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Time Out London bar awards

The Time Out Bar Awards London 2016: Meet the panel

We asked the who's who of the London bar world to join our expert panel and help us decide the winners of the Time Out Bar Awards London 2016

By Time Out London Food & Drink
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On Monday June 13, London's biggest and boldest bar personalities will gather in one boozy room to find out the winners of Time Out's inauguaral Bar Awards. To help us decide which of London's finest drinking establishments deserve recognition for their work in bringing tip top cocktails to those in the know, we pulled in a panel of experts from the industry. All members of the panel helped decide on a longlist and then voted to create shortlists across seven categories, all of which will be announced on Tuesday May 24 (and don't worry, they couldn't vote for their own bars in the running!). So, it's time to meet the Time Out Bar Awards London 2016 panel.

RECOMMENDED: Read our guide to the best cocktails in London

Meet the panel

Time Out London bar awards panel, Tania Ballantine
© Andy Parsons

Tania Ballantine

UK Food & Drink Editor, Time Out London

Tania’s life in bars Tania has spent a decade drinking professionally, having already had a decade of drinking unprofessionally. Her first job out of school was as a bartender in a dodgy US-style cocktail bar in Zone 6 (it wasn’t a total waste: she learned how to make long island ice teas by the pitcher). Later, she worked for Diageo North America, where one job involved showcasing the ‘fire’ in Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps by visiting various US ski bars dressed as a sparkly firefighter. Complete with a sparkly hat.

Fave drink? A sidecar, a blood and sand, or just a really good margarita.

Follow her at @TaniaBallantine

Time Out London bar awards panel, lucy britner
© Andy Parsons

Lucy Britner

Deputy editor, Just-Drinks.com

Lucy’s life in bars Lucy has been writing about all things booze for ten years. She helped create the World’s 50 Best Bars, which meant selflessly travelling to bars, breweries, distilleries and wineries all over the world. She also holds a diploma in wine and spirits. Yes, it’s really a thing. Honest.

Fave drink? For being ladylike, a gin martini with a twist. If it’s party time, make it a boilermaker.

Follow her at @Britner

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Time Out London bar awards panel, Ian Burrell
© Andy Parsons

Ian Burrell

Global rum ambassador and founder of Rumfest

Ian’s life in bars Ian only intended to work in a cocktail bar for six months before starting drama school. But after realising that it was a real job and having so much fun making cocktails, he decided to carry on. Twenty-five years later he’s still having fun, travelling around the world, judging cocktail competitions, working in some of the best bars on the planet and teaching people about the wonders of rum as the world’s only global rum ambassador.

Fave drink? A rum manhattan, a daiquiri or a mai tai.

Follow him at @Rum_Ambassador

Time Out London bar awards panel, ryan chetiyarwadana
© Andy Parsons

Ryan Chetiyawardana

Mr Lyan, founder of Dandelyan and White Lyan

Ryan’s life in bars Ryan has been meddling in the world of drinks for some 14 years – initially starting from the food side, then making a full switch to all things booze. He’s usually found polishing glasses when on the bar these days (less to break that way). He loves most things edible (but still attempts working with things seemingly inedible), except spicy food (fire) and oysters (snotty waves).

Fave drink? A scotch and soda, a martini (extra everything) or a manhattan.

Follow him at @RyanCheti

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time out london bar awards panel alex kratena
© Andy Parsons

Alex Kratena

Bartender and columnist (previously head bartender at The Artesian)

Alex’s life in bars Alex started working at ‘a shitty café’ in Brno (his home town in the Czech Republic) after his mum kicked him out, aged 16. After a string of international odd jobs including driving delivery vans in the US, collecting glasses in Spain and working for a nightclub in Japan, he ended up at the Langham’s Artesian bar. During his time as head bartender, the Artesian was named the ‘world’s best bar’ for four years on the trot. Alex and his team left in November 2015 to work on a new project and can now mostly be found on planes.

Fave drink? A negroni, a saison or an orange wine.

Follow him at @Alex_Kratena

Time out london bar awards panel, laura richards
© Andy Parsons

Laura Richards

Time Out London Food & Drink team

Laura’s life in bars After working for a parenting and pregnancy mag, Laura needed a bloody big drink. She moved over to bar journalism and has felt right at home ever since, spending her London years hopping from bar to bar. Having lived in Spain, she’s pretty sure there’s nothing a strong sangria can’t cure… Although she’s glad London has a hell of a lot more to offer.

Fave drink? A pisco sour or anything with a Latino slant and a big boozy kick.

Follow her at @Lala_Richards

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Time Out London bar awards panel, Hannah Sharman-Cox
© Andy Parsons

Hannah Sharman-Cox

Founder of DrinkUp.London – the home of London Cocktail Week, London Wine Week and London Beer Week

Hannah’s life in bars Hannah started working in the drinks industry as part of the opening team at Milk & Honey. A love affair with hospitality and all things boozy ensued. After many a venue and brand launch, she found the perfect way to combine her passion for hospitality and booze by setting up London Cocktail Week. What a way to entice all her friends to hang out in the same place at the same time!

Fave drink? A gin and tonic (any gin will do), a margarita (made with the good stuff only) or fizzy wine (appreciation of all forms).

Follow her at @DrinkUpLDN

Time Out london bars awards panel, julie sheppard
© Andy Parsons

Julie Sheppard

Managing editor, Imbibe Magazine

Julie’s life in bars Julie’s first cocktail experience was attempting to make punch in a washing-up bowl with the contents of her parents’ booze cupboard. But that mishap didn’t stop her applying for a job on a drinks magazine when she qualified. Since then she’s exhaustively researched the world of drinks: foraging for juniper berries, harvesting agave, peering into pot stills and visiting many of the world’s top bars. She has now stopped making punch in washing-up bowls.

Fave drink? A Tommy’s margarita or a martinez.

Follow her at @Joolsshep

Read more on London's cocktail scene

50 best cocktail bars in London, promo, high water
© Victor Frankowski

The 50 best cocktail bars in London

Bars and pubs

So many cocktails, so little time. So just stick to the best cocktail bars in London by using our ranked list below. You'll find everything from dark and dirty speakeasy joints and secret bars to bold and brash party spots meant for a night out on the tiles. What they all have in common is mixed drinks that will blow your mind – and hopefully not your budget. 

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