The search to find Northern Ireland’s top pubs ended with a gala ceremony at Belfast City Hall for the Pubs of Ulster’s Pub of the Year Awards 2012.
The Pub of the Year Awards celebrate the excellence that exists in the local pub trade by presenting top awards to the winning pubs in a range of categories, including the coveted Northern Ireland Pub of the Year Award which was presented by Mark Stewart, chair of Pubs of Ulster, to Pier 36 in Donaghadee.
As well as taking the top Pub of the Year title, Pier 36 was also named Best Tourism/ Visitor Pub 2012.
Celebrating the award win, Lewis Waterworth, from Pier 36, said: “We are honored and delighted to bring the prestigious Pub of the Year 2012 and Best Tourism/ Visitor Pub titles to Donaghadee.
“We have invested a lot in the bar over the last number of years, especially in staff training and our overall customer service, as our biggest priority is always ensuring that our customers have the best experience when they visit us. I would like to thank all of our great staff, as if it wasn’t for their hard work and dedication, Pier 36 wouldn’t be the bar that it is today. To receive recognition at the Pub of the Year Awards is a great incentive for us, especially in these tough economic times, to continue to develop Pier 36. Whilst encouraging us, I also hope the awards help ignite the industry and inspire all pubs to dig in and show the world how great the local trade is.”
The Pub of the Year Awards is the culmination of an extensive search for the best pubs in a range of categories across Northern Ireland. Finalists were selected following an extensive judging process and were judged, depending on their category, by written submissions, interviews or by independent mystery shoppers. An independent judging panel comprising of Martin Breen, editor of the Sunday Life; Gary McDonald, business editor of the Irish News; Adrienne McGill, business editor of the News Letter; Paul Connolly, managing editor of the Belfast Telegraph and Louise Murphy, editor of Hospitality Review then decided on the overall winners.
The Pub of the Year winners in each category are:
Northern Ireland Pub of the Year: Pier 36, Donaghadee
Best Neighbourhood Pub: The Front Page Bar, Ballymena
Best Food Pub: Bureau by the Lough, Whiteabbey
Best Family Friendly Pub: Curran’s Bar & Seafood Restaurant, Downpatrick
Best New or Improved Pub: Devlin’s Bar, Armagh
Most Innovative Pub: McHugh’s, Belfast
Best Tourism/ Visitor Pub: Pier 36, Donaghadee
Bar Hero: Willie Gregg, The Harbour Bar, Portrush
Sunday Life Readers’ Choice Award: Head O’ The Road, Tartaraghan