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Den deemed best campus bar in Calgary

By Fabian Mayer, June 18 2015 —

The Den won the Best Bar None award for the best campus bar in Calgary from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). It also received a Best Bar None accreditation.

The Best Bar None program was introduced in 2010 after the AGLC, municipal police forces and the provincial government met to find ways to make liquor establishments safer. Bars apply for the Best Bar None accreditation and are then assessed on extensive criteria.

Graham Wadsworth is a regional manager with the AGLC and sits on the Best Bar None committee.

“The impetus behind the program is for licensed establishments, bars, nightclubs and the like, to encourage them to take a proactive approach and discourage harmful behaviour,” Wadsworth said.

While there is no direct evidence the program reduces incidents, Wadsworth believes it has been successful so far.

“The likelihood of occurrence is lessened by virtue of the training and the knowledge that the various staff members and management of those establishments have and the systems that they employed,” Wadsworth said.

Students’ Union vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan is excited the Den was named Calgary’s top campus bar.

“The Den is obviously really important to students. It’s been a campus tradition for over 40 years so it’s very important that we’re recognized for safety and customer service,” McGowan said.

The SU operates the Den and McGowan believes their commitment to the bar was crucial to winning the award.

“We often go above and beyond in terms of safety, training and making sure our staff are up-to-date and making sure that students are having the best possible experience at the Den,” McGowan said.

Den staff and management were taught ways to help prevent sexual assault with bystander intervention training last fall. The Calgary Sexual Health Centre taught the program. Wadsworth said programs like this are important ways bars can be safer.

“The establishment is given credit for supporting and advocating those types of programs,” Wadsworth said.

The AGLC program is modelled after a similar one in the United Kingdom. The Alberta version of the program sees an increase in applications each year. This year, 52 of Calgary’s bars and nightclubs were accredited.

“It says something about the growth of the program,” Wadsworth said. “It’s starting to gain more and more recognition.”

The Den is currently closed while undergoing renovations. It will reopen in the fall.

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