Safety, Building Safety, Transport options, Disability
  • Protection of the Environment: Noise, Dispersal from venue, engagement with Pub watch or other local initiatives, Litter and waste
  • Promotion of Public Health: Non-alcohol options, 125 ml wine options, food options, mental health, sexual health, vulnerability
  • Protection of Children from Harm: Challenge age, underage offences, forged ID

Venues are put forward to the independent judging panel for final selection to verify that they meet these standards.  The process culminates with a high-profile award night with category winners and an overall winner.  Accredited venues can display signage outside and inside their premises and can share good practice with others. 

Every March, representatives from regional schemes across Scotland come together for a special awards night.  The competition is split across the following categories: Pub, Independent Pub, Bar, Independent Bar, Hotel, Night Club, SEV, Heart of the Community, Newcomer, Innovation in Social Responsibility and National Champion.

Publications: June 2017, BBN launched a new Information Pack: What is BBN?; Why you should join BBN?; 4 simple steps to achievement; Good Practice Guide and Framework Policies.  In July 2018, Focus and Ambition 2018-2020 was published which includes BBN Scotland’s new Mission, Vision and Values together with Opportunities and Benefits

Good Night Out Campaign

Launched on 8 August 2016 at the Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow the national campaign aims to raise awareness on the issues of vulnerability, social responsibility and education for individuals who have become vulnerable on a night out.  It shows the human stories behind how lives can be dramatically altered through vulnerability, where alcohol could play a factor.  It also highlights where bystanders including staff in the licensed trade could have intervened and made a difference to public safety.  It was launched in three phases:

  • Phase 1: The Video: The video follows three stories: Amy a 17-year-old that goes on a night out with friends and is the victim of a sexual assault when she becomes estranged from them; Graham, a young man who becomes a victim of his own conduct and decision making and Laura, a woman who becomes vulnerable after a night out with work colleagues. With each of the stories, the video shows what happens and then tracks back through the evening, showing how the viewer could have intervened to produce a different outcome.  The video is intended to tie in with advice from Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer on reducing vulnerability by staying in control while drinking, avoiding risky places and activities, making sure that you are with people you know and ensuring you can get home safely.
  • Phase 2: Bar Code Guide: The code of practice for BBN members was produced in association with Police Scotland. It sets guidelines for staff in licensed premises and how they can intervene and make a positive impact. 
  • Phase 3: Training for Staff: The training is based on real scenarios which have occurred in various parts of Scotland. Police Scotland incorporate the training from January 2017.  It has four modules, an introduction and a closing section:
    • Introduction: Includes Aims and Learning Objectives, Background to Training, Who the course is for and what vulnerability means.
    • Module 1: Viewing of the film which can be split and shown to different audiences.
    • Module 2: Group Exercise or audience participation.
    • Module 3: Bar Code Presentation and discussion on Stages of Intoxication.
    • Module 4: Considerations which work well with the training.
    • Closure: Evaluation survey.


Co-ordinated nationally by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre.

Funding partners are: Chivas Brothers-Pernod RicardDiageoEdrington-Beam Suntory UKHeineken and Tennent's

BBN Scotland also works closely with the Scottish GovernmentPolice Scotlandthe Scottish Fire and Rescue ServiceScottish Licensed Trade AssociationDrinkawareBarnardo's and others.


Current Best Bar None Schemes (February 2021).  There are 466 BBN Venues across Scotland: Aberdeen: 56, Aberdeenshire: 7, Airdrie & Coatbridge: 19, Annan: 3, Borders: 23, Dumfries: 7, East Lothian: 15, East Renfrewshire: 7, Edinburgh: 47, Edinburgh Airport: 7, Elgin: 6, Falkirk: 17, Fife: 28, Glasgow: 85, Hamilton: 6, Inverness: 17, Kilmarnock: 9, Lockerbie: 1, Midlothian: 4, Perth: 12, Renfrewshire: 13, SBRC (Belhaven): 46, Stirling: 10 and West Lothian: 21.

2018: BBN operates widely across Scotland with 430 venues.  In April 2018 the First Awards for Edinburgh Airport were held.  Eight venues achieved accredited status.  Four venues received a Best Bar None Award with Merit.  Four other venues were accredited with Best Bar None awards.  

September 2017: There are over 400 BBN venues across Scotland.  The ambition is to have a BBN presence in every Local Authority area and create real safe social hubs in communities across Scotland.

2016: BBN is operational in more than 50 towns and cities across Scotland.  The Good Night Out launch event was attended by the BBN Board, Partners and contributors together with representatives from the national media.  There were 50 articles of media coverage in national, trade and regional newspapers in Scotland including Scotland Licensed Trade News, Bar Magazine and Herald.  Broadcast coverage included: BBC Radio Scotland (Good Morning Scotland and the Stephen Jardine Show), STV National News, Radio Clyde and STV Local (Glasgow).  Social media coverage included on Twitter Police Scotland (132,000 followers), Bar Magazine (26,000 followers) and Greater Glasgow Police (25,100 followers) and BBN Scotland sponsors.  In addition, Police Scotland will be incorporating the training within a programme which will be rolled out from January 2017.




BBN Scotland - Partnership Message – April 2018
Good Night Out..? Trailer 2016
Good Night Out..? 2016

Photo gallery


2016 Good night out postcard (pdf - 0.48 Mo)
2016 Good night out advert (pdf - 2.1 Mo)
2016 Bar Code (pdf - 8.09 Mo)
2017, 4 Simple Steps to Achievement (pdf - 0.4 Mo)
2017 What is BBN (pdf - 0.62 Mo)
2017 Framework Policies (pdf - 1.25 Mo)
2017 Why you should join BBN (pdf - 0.31 Mo)
2017 Good Practice Guide (pdf - 1.3 Mo)
2018-2020 BBN Focus and Strategy (pdf - 4.27 Mo)
2018 Resource Tool Kit -Bonus ideas and useful links (pdf - 1.35 Mo)
BBN Schemes Scotland - February 2021 (pdf - 0.47 Mo)