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Family-run Inverness hotel celebrates success at Best Bar None Scotland Awards

By Val Sweeney

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Liz Lawson, of The Chieftain, collects the award for Best Hotel Bar at the Best Bar None Scotland Awards.
Liz Lawson, of The Chieftain, collects the award for Best Hotel Bar at the Best Bar None Scotland Awards.

Good staff and good customers – two vital ingredients for a good bar, according to Inverness proprietor Liz Lawson.

As the owner of The Chieftain Hotel, she and her team celebrated national recognition at the Best Bar None Scotland Awards.

The hotel, in Millburn Road, was named Best Hotel Bar for a second year running and was also runner up for the overall Best in Scotland award as well as receiving a highly commended in the Heart of The Community category.


It was not the only Inverness venue celebrating at the awards which held at The Golden Lion Hotel in Stirling.

The Highlander Bar in Church Street was named Best Independent Pub/Bar and commended in the Innovation in Social Responsibility category while Platform 8 in Academy Street was commended in the Best Pub/Bar.

Ms Lawson, who has run The Chieftain for the past 12 years, was delighted with its award success.

Asked about the secret of a good bar, she replied: "Good staff, good customers – and keeping all the policies up-to-date and running it properly.

"We do something for everyone. We have lots of things going on constantly."

She added being at the heart of the community was important.

"You need to give something back," she said.

"We sponsor quite a few things and at Christmas we did a wee thing where we had six people who were going to be on their own."

The judging panel recognised the "wholehearted offering" the Chieftain provides to the community whether it was through healthy varied food options with an emphasis on healthy options for young people or the wide ranging groups the premises welcome on a daily basis.

It stated: "The Best Bar Scotland assessment revealed a real emphasis on practical community safety, from active involvement with the I am Me campaign to a very practical safe parking scheme to nullify drink driving.

"The evidence of well trained staff was well linked to supporting groups with additional needs, as well as promoting Ask Angela and Safe Walk initiatives.

"The panel recognised their work as a good neighbour which added to their homely, welcoming and inclusive environment.

"Taking all the training, practical assistance and real community engagement as a whole the Chieftain Hotel can be easily recognised as the Best Bar None Scotland, Best Hotel Bar."

The Best Bar None Scotland awards scheme is led by Retailers Against Crime and supported by Police Scotland, Scottish Government and alcohol industry sponsors.

It aims to create a safer and welcoming night-time economy which assists Police Scotland reducing criminal activity within these venues and aims to provide high standards of safety for staff and customers.

Jack Gemmell, chairman of the Best Bar None Board said: "The quality of entries for this year’s awards shows that, despite the economic headwinds the sector is experiencing, there is still a real passion for providing a safe, fun and welcoming place to socialise.

"It’s a testament to the winners that they have gone above and beyond to promote responsible consumption and look after their customers and communities."

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